If you truly want to find yourself, you’ll need to give yourself permission to be who you are. So many of us are simply playing roles in life, roles we may not even realize we are playing. When we look in the mirror are we really seeing the reflection of our true self, or is the person looking back at us merely what we think the world wants to see? I wonder how many us can honestly answer the question, who am I? We know what we believe in, what we stand for and who we are supposed to be, at least we think we do. Life often dictates the path we will follow even though our hearts may have made different plans.
It seems we are always on some valiant quest to find our true self; it’s not an easy task. Many of us have hidden away the hopes and dreams we once had, we’ve sacrificed certain wants and desires for the sake of those we love most, without hesitation. I have. I don’t regret setting those things aside in hopes of finding them again someday, but sometimes, I wonder if they are still worth finding.
Some of them certainly are, but I’m not the same person I was when I first wanted them. Some of those hopes and dreams have been realized, perhaps not in the way I’d thought they would be, and some were realized in ways I never imagined they could be. There are still a few though, tucked way somewhere inside of me, waiting to be rediscovered.
I have hopes and dreams now I didn’t have when my younger self started making plans for the future. It’s funny, when I think of those plans I once had, I’m reminded of a song I sang when I was little, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”, we could apply this innocent principle in our own search for self. We don’t have to give up all things past, maybe we simply need to incorporate some of them into our present and on into our future. I can say with utmost certainty, the thoughts I think today will be different from the ones I may think tomorrow. Not all of them, of course, but new thoughts will grow within them, some of the old ones will fall away, leaving the new to grow until they too have served their purpose.
They remind me of a rose. The beautiful bud opens as it blooms, petal atop petal, each delicately filled with life, eventually, the outer petals begin to wilt and fall, some meet the ground with their beauty intact, others have wilted and browned and they fade back into the earth, becoming a part of something greater. Those which fell with color and form can be preserved and cherished – between the pages of a book, their color rich and beautiful still, but to keep that perfection, they must remain between the pages. Even once a rose has seen its final dawn it can remain forever beautiful if cared for. There is an unexpected beauty in the sight of a perfectly dried rose. It’s color has faded and though it’s petals are brittle and can crumble with the slightest touch of even the most delicate hand, it is beautiful still.
I see my old hopes and dreams as I see the rose. Some of them fell to the ground and journeyed away in the breeze, some fell to nourish the soil where their journey began, and sometimes they are the petals, fallen and preserved. They remain – different than they once were, but they remain, kept between the pages of my life’s story, never to be forgotten. The dried beauty of a once vibrant rose represents those dreams I once dreamed but were never meant to be. Still a beautiful sight, when you look upon it you cannot help but see what it used to be, it serves as a precious memory.
My old dreams, like the rose, are a reminder of who I once was, not of who I have become or who I will one day be. Maybe this is the secret to finding your true self. Letting go of who you used to be and embracing who you have become, different, yet beautiful still. Only when we accept the changes in our life can we find ourselves, only when we have found ourselves will we find happiness.
“Make new dreams, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.”
I don’t have to play a role, I am everything I am supposed to be. The light I was once afraid I wasn’t supposed to show needs to shine. I’ve held back laughter and I’ve held back tears. I’ve been serious when I wanted to play and I have given up things I wanted to keep. My light needs to shine. I am who I am, if I accept myself, those I love will as well and that will continue to be my strength and my joy.
I am a child of God; I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I am far from perfect yet perfect the way I am. I am someone who knows who I am and accepts whoever I may become with the passage of time.
I am who I am meant to be . . .
Crystal R. Cook