I am a walking contradiction.
This used to make me feel uncomfortable. I felt misguided. I didn’t think I knew who I was. I was never quite sure where I fit, and to me this was a problem. I judged myself and thought I was being fake or not sharing my true self. I thought that I needed to find myself and my passions because surely I was not meant to relate to these opposite ideas.
All of the examples I had seen on social media and otherwise had been very clearly on one side or the other. It didn’t make sense to eat vegetables and also love sweet treats. It didn’t make sense to me that I should love being in nature but also like shopping and nice restaurants. If I only represented one side or one piece of myself, then it matched up with a bigger idea or group. This was easier and made me more relatable. Or so I thought.
The Box You Create
I could be free-spirited and flowy like the spiritually enlightened. Or I could be calculated and organized like the type A planners. I could be outgoing and up for anything like the extroverted. Or I could be thoughtful and feel best at home like the introverted. I could be healthy and eat all of my vegetables each day. Or I could eat pizza and be a couch potato. I could fit into one box or the other, but not both. I created this box that I thought I had to live in. I thought I couldn’t stray, and if I did I thought I needed to hide it.
I didn’t think I could be both sides of the spectrum. I thought I needed to pick a side. I thought that if I didn’t’ fit into a box, then I was not doing it right. So I fought it. I determined that I must just not know who I was or what I was made for. I must not know what my truth was because I thought that these contradictions meant I didn’t know who I truly was. I decided that I couldn’t identify with these opposing ideas because they could not coexist and it said something about me if I didn’t pick a side.
We Create Our Self-Judgment
I was judging myself.
I didn’t even know I was judging myself. But that’s what I was doing. I was holding myself to a standard and the voice in my head was telling me that I was not allowed to be both sides of the spectrum. The ego inside thought these opposing viewpoints could not coexist. I felt guilt. And I felt shame. I was trying to make sure I was appealing to others. I was people pleasing. I thought others would also judge me if I did not perfectly fit a specific perception.
If I was eating the pizza, then how could I call myself a healthy person? If I was watching the reality television show, then how could I think that I was even a little bit enlightened? If I chose to stay at home on a Friday night, then how could I believe that I was a fun and outgoing person? If I chose to read that novel instead of reading the personal development book, then how could I truly be growing as a person?
I didn’t think I practiced what I preached. I thought I was a fake. That I was a liar. My ego told me that I didn’t deserve to call myself a person who was changing and growing. If I kept my old habits, I didn’t believe that the new ones made a difference. I judged myself so harshly and lost myself. If I was not going to go all in and completely change myself, then none of it mattered.
From Judgment to Acceptance
Until one day I realized how unrealistic that was. I decided to stop judging myself. I realized that I can be a walking contradiction, and that does not have to be a negative thing. It is not a negative thing. It is real. It is true. It is me.
These contradictions make up who I uniquely am. I don’t have to choose to fit into one box. And you don’t either. The key is that perception is a choice. And I choose to not fit into a box.
I can be nice and compassionate. I can also be impatient and demanding.
I can be calm and laid back. I can also be wild and aggressive.
I believe in God. I am also spiritual and believe all religions are connected.
I love journaling and meditating. I also love binging Game of Thrones and the Handmaid’s Tale.
I love real, whole foods. I also love takeout pizza.
I love documentaries that teach me something new. I also love reality television that entertains.
Embracing It All to Get to a Place of Self-Love
I love that I don’t fit into one box. These flaws balance me. They keep me humble. They remind me that imperfect is perfect. And I own this person and accept this person. I wholeheartedly love this person. Once you make the choice to accept each piece of yourself, then the real growth has space to happen.
You don’t have to fight yourself. You are delaying growth and change when you do so. You use up all of your energy punishing and judging yourself for going off of the path instead of creating your own space where all of these paradoxes can cohabitate. If instead you just accept everything as it is, then you can start looking within and move forth with growth. You can nurture the parts that you want to see flourish while still accepting the other parts. All of these parts come together to make up who you uniquely are. And that’s so beautiful.
There’s no need to put limits on who you are. It’s a trick that our brain plays on us. It tells us we can’t be both funny and serious. That we can’t be both sensitive and silly. But that’s a lie. You don’t need to fit into a description of an ideal person. You don’t need to be that person you see on social media who you want to be just like. Those people are usually only telling part of the story.
Be gentle and kind to yourself. Accept it all, the deep parts of you and the surface level bits. Accept your everchanging heart and your preferences. Tell your Whole Story. Live it out loud. And then you will find the people who genuinely connect with you. And you will feel SO good about that because you will be living your truth. And you will know that you are not hiding. That you are living out who you truly are. You will know how special that is because you will find connection and understanding. And that means so much more than living life in a box with the walls you created. Tear them down and accept it all with love.
What are some of the contradictions that you notice within yourself? Share them in the comments. Live them out loud! I would love to hear from you.