hard to be always the same person

 

i am mine before anyone else

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“It’s hard to be always the same person.”

 

Dorothea Tanning

 

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the epigraph for ‘A Table of Content’ Dorothea Tanning’s first book of poems

A friend, W. S. Merwin, said of Tanning: “She goes out of the room, comes back, and she’s someone else.”

 

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personality created mineConsistency of character.

 

Consistency in actions & behavior.

 

Consistency in thinking & opinions.

 

Consistency of … well … self.

 

 

Well.

 

These are things that are much much harder than one would think.

 

In fact … I believe that while change is hard … staying the same is even harder.

Whew.

When I first wrote that last sentence I had to sit back and make sure I got it right.

 

I have written about change so much it seemed strange to me to suggest that staying the same may be even more difficult.

 

And, you know what? I think I am right.

 

Change is most often something with a specific destination in mind. Leaving something behind and gaining something, or going somewhere, ahead and something better.

 

It’s difficult but at least you are aiming for something which you assume is better.

 

Staying the same is actually a battle against the natural & unnatural elements.

It’s kind of like the shore refusing to change or erode despite the constant attacks from the ebb & flow of an ocean intent on stealing something from the shore. There is no destination … you are defending your home.

 

You are actually defending your ‘best you’ in a world in which is constantly whispering “is that your best?overcome the labels people self be

 

 

Anyway.

 

I knew what I wanted to write today on this topic but I googled “hard to be always the same person” just to see if I could dig up any research or some factoid to throw in so this wouldn’t just be an opinion piece.

 

There are no articles on this topic.

 

Zero. Nada. None.

 

And, yes, that surprised me.

 

There were gazillions of articles on “changing to improve” and “how to manage change” and … well … let’s just say that change is a pretty popular topic online.

 

Now.

 

As for staying the same … philosophy has addressed something similar to this topic in something they discuss as personal Identity.

The interesting thing to me that I dug out of that was something called “psychological continuity.”

 

Without boring you with details it basically suggests that we psychologically evolve experience by experience through overlapping chains of direct psychological connections, as those causal and cognitive connections between beliefs, desires, intentions, experiential memories, character traits, and so forth.

 

And while this suggests we evolve … what about remaining true to our self?

 

How do we do that with all these ‘overlapping chains of direct psychological connections’ constantly bombarding our true self?

 

Why is there no advice on how hard it is to maintain our identity?

 

Everyone, experts included, must believe that once you have landed on some person who you actually want to be & like … that it must be easy to maintain.

 

Well.

 

That is nuts.

 

Let me explain why it is nuts <and why it is so hard to always be the same person day in and day out>.

 

Practically speaking the difficulty actually resides with … well … us. You & me.

 

Every day we act, albeit mostly unconsciously, to recreate the day before and the person we were before.

With the same habits, routine, and daily rituals … always attempting to replicate the ‘same’ which makes up the same person we kind of liked the day before … day in the real world survive in minebut, uh oh, all those little pieces actually all adds up to something new … sometimes a small new and sometimes a big new.

 

No matter how hard we try our days are different.

 

Try this thought on for size.

 

This means in a world striving for repetition all we actually achieve is change.

 

<insert a “yikes’ here>

 

Reality is messy, complex and a fairly fragile web of repetition and change.

Therefore if reality is messy that means always being the same person is a big mess day in and day out.

 

If we are not careful a little of us gets chipped away simply by attempting to handle all the everyday messiness.

 

Look.

 

I am not suggesting that daily we don’t learn a little something new and that every day we slightly evolve, change, as a person. Most of us do. But as we change based on experience and the context of our lives change … well … that is where it gets hard to always be the same person.  All that experiential change starts easing its way inside you trying to pry away little bits of who you are.

 

Experience can be very demanding of us.

 

Anyway.

 

Our attempt to maintain some sameness as a person is not only about character but you probably realize that consistency is important for making progress, doing better work, being efficient and ultimately achieving some level of success in most areas of life.

 

The power of consistency is that repetition is actually more important than perfection. And that ‘sameness’ while often associated with ruts & boredom actually represent small gains which inevitably add up to bigger results.

 

The challenge, of course, is balance. You cannot be “all consistent” just as you once is enoughcannot be “all change.”

 

I could argue that the success of balance resides in whether you can always be the same person. Because, if you can, it provides a solid fulcrum as Life naturally see saws between consistent repetition and change.

 

I tend to believe this solid foundation permits you to go forth into Life everyday trying to always be the same person and meet each new challenge represented by each situation, moment or experience which seem intent on forcing change to ‘being the same person.’

 

I imagine I am partially talking about “being true to thineself.” I once discussed this challenge as the “just this once” justification. Because the world & Life is so messy it is fairly easy to make an excuse for not always staying the same person you want to be. But that just makes it easy to step onto that slippery slope which can slide you much farther, and faster, away from who you are than you can imagine.

Life make it far too easy to leave a room and come back a different person.

 

I also sometimes think this is why so many of us hate, or just get grumpy, with Life. It is easy to hate something that makes it easy for you to lose sight of the ‘same person’ you liked when you began.

 

But you know what?

 

Always being the same person is hard but doable. Ultimately it is about choices. Choices on what you will and will not do and choices of who you want to be as a person. And I actually believe once you find your space & place in Life as a person you actually come to love the world a little more.

 

For, well, as Tanner says …

 

 

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He told us, with the years, you will come

To love the world.

And we sat there with our souls in our laps,

And comforted them.

 

Dorothea Tanning

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We all change.

That is what experiences do. We simply become a little wiser with regard to the realities of Life. And in our wisdom we tend to watch & participate in experiences without changing.self discovery loss soul

 

We don’t permit those experiences to change the character and soul we each have inside us and permits us to sit there and comfort our souls … and be comforted, in turn, by them.

 

All that said.

 

Sigh.

 

“It’s hard to be always the same person.”

 

 

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Written by Bruce