Happiness & Identity Crisis

Last time I started a bit sadly. Well… more than a bit. After all I promised you a post about happiness and ended up describing symptoms of a clinical depression. Hopefully this entry points to some more constructive aspects. It’s about me winning my life back, some steps I’ve taken to get better and things I understood during the process. It all started with me having a massive identity crisis, problems with self-acceptance and loosing myself in other people lives. It wasn’t easy and took a lot of time, but finally I managed to recover.

Who are you?

Have you ever watched Runaway bride movie? It tells the story of a girl running from the altar couple of times already. You meet her at the exact moment, when she’s preparing to the next one. The thing that stroked me the most, was that all those weddings were one of a kind and none seemed to be what she really wanted. Every time she was only pretending to be happy – without even realizing she’s not. Obviously losing herself in those relationships, she couldn’t tell anymore who she really was. I literally saw myself in that picture and decided I no longer want to be like that.

The biggest problem for me was not knowing … like what. Obviously I couldn’t answer the question Who is Basia?, but the worst part was, I couldn’t even respond to the What is Basia like?. I was so lost, I couldn’t say what I fancy or not. It applied to basic, every day stuff, I didn’t even have to go as deep as my identity.

Step one – acceptance

I strongly believe every change should start with recognition of the current situation. Only after that point there is a time and a place for transformation. In the matter of self-acceptance, this was really hard for me. I honestly didn’t like myself. I’ve seen all the flaws I had and obviously few that weren’t there. I even thought, that if I had a friend like me – I wouldn’t like them at all. I was (or still am) whinny, self centered, emotional, unstable and the worst thing of all – boring. I didn’t have any exciting hobbies. I might be intelligent, but I didn’t do anything actually interesting with that. I wouldn’t leave a mark when I were gone from this planet. I didn’t like spending time with other people, I barely could hold any conversation at the parties. I took everything seriously and didn’t know how to have fun. Well… let me just stop right here, otherwise this post will turn to be really long. But you should have a rough idea what I was thinking about myself.

So who would like that person? No one, obviously. But you know what? Someone did, couple of someones to be honest. Therefore moment of realization came to me – maybe I am just who I am. Perhaps I even have some qualities. Otherwise, those amazing people I care about, wouldn’t be present in my life. Wait… did I just said I care about? Is it possible that this mine I don’t like people phrase is not entirely true?

Find out who you wanna be

After acceptance chapter, there was a time for transformation. I really wanted some severe changes, but sadly had no idea what direction they should point to. One thing I noticed, is people usually are very good in pointing what they don’t want and have lots of problems with figuring out what they do.

In my case the most difficult flaw I wanted to get rid of, was this me being boring thing. I just couldn’t let it go. I’d do almost anything to appear more interesting. For example I was changing my hair color so frequently, that people (including me) really had problems with determining the natural one. I tried a lot of new things, like scuba diving, playing piano, learning how to draw or cycling. What’s more – I joined a gym for God’s sake. I also tried to work on my social skills, so went for parties more often and even started some conversations from time to time. As you may noticed, this trying new things phase is typical for puberty or middle life crisis periods. My age didn’t quite go well with any of that, but … oh well, apparently that was my time to go through the process.

One day, really unexpectedly both self-acceptance and directions came to me. I figured it all out and wanted to be… Leonard from The Big Bang Theory (and yes – I do realize I watch too much TV). If you know that show, you probably say now: Sure, everybody wants to be Leonard. For those of you, who don’t – let me provide a short introduction. Leonard is this geeky guy, little awkward and a bit boring, who cares about friends and is in love with his neighbor. He’s smart but not a great scientist. Just an average guy. So how come everybody wants to be like him?

It’s because he’s just great. He has tons of qualities, like good heart, brains, care. He’s also a human being, so gets pissed when someone makes him angry and does stupid things very often. But the thing that stroke the most was – he’s boring and I still like him. Maybe, I thought, there is a hope for me. At that point, I finally made peace with myself. I accepted my not-to-be-considered-the-most-exciting-interests like math, physics or art. I admitted that sometimes I prefer to watch Harry Potter in the evening with my niece than go out. And it’s fun as long as it works for me, as long as it’s fun for me, as long as I am… happy.

It’s still hard work

Even though eureka moments are great, if not followed by real actions, they last only for seconds. Having this big finding myself goal ahead of me, I planned actual work to become happy again. I had a whole list of stuff I hated but no idea what do I like. So I started slowly – first I needed to figure out what gave me joy. At the beginning they were small ones – books I wanted to read, conversation topics I was interested in, food I liked.

Letting myself to feel good and experience pleasure finally introduced some peace and joy to my life. And believe me – I hadn’t felt like that for a while. I think I might even given up on a possibility. And that’s how it started. Every day, simple stuff and embracing them. It didn’t sort itself – but this is how it started.