Reinventing Yourself: The Challenges and Joys!

If we all take an honest look at ourselves, we can all find areas that we could improve.  It has always been my belief that we are never too young or too old to improve ourselves.  Sometimes that improvement means a major overhaul of either our character, personality values and/or how we view the world.  In these situations, we must reinvent ourselves.  Although reinventing yourself can be very challenging (I speak from personal experience), when it is done it can also be very rewarding.

Do you need to make changes in yourself?

Simple answer: If we are not growing then we are dying!

I don’t know if anyone famous ever said that, but it is something I probably heard somewhere, and it stuck in my mind.  Besides, it is very true.  Life is about evolving if not constant evolution.  If you stop evolving (growing) then you will start dying.

How do you know if it is time to change?

If you are unhappy about anything about yourself, then that is one sign it is time to change.

Sometimes our friends and family either give us subtle clues or flat out tell us something that is a sign it is time to make a change.

For example, if your friends stop hanging out with you when you start drinking, then they may be telling you that you have a drinking problem.  If that is the case, maybe it is time for you to change your drinking habits or at least your behavior when you drink.

Be careful.  Your friends and family are not always the best way of telling if you need to make a change.  My dad’s words often made me feel as if I was an a-hole.  While that was going on in my life, I felt that I may not be perfect, but I was doing ok.  It took me a while to understand this, but if one person thinks you are a a-hole, the problem may be that person, but if ten of your friends think you are an a-hole, then you should look at yourself.

How to get started reinventing yourself

Start by taking a long, hard and honest look at yourself.  List what you like about yourself, then list what you do not like about yourself.  Now don’t dwell on the negatives – that can just bring you down.  Focus on the things you like about yourself and ask yourself “What can I do to enhance this list?”

In my case I grew tired of having hatred in my heart and spewing hatred when I spoke and/or posted on social media when issues came up that set me off.

Find something to keep you inspired (and keep it in front of you).

Back when I lived in my one-bedroom apartment in Modesto, California, I decorated my apartment with humorous signs and inspirational messages.  Every morning when I walked out of my bedroom the first thing I saw was a giant poster with “I am me” by Virginia Satir.  My favorite line from that poster was “I can discard that which I feel is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded”

I read that line every morning when I got out of bed.  When I felt discouraged about anything about me or my life, I would make myself read the entire poster out load until I felt better and who I was – because that poster reminded me that who I am at that moment didn’t mean I would have to be that person for the rest of my life.  I could change.

The challenging part

Theodore Roosevelt once said “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty” and that is certainly true of you are reinventing yourself.

Breaking bad, unwanted or any habit is one of the hardest things we humans attempt to do.  We often fail when we try to break a habit.  Those failures often result in people giving up, but if you want it badly enough and committed to reinventing yourself, you will pick yourself up after each failure, brush yourself off, forgive yourself off your falling, and either start over again or resume your self-improvement project.

For me, I started reinventing myself around 2011.  That was when I started volunteering as a lunch buddy through the Big Brother Big Sister program.  At first I wanted to change for two reasons: 1) I did not want to grow into a bitter old man and 2) I did not want my rants and venting posts where I spewed hatred cost me my job with BBBS.

It was hard at first.  There are so many things I had a comment on.  I will be honest, I fell more often than I succeeded when I started.  But I kept starting over, vowing to improve.  I lost some friends, real life friends, on Facebook before I finally got the knack of not spewing hatred when I vented about a topic or disagreed with a pesto or comment.

Resisting the temptation to return to old, familiar, comfortable behaviors can be very challenging – but if you keep resisting going back to the old you, soon it will be easier to be the new you than being the old you.

The Joyful part

After you complete your transformation of reinventing yourself, you will be a happier person because you are more in love with who you are than you have ever been in your life.

The best part is, if you grow tired of who you have come, you can always re=invent yourself again!