If there’s one piece of advice I could give universally: be your damn self.
Don’t hide from it. Don’t cover it up. Don’t fear it. Take the expectations — real or perceived — from others that aren’t what who you truly are and shove them.
The image with this post features my lunch while working in Portland yesterday as well as one pair of socks, among several, I rocked in the last couple days in professional attire. Why?
Two everyday examples of me being my damn self. Lunch was kombucha, juice, and a great chickpea garden hash from one of my favorite vegan restaurants: Harlow in Portland. That probably sounds weird to a lot of people. That’s cool. That lunch represents who I am, re-fueling and re-hydrating after working out earlier that morning before my day of work. That’s how I roll. The socks are a more recent addition to being my damn self. My way of injecting some flair into professional attire in an at times drab industry.
That all on the heels of my lovely bride and I being our damn selves in Portland over the weekend. We worked out. We drank juice and ate acai bowls. We drank coffee. We had great vegan food (at Harlow!). We checked out a new neighborhood. We drank more coffee. We strolled the Portland riverfront downtown and a big open air market. We did yoga. We tried a new vegan restaurant (Lebanese). We even found an amazing, vegan/gluten-free bakery and dessert joint.
And that was just one day.
That was us, being our damn selves. Other people might cringe at the idea of that day. That’s nice.
Someone could question me going gonzo with the socks. That’s nice.
There might be lessons or takeaways you find from this blog, including the personal transformations on display (both mine and my bride’s). Truly being your damn self is probably one of the most consistent themes.
What happens to me when I do that? I’m often at my best professionally. I’m often at my best as a husband. I’m often at my best as a father. I’m often even at my best as a yoga teacher. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I’m not. Far from it sometimes. But, it is a pretty consistent ingredient of when I’m showing up the way I want and should.
I type this while I’m sitting in a vegan Chinese joint in Portland, rocking a different pair of weird socks (and a pony tail), with a forearm tattoo on display and a Wanderlust bracelet on my arm. Yes, I am a health insurance executive too.
Oh, and these are the wedding rings my lovely bride and I have chosen to symbolize our transformed relationship:
Hers is an antique. Mine is an Om symbol, found just this weekend in Portland. That’s us.
It’s odd sometimes to experience how people respond to what we write here. I lived a long time caring more than I should about what other people thought of me. I was afraid, whether I realized it or not, to be my damn self.
If there’s one thing I hope you feel emboldened to do after reading this, it’s just that.
Be your damn self.
Outstanding advice, Eric…but I am having trouble figuring out an important aspect of this: Who the hell am I?? When I am alone (no kids, no husband), I have NO idea what to do with myself. 😞 Let the journey begin…
Oh, excellent question, Bobbi. That’s not easy with a full house of people that require your attention. I definitely struggled with it in the past. Maybe start in those moments of alone time with “what can I do right now that will leave me happier and in a better place to be the mom, wife, etc. I want to be when my time is up?” Try that, and experiment from there. Good luck!