It’s always easier to theorise about things than to actually recognise them when they’re happening. Telling yourself that if x happens then I’ll do y. Telling yourself that no matter what you’ll be rational. Telling yourself you won’t care what people think. Telling yourself you won’t get sucked into pettiness. Telling yourself you’ll always push yourself, you’ll always try and do the right thing, you’ll always stand up for what you believe in. But you rarely factor in how different circumstances will impact on those promises. Because really, you have no idea how you’ll respond until you’re there in those moments.
When those moments show themselves, or our environments change, or our comfort zones change, or the people we spend our time with change, it can affect us without us really realising what’s happening. It takes longer than it should for most people to feel comfortable in their own skin… even if some hide it better than others. Pretty much everyone has their insecurities, pretty much everyone craves acceptance, or approval, or respect, in some shape or form. And just when you think you might have learnt to trust yourself, to feel comfortable in yourself, something changes. But maybe that’s the whole point. The last thing I ever want is to get stuck in one place; in one comfort zone. Not being sure where you stand – whether that’s with yourself or with other people – or why you’re struggling, or if you are even struggling… it’s all part of it. And I think recognising that means you’re learning. It means you’re stretching yourself in readiness for moving onto something better. But the only way to move to something better is to not be ok with where you are and what you’re doing. I think one of the things that’s difficult is comparing other people’s comfort zone to your own, or comparing the path other people take to your own, or trying to judge what new people in new situations think of what your ‘normal’ is. That’s when there’s a danger of trying to do what other people do, or not doing what you feel like you need to do, or not trusting your instincts. But one of the most obvious things in the world can be the hardest to wrap your head round; that different things work for different people.
The thing I’m trying to remind myself of though is that really, it only matters if you, yourself, think you’re doing the right thing. If you think you’re doing what is best for yourself, getting yourself where you want to get to… then that’s what counts. Because the people around you that matter should be influencing you to do exactly that anyway. There shouldn’t be a need to worry about what they might be thinking, or changing your behaviour to suit them, because chances are the people around you, are around you, for you. For you being yourself. (Maybe if I repeat the same words one more time it might make sense..) But if they don’t get it, if you feel uncomfortable doing the things you really want to do, if you have to think twice before doing anything… then it isn’t you that needs to change. Chances are, the only thing you need to think twice about is who those people are, and why they are having an influence on your life.
Figuring out what’s right for you doesn’t mean you have to wonder why it isn’t right for other people. If spending a few hours in the pouring rain on the driving range is what you feel like works for you, trust it. If spending all afternoon sitting inside with friends watching movies you really should have seen before is what you feel like works for you, trust it. If having a few drinks after missing a cut, or having a bad day, or getting into an argument with someone you care about, is what you feel like works for you, trust it. (Although establishing the limits of a “few” drinks is probably a good idea first…). Trusting yourself, and looking after yourself… that’s what works. And that’s what will bring people you need into your life, and people whose opinion you can care about, people’s whose respect you’ll have. Just by doing you.