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Earlier this summer we were at a community picnic and we ran into a friend of ours…within 3 minutes of seeing each other he and I were involved in a deep conversation about the book Being Mortal and the struggles of dealing with parents who are aging. As we walked away, I said to my nearest and dearest, “I just love that guy, no need to small talk just get right to the important stuff.” And my nearest and dearest said, “That’s because he doesn’t hide who he is…he is deep and proud of it while you tend to hold back your deep side but when you meet a fellow deep thinker you are so excited because you don’t have to pretend.” We later shared this conversation with our friend who laughed and said, “it took me a long time but I love that I am a deep…proud of it.”
It got me thinking, one of my favorite topics to share with clients is that we spend a lot of our time trying to fit our square pegs into round holes. We try to shave off our square pegs so we can feel be accepted, loved and liked by other people. Eventually all that shaving gets tiresome and we realize that we are spending all of our time trying to morph ourselves into something we aren’t, in order to be accepted by people who, when we are truly honest don’t value the same things as we do. It is EXHAUSTING!
We have to permit ourselves to just be us:
our dorky, goofy selves.
our sensible, planning, mama bears.
our doubting, questioning, curious selves.
our wanting to fit in, be accepted and loved selves.
To be all of that. Just to be who we are.
I spent much of my life trying to fit my square peg in to a round hole. As I began living more of the Live Happier principles I remember asking myself, “Why do I care so much what so-and-so thinks when we don’t share the same values? Why am I denying who I am just so I can be accepted by them?” So I started paying attention to how often I belittled myself or pretended to not care for something I really found important. Years ago I wouldn’t have brought up the book to my friend or engaged in such a heavy conversation with such passion and excitement.
Gradually, I started building awareness around how often I took a hacksaw to my square peg.
Slowly over time I started just being me:
Not engaging in small talk for the 14th time in one evening.
Not apologizing when I went deep with a friend.
Not belittling myself for being the caretaker at a family event.
One I stopped apologizing for who I am as a person, my capacity to stretch outside of my comfort zone became greater. It is true; not everyone is like me. Not everyone is going to enjoy a conversation about mortality and aging parents at an outdoor picnic, and that is OK. Not every conversation I have has to be deep and meaningful just because that is my preference. I need to know how to stretch myself to reach other people.
The problem is when I spend all my time shaving and shaving those square pegs. When I deny who I am and pretend that I am someone else or when I apologize for who I am. I am deep and I am proud of it. But I am more than just deep, I am a whole being, who enjoys laughing, talking about mindless subjects and I am a square peg who can fit into a round hole from time to time but just doesn’t want to.
Once I figured that out…once I learned to embrace all of me and found other people who enjoyed similar things life became much less boring. We are more than the stereotypes of deep, dorky, goofy or aloof we are complex beings.
Now I can go to an event and be me…I can be passionate about a deep, meaningful conversation and I can shoot the sh*t with someone about their kitchen remodel. And the best part? I don’t leave the evening beating myself up because of what I SHOULD have done.