There’s a song that became a bit of an anthem for me during my latter years of university.
Over and over again, Audioslave repeat the words ‘To be yourself is all that you can do‘
I’ve been reminded of that again this week. Coming back from a course, I was so frustrated, trying to do this week’s assignments and navigating moodle which has my pet peeve of TWO sidebars on opposite sides of it’s page (I’d say sorry if your blog has left and right sidebars, but I’m really not sorry. It messes with my head and it is one of those silly trivial things that drives me round the twist. A bit like people who don’t indicate on roundabouts. Or when I catch people washing dishes in the ‘wrong’ order).
I’m one of the worst for comparing myself to other people. At university I used to get teased by the other women on my course that I had it easy because I could ‘write an essay in 2 days’. This actually wasn’t true. It was just that rather than dividing my time to spend one week on each topic, I’d spend three weeks reading and thinking about all four topics, write a sort of draft notes type thing with quotes and thoughts and then in the final week – I’d have processed my thoughts enough to pull out that essay using those notes. I began to panic that maybe I wasn’t disciplined or working hard enough. While everyone else was in turns or wielding knives when loved ones suggested a break from coursework, I was working a few shifts in clinics, rehearsing for a show and getting 7-8 hours sleep most nights. Never mind that my grades were good – this wasn’t how everyone else was working!
Shamefully it was only a couple of years ago, when we were looking at Myers-Briggs during the inter:act course that I realised that this way of working is common with my ‘personality type’. I know that some find Myers-Briggs constrictive, but for me this knowledge was like affirmation and quite liberating. It was almost like it gave permission to be myself.
And so with that little bit of wisdom, I’ve realised that it takes me a while to process my thoughts and I constantly have about 10 different thoughts percolating at the back of my mind. Possibly more.
And that’s ok.
That’s just how I work!
My analogies to explain things tend to come from examples from American TV shows or stories that I love. I’m a storyteller, and that’s how I work too.
Visually pleasing things to me are simple. I don’t like clutter and things to be squashed together. I don’t do well with lists, and so like to have icons as my view on a computer. I like things to be in order so I can find them easily.
One thing I’ve discovered working in my job, is that it usually happens that the person able to see a client on any given day just so happens to be exactly the right person to see that particular client. We all have different levels of knowledge about particular areas of work, different backgrounds, styles of counselling and working, different personality types. If we were all the same, a good chunk of our clients would lose out.
I’d be a terrible nurse. And that’s ok. I’ve got friends like Rebecca that are great nurses. We need them. But the world needs a Laura Anne type to do youth work and a bit counselling every now and again. Oh, and teach the Macarena to the next generation. I’d be a terrible accountant, but luckily my friend makes the most amazing spreadsheets. Thank God for them, because we need good accountants too. I can’t draw for toffee, but my friend Vicky can. She makes the world more colourful and inspires people with her artwork. I can’t knit, but my friend can created a stuffed owl in a few hours. Sometimes I’m feel like giving up when I fall down, but then I remember the Mini Kahuna and Elastaboy’s abilities to get straight back up and aim for their goal of adventure when they go tumbling down.
Everyone has a part to play in this big crazy world, and if we try to be someone else – the world misses out on the part we’ve been designed to play!
Listen to Audioslave.
To be yourself is all that you can do.