Why Not . . . Just Be You?
Wednesday March 2, 2016

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Upon watching the 88th Academy Awards Sunday night, I was enjoying the understated, sophisticated style that graced the red carpet, but when I caught mention of Charlize Theron in a rich red plunging v-neck Dior gown, I didn’t need to see it to know she would own her moment. Upon seeing the red on red pairing, I wasn’t disappointed. Complete with $3.7 million dollars of jewelry and the 48.8 karat diamond Harry Winston pendant necklace that could easily be worn with a gown or something as simple as a white button-down shirt and effortlessly be the only piece of neck jewelry a girl owns to ensure everything looked complete, she was the best-dressed woman. And in saying this, I had yet to see Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts or Priyanka Chopra who all looked stunning. Still, perhaps I am partial to tall, single blondes because, well, don’t we all gravitate toward women who have similar qualities as ourselves or desire in ourselves, no matter how farfetched the comparison may be?

Needless to say, when I heard about Rebecca Traister’s new book which was just released yesterday, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nationit captured my attention, no doubt because of the commonalities as with Charlize (okay, I am exaggerating with Charlize, but let me dream). Interestingly enough Traister married at 35 and has children, but she speaks about the shift in society after five years of research when it comes to women and how they choose to live their lives in the 21st century. In fact, she doesn’t lionize or criticize the single woman but rather points out that because women are choosing their life rather than being guilted or shamed into a singular path, society is progressing in a variety of ways that liberates all women for whichever path they choose to take.

I cannot say much more because my copy has not arrived yet, but I will certainly be reading it and sharing what catches my attention in the coming weeks.here Read or listen to my take-aways after reading Traister’s book .

In returning to the title of today’s post, Why Not . . . Just Be You? So what if you’re single at 40 as Charlize is and have never been married? So what if you’re married and have been since college? So what if you’re [fill in the blank]? “To be happy is to love the life we are leading” as Frédéric Lenoir reminds. Happiness begins in the mind, but so does unhappiness. We choose.

I have heard from a handful of readers recently and over the years since I have been discussing introversion and being highly sensitive expressing their quandary about how to be in a world that doesn’t understand how they find their happiness. And you know what? Sometimes we have to let go of trying to explain to others and just be.

If we let what the world says should make us happy tear away at the happiness we already know how to create, we do ourselves no favors.

A colleague of mine asked me yesterday how I spent my birthday, and I shared without hesitation and with a genuine smile, by myself (albeit with my dogs), doing anything I wanted as the moment presented itself. It truly was a lovely birthday. While I had time with others the day prior, phone calls and emails from loved ones the day of and moments with my colleagues and students the day after, I had a day to myself on my birthday and that, for me, was bliss. I know not every birthday will I want to spend it in this way, but this year I did and I designed it so. Few people understand this, but I’ve let go of trying to explain myself. Those who have known me and love me are just thrilled I am happy. In the past I have planned birthdays and gatherings with friends and family and have very fond memories of these occasions; however, 37 was meant to be just as it was.

So today and moving forward, just be you. Listen to what speaks within you. Really listen.

March has begun and as I sit and type, a single amethyst hydrangea is situated on my small white dining room table. Nothing extravagant, nothing extraordinary, but something that I appreciate immensely. It’s the everydays. How many everydays have you gone to bed grateful, thankful, happy in 2016? It really doesn’t take much does it? Make more of those everydays that may seem ordinary to others, but are extraordinary to you. And guess what the trick is? Only you know how to design them in such a way that will bring the utmost pleasure and contentment for you. Have a wonderful Wednesday and thank you for stopping by.

~WHY NOT . . . ? posts from the Archives:

~Why Not . . . Get a Good Night’s Sleep?

~Why Not . . . Have Poise?

~Why Not . . . Have a Lovely Life?

12 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Just Be You?

  1. Happy birthday and from a fellow introvert, I totally understand our need for solitude and the constant pressure to explain how we get satisfaction from it. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  2. Another point worth considering is WHY it’s so hard for other people to let those of us who don’t follow the herd live our lives on our terms. While having authenticity inspires many to do the same, I’ve come to the conclusion that the push-back is because so many other people are threatened by our strength to be fearlessly authentic. It’s equal parts fear (of their own potential) and envy (of the strength to go against the grain). When someone has something negative to say about what makes me happy, I try to remember that a truly happy person wouldn’t feel threatened by someone else’s happiness, and that helps me to respond with compassion rather than more negativity.

  3. I loved this post and this is so true!! It can be challenging but so worth it! As time goes by I have the feeling we become more serene and confident about our choices and our life. I remember myself as a teenage girl… so much difference right now! 🙂 It is such a relief to allow ourselves to be who we truly are!

  4. I can honestly say I found true contentment when we moved to France. I live in a very old farmhouse, it is gorgeous and fills me with happiness, but it is far from perfect, when the wind is howling the Windows rattle after weeks of non stop rain the roof has been known to leak. My point, I am not trying to impress anyone, I don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s, it’s just all a part of daily life and a wonderfully fulfilling happy daily life.

  5. First off, Happy Belated Birthday, Shannon.

    I share your sentiment and hugely prefer to celebrate with just my family or with a very small handful of close friends. Many of us overvalue the importance of constant gregarious, exciting activities and disdain quiet, simple, ordinary (which truly depends on ones perspective) activities. Both have their share of positive influence on our life and to turn ones nose on one of them is to miss out on all that life has to offer.

    Swimming against the current cultivates my inner strength to resist peer pressure, and courage to express myself authentically and live my principles. Your words and podcasts are comforting to me and reinvigorates my spirit to live freely everyday. Thank you.

  6. A lovely post. I think social media hasn’t helped with the “compare and despair” syndrome that seems to afflict most people . I’ve learnt more and more as I’ve got older to just listen to my heart and do what feels right.

  7. Happy Birthday to you! While I have had lots of great birthday luncheons and dinners to celebrate my latest big birthday, the reason I feel so content is the way I treated myself on my actual birthday. I had a manicure and went shopping, all by myself, and only for a few hours, but that feeling of contentment from marking the occasion for myself will last all year. It feels like a lesson learned. Thanks for being a great inspiration!

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