The Myth of Consistency
Living in a new city has given me some amazing insights. It's incredible how actualized and confident I became in one environment, and how nervous and unsure I can be in another. The time frame seems to have little to do with it. It's much more about the landscape being familiar, from literally the landscape of the city and getting around, to the number of unfamiliar faces around me.
This post is less about growing confidence, and more about forgiving yourself. There is this path toward confidence and it happens whether you are trying or not, but there are conscious things you can do to either fight its growth or help it out. A way I've been practicing that essentially puts turbo boosters on your confidence rocket is forgiving yourself. But it's not easy to do, and it involves realizing you might not be who you think you are...or who you think you want to become.
I remember when I was a kid, I was still me for sure. My thoughts, the voice in my head, my general process of understanding the world around me and myself were very much the same as they are now. The "me" that only I know hasn't changed. But my opinions and behaviors and abilities and desires have changed. The way they changed was in directions I wouldn't have guessed as a kid.
Our culture romanticizes long-term commitment for various reasons. For one, a long-term commitment is usually admired because it takes hard work to maintain (and we are a culture that highly values hard work) and if it takes hard work to do, it must be very *grown*. We value growth. All life values growth. So something that has lasted a long time must be very *mature* - very *grown*. And we value that because growth means knowledge; wisdom. A lack of growth feels like loss. And loss feels like death. And that seems undesirable. I mean, I think death will be quite a grand adventure, but that's not the point I'm trying to make. Quite inherent to our nature as living things, we like growth and in order to grow we have been taught that it happens by building. By having a starting place, and then adding to it. Bigger. Stronger. Taller. Like an actual building made of steel or bricks. It's easy to think about personal growth this way. You take who you have always been and add to it, right?
I remember feeling especially as a kid like what I had shown to the world and to the people who knew me *was me* and that acting inconsistent with what people knew of me was wrong. Like, unethical and immoral kind of wrong. I was afraid to change and act in a different way that seemed like a higher truth to what I wanted and who I wanted to be. Then I just fucking got over it. And I confused some people, especially my mother. She is still confused, actually. It would be amusing if she had created space for me to change. But that's not how I grew up.
My confidence grew once I decided to not care about consistency. It's similar to giving a shit about what people think of you. "Hey, that's not the Meghan I know" Ok. "Hey you said you like tomatoes" Ok. I don't anymore. "Well how am I supposed to trust anything you say!" Hmmm, when it comes to myself, I guess you can't, and why do you care so much?
Change is different from lying. Sometimes it feels like lying to someone who has known you for a long time. Which is why it could help your relationships to be compassionate and aware of how you are changing. But you don't owe anyone an explanation for why you are changing things related to yourself.
But organic things do not grow like buildings do. We evolve. If we are afraid of inconsistency, we are simply afraid.