Who do you want to be? I'm not asking who you are or what kind of life you want to have, but who do you want to be? One of my favorite literary characters of all time is Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. Gregory Peck played the role in the movie, and he captured the character as the quintessential father and a man of compassion, honor and integrity. I wanted to know him, and I wanted to be like him.
Role models are a good way of beginning to define who we want to be. It may not be Atticus for you, but you know the people whose demeanor, behavior, attitudes and values are inspiring and motivating for you. Sometimes we look at those people and think, “I wish I could be like that.” They have their act together, but I'm too emotional, angry, sad, insecure — whatever your story happens to be. We feel stuck in our feelings and heartaches and life events. We want to indulge our anger and feel self-righteous about our pain.We feel incapable of becoming the who we want to be. Life throws too much at us. We must react.
In relationships we seem to step farthest away from the who we want to be. We defend our turf or our story. We lash out because we've been wounded or misunderstood, and we want to equalize the pain. But is that really the highest vision we have for ourselves?
Living that vision of being our highest self, the who we want to be, is not impossible to achieve. In fact, it is profoundly simple. First, you must take the time to decide who you want to be. You need to sit down with paper and pen and write down the qualities of this person, this new you. I want to be a person who is honest. I want to be a person who doesn't yell at my children. I want to be a person who follows through on commitments. I want to be a person who solves conflicts without condemning or belittling.
Then you must cloak yourself in that robe. You must wear the robe until it becomes your own skin. Until you become your own role model, an inspiration for others, the who you dreamed of being. If you must pretend at first, then do it. Act as if. In your next encounter with your misbehaving children, act as if you are the calm mother next door. The next conflict you have with your spouse, act as if you are capable of giving unconditional love and support — and then give it. In spite of their reactions, comments, misunderstandings. Be a creator, not a reactor. Don't give away your vision just to defend your ego. It's never worth it.
We struggle and struggle to make everyone else become the who we want them to be. But there is only one who whom we can control. Ourselves. Find out who you want to be. Then go be it. Before you know it, that who will be you.