‘Do you think you’re a selfish person’ the counsellor asked me.
To this day it’s one of the most profound moments of my life.
The room fell silent for a long pause. I was searching, not for my answer but for the courage to give my own my answer.
I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to do – for the first time in my life I was going to stand up to every person who had ever told me who I was, and I was going to disagree with them.
‘I have moments of selfishness like everyone else’ I said, ‘but no, I am not a selfish person.’
I didn’t know we had permission to tell the world who we are.
Finally…in that little office, I was born.
Every truth I held about myself had been given to me – every label I clothed myself in was written in someone else’s handwriting. The profound sense of self-awareness I’d been gifted with at birth was overridden at every turn by my belief that other people knew me better than I knew myself.
I had been quick to parrot things that other people said about me, but now I started closely assessing those labels. Walking through myself like an art enthusiast in a gallery – taking in the beauty in my flaws, the strength in my weakness.
I’ve seen who Fyona truly is and I am not selfish, jealous, evil, difficult, a bully, lazy, picky, over-sensitive, malicious, cruel, careless, thoughtless, overthinker, highly-strung or a liar.
Like most people, I am a wonderfully complex person full on contradictions and idiosyncrasies.
I’ve been raised in a culture where women are not taught to celebrate themselves or speak out about their positive attributes…but I’ve discovered that I’m not much or a rule follower…
Actually, that’s not 100% true – I am a rule follower – but only when I agree with the rules.
If I think a rule is good and it aligns with my moral compass, I’ll uphold it to my dying breath – if I think it’s an idea on a power trip then I’ll completely refuse to follow it… ‘because I said so’ has never cut the mustard for me – I want to know why and it has to be a damn good reason.
I am a questioner, I live by my values, I crave meaning and live for good conversations.
I care deeply and am recovering from a serious Superman complex.
I discovered that I have a beautiful soul.
An incredibly tender heart that’s easily hurt.
My superpower is that I feel everything…my Kryptonite is that I feel everything.
I am extremely kind and gentle by nature; I hate causing pain or upsetting other people.
I will do anything to avoid conflict…except betray my moral compass.
I value truth, honesty, doing the right thing, authenticity, courage above most things.
I am the bravest person I know – only because my life is the only one I have a back-stage pass to.
I have zero interest in being perfect, impressing other people, having a glossy life or making things look easy – I don’t mind not fitting in. I’ll walk away from others to stand with my values.
I love popping the hood on life, getting my hands dirty, learning how it all works.
Empathy is a second language for me – I’m naturally very inwardly focused and I’ve worked hard to learn how to imagine myself walking in someone else’s shoes.
I am a black and white person who has found themselves living in the grey.
I would rather watch Netflix than read a book and I think that’s ok.
I’m not selfish by nature but sometimes I can be selfish – mostly I’m just learning how to let go of scarcity and embrace gratitude and joy.
I’m not a jealous person, I mostly cheer others on and love watching people succeed but sometimes I feel insecure and need to remind myself that I’m still worthy of love and belonging.
I’m not an evil person, I can say very mean and careless things sometimes but I’m still good – I’m inherently good.
I’m not a difficult person – I’ve found we often find others difficult when they’re not fulfilling our expectations or when we haven’t taken the time to look them in the eye and listen to their story, their side of the coin.
I’m not a bully. I don’t intentionally crush other people. In my not-so-finest moments I have been known to manipulate a person or situation…but I like to think I’m growing out of that!
I’m not a lazy person – like many people I’ve been a victim of a culture that sees exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth (thank you Brene Brown for teaching me this) – I’m learning to cultivate a lifestyle of play and rest.
I’m not picky, over-sensitive, malicious, cruel, careless, thoughtless, overthinker, highly-strung or a liar. I’m a human who makes mistakes, who has moments where her behaviour is less than her best, but that doesn’t change who I am.
When I’m handed a label now, I don’t have space for it.
I know that I am brave, I am curious, I am learning, I am growing…I am enough.
I don’t mind my sharp edges or my quirky traits, – I am a key – uniquely me, uniquely my own shape, created especially to unlock only the things I can unlock in this world.
I am a key. I am a beautiful, gloriously human, still-becoming-my-best-self key.
[Art via Pinterest]