Saturday, September 13, 2014

perk #14 – free to be me

Ideally, when you meet the right person, you will feel like you can be completely yourself, and your significant other will love you for every part of you, quirks and all. But from the perspective of a single person, I can honestly say I’ve felt like there couldn’t possibly be another person walking this earth that would just get me completely, and I’d be understood and adored for all the things that make me who I am. Have you ever wondered to yourself if there is someone out there that would just get you? If you're like me, then you ask yourself that question all the time. I’m not really talking about the flaws that each of us possess and need to work through to be better versions of ourselves. I’m talking about personality traits that make an individual unique.

Let me share an example from my own life to really drive home what I mean. My sister and I have the ability to reach a level of ridiculously silly behavior that would probably alarm most people. She gets me, and I get her, and I could share story after story of funny things we’ve done or the level of nerdy excitement we can reach when discussing certain things…such as our upcoming trip to Harry Potter world in January. There have been times when my sister, my mom, and I have hung out and out of nowhere we are talking in a British accent for no apparent reason. Many people would probably think we’re crazy if they were in the same room with us for too long, but we love how fun we are when we’re together. I use this example because I am probably the most myself around her than I am with anyone else in this world. I can abandon all sense of formality, and embrace the joy and laughter of the moment.  But I have to admit, there have been times in the middle of us doing something silly that I’m thinking…”would the person I end up with think I’m a complete idiot, or would they embrace this and play along?” I don’t want to change who I am to be what I think someone would want me to be. Accept the crazy silly me, or move along.

I can think of other less extreme examples as well. My love for musicals, antiques, history, and travel, for instance. I can become totally immersed in all of these things and even if the same interests are not shared, I wonder if someone will appreciate that these are things that make me truly happy, and will at least admire the love I have for them and will be interested enough to understand that love. I wonder if I will be able to fully explain how I see the world, the beauty I find in the smallest things, and if I will be able to discuss my relationship with the Lord to someone that will want to know that part of me on the most intimate level. I’ve said before that I love to put myself in someone else’s shoes to see the world from their point of view. I often wonder if someone will feel that way about me. It’s easy to tell a single person “of course you’ll find that!” But when you are single, and there isn’t a tangible person in mind, it’s harder to believe that someone could truly know and understand who you are.

I’ve seen people who change quite a bit when they find their significant other, losing parts of their personality that made them special. That’s sad to me. You should never have to change your personality to fit another person’s idea of who you should be. I know that seems obvious, but when you grow to really like someone, I think there is a part of us that would alter whatever we had to in order to stay with that person, even fundamental elements of who we were created to be. This is an extreme example, but I know it happens. I’ve seen it.

So how is this a perk of being single? I’ll tell you. If you’re single, then you don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks, and you can take the time to truly appreciate the person you are, someone who was lovingly crafted by God. When you do something that is completely you, you’re not wondering if that person is thinking “where’s the nearest exit?” You are naturally going to hold back a little when you meet someone until there is a level of trust to start showing more and more of your quirks. But if that’s not the case right now, then be as silly or nerdy as you want to be, do the things that make you happy, and fall in love with what makes you unique.

Maybe you’ve never really sat down and thought about the awesome things about yourself. Maybe you should. Make a list. I’ve done it. After a particularly difficult day, someone encouraged me to write down all the things I appreciated about myself. Looking at them on paper made me more confident about the person I am, and made me realize that those were qualities someone else would appreciate one day too. Something I wrote down was how excited I can get over the littlest things. I’ve had people that have pointed this out to me, and it made me love that part of myself even more. Allow God to show you all the ways He made you special. Pray for God to reveal those things to you, write them down, and look at them often. I’ve never had someone tell me that I would have to change something before a man would be interested in me. But I know there are people out there who have had someone along the line tell them that if they don’t modify this or that, then they will be single forever. That’s bull. Don’t believe it. Realize that you don’t need to tone your personality down or change anything about you that makes you who you are. Embrace it, because it’s going to be beautiful to someone one day that will totally appreciate you to your very core.

In addition to personality traits, there is one other thing I wanted to address. In this day and age, there are a million ways a person can screw up. I am no exception. There are probably skeletons in your closet that you worry will make someone run from you as fast as they can. If the Creator of life, who loves you so much he died for you, can forgive whatever past you may have, then it doesn’t matter what any future significant other thinks. You only need God’s forgiveness, and once you have it, if someone in your future can’t forgive your past and look beyond that to who you truly are, then let them walk away. They don’t deserve you. The past can’t be changed, but the Lord does not hold it over our heads. So if someone thinks they have the right to not forgive something that God already has, they are essentially prideful enough to believe their opinion is higher than the Lord’s, which is probably one of the most dangerous things a person can do. I’m not saying that parts of your past won’t be difficult to work through, depending on the circumstances, but the right person will be willing to accept what is done, and will love you anyway. Your past is a part of you, but it’s not what defines you. Let your past be used for good, and don’t be fearful that you’ll be alone forever because of it. God will bring the right person along at the right time, and when that happens and you see that someone will still love you in full knowledge of your past, it’s like God voice whispering to you that the past is over and you need to forget it because He already has.

There is someone out there for everyone. I can’t imagine you could be truly happy if you felt like you were hiding parts of yourself. So don’t. If someone can’t look at you and think you are the coolest person ever, then why on earth would you want to be with that person? Don’t change who you are to be someone else’s idea of who you should be. Appreciate who you are now and what makes you awesome, and only enter a relationship if that person can appreciate those things, too. And for the time being, have fun being yourself during this season when you don't have to worry about what anyone else thinks.