The lesson that has taken me to about thirty years to internalize has been the “it’s okay to be me.”
My unique tendencies, such as introversion, combined with my keen curiousness towards learning about a bit about everything had me to think that such preferences are “too out of the normal.”
Yet what is normal anyway? Watching TV? Parties?
As I’ve grown older I’ve bit by bit understood to embrace these tendencies, as they’ve made me wiser in the process.
Normal, or ordinary people do not put much effort to their personal growth at all. They say they do not have “time to read”, or even “interest.”
Yet in the world, there is a lot of people who are interested in such intellectual pursuits and use all their time and energy very carefully around both learning and action. Gradually as I’ve learned that it’s these people that are far more interesting to me in any way, that my life has been filled more with meaning and purpose.
A breakthrough for me has been to understand what thoughts or feelings to follow, and what not. Most of the thoughts and feelings that are really just about instant gratification, I should not relate much with. This reflects very well what majority of people do. Therefore it makes it very challenging to resist desserts, or caffeine for example. Following these thoughts is not therefore very advantageous for me, therefore this is something I would rather be not, even though these thoughts might be once in a while in my head.
The thoughts and feelings about delayed gratification might sometimes be almost as strong as the impulses about instant gratification. Often these are battling against the consensus of the group for example, even in mundane situations such as “should we take a stairs or the elevator” – for example. In these cases I would feel inclined to take the stairs (in Finland there is not many tall buildings ) to keep up my daily step goals and above all my health.
Socially explaining some of these inclinations has been the awkward part for me. This is because the delayed gratification feelings might be and feel obvious to me, yet verbalizing them might take time and I might not even specifically remember how was it. I would need to consult some sort of memory aid and all of the sudden the situation has gone past already. So what has been in the background has been that I’ve felt the desire to do the right things, yet haven’t felt secure to do so previously in my life. Presently I don’t feel such pressures as I’ve learned to handle the social situations.
In my case the major block to utilize my strengths has been mainly psychological inability to articulate and then go to a feeling of shame instead of some more productive feeling. Basis of overcoming these disadvantageous moments that I’ve had has been the self-acceptance thought.
I wish to see the strengths and above all the potential in everyone, so therefore I hope you can learn something from this example.