It’s Okay to Be Me

I have always been slightly ashamed of 2 parts of me.

1. That I prefer work over play.

and

2. That I enjoy being alone.

(You can imagine how well I fit in with my family, neighbors, church, etc.)

Especially in a world where noise, laughter, fun, play, social gatherings and busyness seem to be valued above all other.

I’ve spent too much of my life wishing I were different. I’ve spent too much of my life wishing I could relax more; sit down and throw my feet up; be the life of the party. But I am slowly and surely beginning to “be me” without any shame.

Let me explain.

#1

I am a worker at heart.

If Chad said to me on Saturday afternoon, “Honey, would you prefer to clean out the garage or go to dinner and a movie?” I would chose to clean out the garage.

Unheard of, I know. But you see, I find work much more personally gratifying than play.  And I would benefit from time spent in the garage for months as opposed to a dinner that I would regret one hour later and a movie that I would forget I even saw.

I am not saying that I don’t like to go to the movies, or get ice cream, or go to a concert, or go on a hike. I can actually be a fun person, but if I get to make a choice, I would usually choose work. And that preference was what I was ashamed of.

I remember clearly the day that I finally accepted my work crush. It was in church and the teacher was talking about all the work that we would be doing in the after-life. A light bulb went off. I remember thinking, “I am developing heavenly attributes on earth.”

We aren’t going to be water skiing in the after-life or sitting poolside sipping margaritas; we are going to be working our buns off. I am not sure exactly what we will be doing — maybe we will be angels helping other people still on earth. I don’t know, but I do know we will be working. Some would say, “Well then go have fun now because you will have to work later.” But my theory is “Learn to love NOW what you will do forever.”

My love for work is less of a thorn in my side than it once was.  I no longer try to cover it up or act that I dread Monday. I am no longer embarrassed that I actually enjoy doing laundry or that I prefer a weekend of work to a weekend of play. I accept and honor that I am a worker. It’s okay to be me.

#2

I have been harassed for being an introvert as far back as I can remember.  My sister would have a bunch of boys over in high school, and I would say goodnight to the party around 10:00 PM because I was tired.  She always called me a party pooper and couldn’t believe that I didn’t want to hang out til all hours of the night with boys or friends or family.

I ran into a few issues later in life when I dated boys and their families wanted me to be the blonde, bubbly, ball of fun.  I was even accused at one point of not having a personality.

I understand that extraverts are the darlings of families, churches, schools, and neighborhoods. I understand that they make people feel comfortable and loved.  I understand that they love talking and socializing and partying. But that is not me.

I understand that silence rejuvenates me. I enjoy alone time. I am energized by being with myself because I get to think and wonder about the world and how I contribute. I want to have deep conversations about meaningful things. These qualities do not make me less of a person than someone who likes to be surrounded by people.

I am no longer going to walk around wishing I was something that I am not. I now understand better who I am, and I am at peace with it.

So why does my self-acceptance matter now?

My self-acceptance matters because I am a parent.

And as I learn to accept and love who I am, even if it is not what my family wants me to be or what society wants me to be, I give my children permission to do the same. I can model for them what true self-love and self- acceptance looks like, sounds like and feels like.

Also, the better I know myself, the better I can help my children know who they are.

I can already see that some of my kids are introverts and some are extraverts.  And I want them to be okay with whatever they are.  I don’t want them trying to be the party animal when they would prefer to curl up with a good book.  And I don’t want them to feel obligated to stay home if they would prefer a party. I am not going to make them feel bad for their instincts.

It really hit me at our family reunion last summer, when Elle came up to me about 10:00 PM and said she was tired and going to bed. (All the other cousins were staying up.) This same sister muttered, “That is so sad”. I jumped to Elle’s defense as if every childhood memory came flooding back to me.  “What’s sad about an 11 year old knowing her limits, honoring her body, and not worrying about what everyone else is doing?”

I was going to let my daughter be who she is and not make her feel bad about it.

And I think this knowledge of how they work, helps me with my parenting.  Elle thrives when she gets some time by herself.  That is why homeschooling is working so well for her.

Then there is Crew who calls me within 5 minutes of being left alone.  He wants to be with buddies constantly. He loves crowds and people and will go anywhere and do anything. Managing his social calendar is no easy task, but he is happiest around others, so I help him be who he is as well.

The real point is that one type is not better than the other. Extraverts are not better than introverts.  Both are needed in the world.  Players are not better than workers. Both make society a better place.

As parents, we should want to raise our children to be confident and secure in who they are – just as they are. That doesn’t mean that we all can’t learn and grow and get out of our comfort zones, but it does mean to accept and love ourselves for who we are.

It’s taken me 42 years, but I finally believe that it’s okay to be me.

(I hope my children realize this truth sooner than I did.)

 

 

 

15 Comments
  1. This is so lovely. Thank you for sharing! As a dedicated “lazy-er” (I prefer being lazy to working OR playing), I wish I had a bit of your worker spirit to motivate me out of bed in the morning!

