I am always amazed at how much we try to impress others. We think we have to dress a particular way, drive a special car, live in an upscale neighbourhood, speak in a certain way or dress in the newest fashions. We have a need to make ourselves appear more than what we are. I think it goes beyond ego to something instinctual; a need to show off and impress, sort of like the mating rituals of birds or the rutting contests of rams.
Life doesn’t have to be such as contest, It can be absolutely wonderful when I keep it simple. Some of the best meals I’ve eaten have been well prepared good food eaten in great company. The beauty of a sunset or the gait of a majestic horse are simple, plain and yet very memorable. A walk with a friend by a river or a stroll through a park can give me peace of mind. And these are all simple, unadorned things. I don’t need to impress. I am perfect just the way I am.
It’s taken a long time to get to this point in my life. And I admit that I can easily slip back into old habits of ‘dress to impress’, or ‘be there or be square!’ But I’ve learned that most people aren’t thinking about me; they’re wondering about what others are thinking about them! Like the young boy whistling in the dark, trying to convince himself that he’s not afraid, we strut and pose hoping that people won’t notice that we might not ‘fit in’ with the ‘in’ crowd. In recovery, I’m discovering that perhaps I don’t want to fit in, and that the in crowd is way out of where I want to be.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” Dr. Seuss
I’m learning in the program to become right sized. I need to keep my ego in check; I am neither more nor less than who I am. I need not impress others. I am fine just the way I am: a human being trying to be whole and authentic. If others don’t like the direction I’m heading, that’s fine. I’m not responsible for what others think and say about me. I’m learning to let that go.
Today I prefer simple. I like honest. I seek knowledge. What I drive, where I live or who I hang out with are no longer my priorities. Yes, I prefer certain things in life, but they don’t make my life. I could lose them all tomorrow and I will still be just fine. I am learning to carry with me the memories and the lessons of life that never fall out of fashion. I am grateful.