This is today’s sketch of the day – number 141, to be exact. 😉 There’s a lot that I’m trying to cram into this drawing. I was trying to give a visual to some things that I have been thinking about lately.
Swimming upstream can’t be done indefinitely. When you are trying to be someone else to make others happy or to live up to impossible standards that you’ve put on yourself, joy and fulfillment will be hard to find.
Saying yes to who you really are makes it easier to say no to things that aren’t in line with your true identity.
For myself this has meant taking time to figure who I really am. I’m not talking about activities that I want to experience or things that I enjoy. Likes and dislikes will change as time goes by, but there are things are a part of the core of your identity that will always be a part of you. It’s important to take a step back from what people have told you that you should do or how you should act and figure out what is important to you.
In my life, three things have always been important to me: beauty, truth and love. I can trace most of the decisions that have brought me joy and fulfillment back to one or more of those things.
I enjoy photography because it allows me to find beauty in the world and capture it with my camera. I enjoy teaching art because it gives me opportunities to share truths that I’ve learned and show people how to find beauty in themselves and the world around them.
Once you’ve identified the core aspects of who you are, you need to say yes to them. Give yourself permission to be a person who is passionate about finding solutions to problems or someone who finds joy in caring for others. Whatever your values are, commit to reflecting them in the decisions you make.
One of my favorite jobs in college was working at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed the job so much was because it lined up with my values. Every day brought new opportunities to meet awesome kids and be kind to them. I also got to witness pure creativity on a daily basis! Kids don’t have the same filters that adults have – they just have an idea and draw it. I still have some of the drawings that kids left behind and whenever I look at them I am reminded of the truth that we are all born with creativity in us.
When you say yes to who you are you can say no to things that aren’t you. That’s where the peace comes from. When you have fully committed to embracing your identity and living in line with the things you value, you are saying yes to loving yourself as you are. When love is present, fear has a hard time sticking around. When you aren’t fearing how people will react to your actions/thoughts/feelings, your heart can find peace.
That crown in the drawing was put there almost as an afterthought, but I think it’s actually an important part of what I’ve been trying to put words to. I think that all too often we put value on what we can do instead of who we are. Saying yes to your identity means acknowledging your inherent worth. Those things that have always been there and make you a brilliant, funny, kind person are the things that are valuable. I think the crown is to the side because she hasn’t put it on yet – she hasn’t fully figured out her worth but she’s getting there.
I can’t say that I have this all figured out. I definitely know that I am not at the place where the opinions of others don’t matter to me. But I can say that I am trying to stick with the compass of truth, beauty and love. And I know that whenever I say yes to my true identity, I am slowly but surely finding peace.