In previous blog posts I’ve professed my love of Harry Potter. More often than not, when I put a book down with a satisfied sigh and desire for the story to continue, it was labeled for children or young adults.
But as an English major, embracing my love of children’s literature felt taboo. I “should” read novels that improve my mind, challenge my humanity, and inspire deep book-club conversations.
While I certainly can analyze prose and burrow around for deeper meaning, I really don’t enjoy it. That’s not what inspired my love of reading as a child. What I loved then—and now—was the flight of imagination, the struggle between good and evil, with good always prevailing, and a foundation in a Universal truth, such as there is nothing more powerful than love.
It took me a long time to embrace this preference as a part of Who I am and to let go of those books that lay neglected on my coffee table either unopened or partially read because they were what I “should” be reading. It took me even longer to stop pretending that I was reading those books and instead share my enthusiasm for the children’s book I was currently in love with.
While embracing my preference for something as inconsequential as reading material may not seem like a big deal, determining what you enjoy and accepting that instead of struggling with what you think you “should” like based on other’s expectations is an important step in being the best possible version of you.
My not acknowledging this part of me led to long bouts where I didn’t read anything at all because I felt so guilty about not liking what I “should” be reading. It inspired a failed try to join a book club that resulted in spoiled friendships. It generated a lot of self-doubt and –criticism, and the fear of other’s judgments kept me from connecting with people who actually do share my passion.
In short, it contributed to my overall feeling of unhappiness and created a lot of negative, catabolic energy that released stress chemicals and other harmful physical processes. It inhibited my ability to achieve optimal wellness and a vibrant life.
Part of being the best possible version of you is letting go of Who you think you should be and embracing Who you really are.
There is a fine line, however, between determining and doing the things that you love, and drawing a boundary around yourself and automatically rejecting new things and experiences. This shuts off personal growth and can also keep you from pursing the ever-changing mark of the best possible version of you.
The perfect balance in the Quest to be You is letting go of what you don’t like, embracing what you do, and looking for new things, people, and experiences that align with you.
Where are you holding on to something that you really don’t enjoy? What is something that for whatever reason you haven’t allowed yourself to enjoy before? How do you feel when you embrace that, and do more of that? What else would be fun to explore?
Together we can do it!
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