    1. I struggle to get out of bed too AnnMarie. And I was laying in my bed at 9:30 this morning reading a book so “lazy-er” is a close second to worker.To combat my desire to stay in bed, I’ve learned to leave me some work to do in the morning like put away dishes or change over laundry, etc.If my house is too clean at night when I go to bed, then I have no reason to get up. Does this make me even weirder? Thanks for your comment and remember, it’s okay to be you!

  2. So you are not a cookie cutter person!!
    I think you are awesome!!!
    I was always upbeat,worked circles around everyone, OCD. However, when stage 4 cancer came to call, fighting that and hopefully winning. Then to have RA take over my life,I am learning to show down and to do what I can, when I can. Both lives are awesome because I’m doing what I want to do when I can! I’m sorry, I can’t do what I used to do, but so grateful for that time in my life. Now, I’m TRYING to learn to to have peace and I’m finding that I have more time to study my scriptures and LISTEN to family and friends when maybe I wasn’t so good at that before. NOT saying you are not!!I’m saying me!! Celebrate the stage of life you are in.

    1. Linda, thanks for your comment. I appreciate your advice. Your story reminds me of my mom’s a bit. I got the worker gene from her. She has always had so much energy, but cancer came and kicked her butt. Her worth is being bombarded a bit because it was always tied up in what she could DO. She is now trying to find a new her. There is good in every stage if we will just look for it. Best of luck to you with your health.

  3. Nailed it! I love everything that you write because it resonates with how I feel! You are awesome and I love how you own it, something that isn’t always easy to do!

    1. Thanks, Tifani! I enjoy blogging because it lets me know there are others like me out in the world. We are a little different, but we are not alone.

  4. This is amazing and wonderful and I wish more people would understand it! We are all different and it takes all our different kinds to make the world to keep on keeping on.

    1. Yes! Jess. You got it. We need all types of people. Let’s stop ranking talents and personality types and just be glad there is so much variety which makes our world a better place.

  5. I admire and appreciate this post so much!! I am a worker too. Thanks for your wise words today on accepting ourselves for who we are.

    1. Thanks, Jen. It is a continual battle, isn’t it? One of my friend told me yesterday that she loved my post, but she felt bad because she was a player. What??? I lectured her that she needed to accept who she was … that was the point of the post after all.

  6. love this, though it surprised me. : ) (I forget easily that just because someone blogs publicly doesn’t mean they are automatically extroverts).
    As a teen I would go to church dances, secretly wishing I could stay at home with my mom and read or watch dr. Quinn and go to bed at 10…but never did because I thought that wasn’t ok and I’d be labled as a weirdo.
    Now as a parent, my dream Saturday’s are when the whole family is working on a house project or cleaning.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. It sure helps to have someone like you who can eloquently say and understand so many different things. Your children are fortunate to have you!

    1. Rach, thanks for your comment. You are not the first person that is surprised when they find out I am an introvert and even a little bit shy. I am comfortable public speaking and making comments in church and even talking with people so people assume I’m an extrovert. One lady in my new ward even said to me, “You are just so friendly and outgoing it must be easier for you to move.” I laughed inside. My blogging works for me because I get to write on my own terms about topics that matter to me; small talk is what kills an introvert. And throw in a drop off to the thrift store, and that is my dream Saturday too. Thanks so much for reading!

  7. Ack! We should be friends. 🙂 Not b/c we’re so similar exactly, but more b/c I love what you’re thinking and doing. I came across your blog yesterday after searching pinterest for stuff about family councils, and I’ve spent a little time browsing your blog. LOVE IT! And love this post. So much. Self-acceptance and self-love are so important – not only for our own peace, but also for modeling it to our children. You’re already in a really healthy place, but I have a recommendation for you to make it even more firm so to speak. Look for and read the books “It’s Just My Nature” and “The Child Whisperer” by Carol Tuttle. If you haven’t already. Fantastic information. You’re already incorporating some of the things you’ll learn about in both books, but I think you’ll really enjoy learning more and having people make even more sense. You are so right that there is not only room, but NEED for all kinds of people in the world.

  8. Tiffany! I think you are amazing! The more I get to know you the the more I am in awe of you. When I see you at enrichment and at church and I hear your comments and thoughts I just think you are someone I really look up to. Does that sound weird cuz I don’t know you that well?! Ha! But I feel like you are a thinker and I know that whatever you say you’ve thought a lot about and you can offer great advice and a different perspective on things. I love that.
    And I too, consider myself a worker. I love working hard and getting things done. There’s no better feeling then stepping back and seeing what you accomplished. Even if it is just cleaning a out the garage. Cleaning out things is one of my favorite things to do! Ha! My husband is hard a worker too but he definitely enjoys relaxing and having fun and has taught me to tune in more to that side too and to realize it’s ok to take breaks and finish things later. which has been nice. I just ran into your blog and I’m glad I did!

    1. Thanks, Stef! I appreciate your kind words so much. I think you are awesome as well and I look forward to getting to know you better. My husband sounds like yours. He works so hard,but he also plays hard. He helps me to relax and have fun and I need that. Thank heaven for hubbies!