I’ve spent a lot of time lately talking and thinking about personal development. I’ve gone through SO much lately. By “gone through,” I don’t necessarily mean trials and problems. I sort of mean development and self realization. Sometimes those processes are hard. Sometimes you realize things that are frightening or complicated or that tug on your heart strings a bit. In my experience, it causes a roller coaster of emotions. I’ve even wrote about how I can’t actually write about or explain the feelings.
One Sunday I watched this video, (via Elise Blaha) and I realized something. In the video, I felt like she captured so much of the subjects’ individual personalities, just by videoing them on the swings. I thought that was so special. Then, I realized that I need to let my own personality show more often. I realized that I hide so much of who I truly am. I do this for various reasons…to not hurt or offend someone. To not “put myself out there.” To not appear flighty or foolish. To appear in control. In doing this for so many years, I’ve stifled so much of my own happiness. I wondered, what would I look like on this swing. I realized that I wouldn’t really like what I’d look like right now. I’d probably appear timid and a little sad. Those aren’t the feelings I want to portray. I don’t want to stifle my own joy.
While thinking through this a bit, I resized that in my own journey/struggle of self discovery, I’ve likely alienated some of the people close to me. I know that there have been times when I’ve put a lot of pressure on my husband to fill voids that weren’t actually his to fill. I’ve expected him to create emotions within me that are actually my own to create. I’ve searched for someone to “make me laugh,” rather than creating my own joy from within. Man, this personal development stuff is tough. Sometimes, I think it’s likely easier to stay stagnant rather than grow. Figuring out who you really are and who you want to become is not an easy or simple process.
Nonetheless, I think of life as a journey. In this journey, I want to end up as a well-rounded, self-aware individual. I want to tell stories of hardships and how I overcame them. I want to laugh at the silliness of immaturity and terrible decisions I’ve made. Better yet, I want to tell all of the jokes. I want to make everyone laugh at my own shortcomings, silly mistakes, and funny experiences. I want to laugh everyday for the rest of my life. And as I laugh, I want to make others laugh.
I’ve thought before about what I hope people will say about me after I’m gone. This is it – “She was full of energy, always ready to conquer the world. She knew how to make a crowd laugh and told the best stories. There was never a dull moment around her. She cared about others and she always did whatever she could to help. She didn’t fret over the small stuff, because she knew the big picture was all that mattered. She was the life of the party and one of the funniest people I knew. I’ll never forget how she made me feel.”
I may not encapsulate all of that description now, but I hope that I do someday. For now, I’m going to focus on laughing. They say it’s contagious.