Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Jessie J once sang:
Don't lose who you are, in the blur of the stars Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing, It's okay not to be okay...
Thoughts? Do you agree? This concept is one i've been battling with for the longest time. It leads me nicely onto my second life lesson.
Lesson 2: It’s okay not to be okay
Most people would describe me as being a bubbly, fun, loud, cheeky, sociable individual. My extroverted ways make it natural for me to be all of these things in social settings. I've also become known for my untameable smile and infectious grin.
One thing people don't always realise is that with such an outgoing personality comes difficulty. I was recently asked something along the lines of,
"Laura, do you ever suffer from depression?" I was taken aback by this random comment.
"Why?" I responded
"I just thought, every time I see you you're always happy, so I just wondered, is this you all the time, or do you have other emotions?"
This conversation is a huge paraphrase, but it really did get me thinking. Although a bubbly, fun, loud, cheeky, sociable individual that isn’t always who I am or want to be for that matter.
Sometimes, (believe it or not,) I'd rather be in silence, (I’ll admit it is rare but it happens,) Other times I just want to block out the world and listen to music, or read. There are times I need to just cry and vent my emotions, fears and insecurities and there are times I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to be sociable or fun or bubbly or loud, I’d rather just be boring and lazy, sat in complete isolation.
I am realising that when you’ve built up a persona, that can become what people expect to find when they see you. Sadly, if you’re not careful, it can also be what you can begin to expect when you see yourself. What do I mean by this?
For so long, I’ve told myself that if the way I feel doesn’t fit into the box that I have created for myself, it’s not valid.
I told myself these lies:
Even if you want to be alone, you’re a sociable, extroverted being so you can’t be
You are known for your infectious smile so you can’t let anyone see you cry
You seem to have it all together so no-one can know when you are falling apart
Lies! I forgot to tell myself one crucial thing. Laura Jane, yes, you are a bubbly, fun, loud, cheeky, sociable individual, but you are also a human being. It’s ok not to be ok.
As I was reading the other day I stumbled upon this verse which changed my view and perspective on how I view myself:
“My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalms 73:26 NKJV
This verse reminded me of my humanness. Recently I have been trying to live up to a standard that I have created for myself, an unrealistic standard at that which says, in order to be accepted you have to be the person everyone expects you to be.
The more I tried to be the bubbly, fun...person that I thought I had to be, the more I became the opposite. It was no longer a natural response to social situations, it was a forced attempt at trying to be what I thought I needed to be.
Truth is, no matter what I try to be as the Psalmist says, my flesh and my heart will fail. I can't live up to that standard on my own, I can't be what I feel I need to be if I try it in my own strength.
But there is hope! God knows I'm human, so He promises to be the one that keeps me going, He promises to be my strength when I am weak, which shows me that it's ok for me to be weak. It is okay for me not to be okay and in the times that I feel I can't carry on, there's a promise that says:
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
Psalm 91:11-12 NKJV
“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.” - Lisa Kleypas
I am not perfect, I am weak, I do fail, I am not always bubbly, fun, loud, cheeky or sociable and that's ok. Today, I choose not to hide the truth about how I feel from others. I choose to live recognising that the only standard I need to live by is the one God sets for me. I am not defined by what others think of me or by what others expect of me. I am defined by the God of heaven who believes in all I can be and promises to strengthen me and be mine forever.
What stereotypes or misconceptions have been made about you?
How do you combat living up to expectation? Let me know in the comments below!