Give Yourself Some Perspective This Christmas

Give Yourself Some Perspective This Christmas

I started crying at dinner Friday night with my husband. I guess it was more noticeable than I thought, because when he got up to go to the bathroom, a lady came over from across the bar to ask if I was ok.

“Hey beautiful, everything okay?” She asked tilting her chin toward the men’s room to indirectly inquire if it were man trouble. (Girl code power move).

I wasn’t three plus pinot noirs deep (tears are par for the course with me at that point) nor had anything bad happened. We weren’t fighting, we had simply gotten into a conversation about Pittsburgh and thereby been reading the Wikipedia entry for… Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.

And this did me in big time:

“You always make each day a special day. You know how: By just your being yourself. There’s only one person in the whole world that’s like you, and that’s you. And people can like you exactly the way you are.”

And I am bawling at Ben’s Chili Bowl.

We have all had people — teachers, coaches, ex (or current) boyfriends and girlfriends, frenemies, strangers, bosses, family members, even ourselves try to diminish us. And succeed. For a long time. Maybe forever.

We adopt limiting beliefs about ourselves which we then allow to control our daily actions, thoughts, and ultimately — destinies.

We become more familiar with what we CAN’T than with what we CAN.

Like a mouse in a maze, we mentally roll down the doors to the ways out to victory before we even reach the threshold.

We don’t think we are worthy or capable of the creative scheming and dreaming that could get us through the maze and into the open. Or, we are not aware of the tools WE ALREADY HAVE to engineer our escape and find freedom.

I have always said I find the world like a Reddit AMA. As Mr. Rogers Neighborhood taught us, we EACH have something special to offer that is unlike ANYONE else in the world. Seriously. You can learn something from EVERYONE and YOU can teach something to ANYONE.

So why live a life that isn’t custom-crafted for your own values, passions, and talents?

Sometimes it is because these values, passions, and talents take uncovering. We are taught to fit molds instead of fitting life to us.

I began my personal branding practice because I saw so many capable, amazing people settling and as a result-suffering. And not because of a lack ability. No way, no how. It was a lack of clarity and understanding, and above all, creating and holding space and time for the process of knowing thyself.

There is not a subject you can master or study that will pay off better than mastering and studying yourself. Nothing else will unlock doors more quickly and up-level your performance more profoundly.

And I mean in a real sense. Pretty much anyone who applies to a graduate program or a job is “smart,” “organized” and a “team player.” You are beyond generalities. You are a beautiful pastiche of accomplishments, experiences, triumphs, suffering, beliefs, quirks, relationships, and memories.

I think I cried so much over this quote and into my half-smoke because it shoved the hard, painful truth in my face that there is somewhere in our lives and in time where we go from being celebrated for exactly who we are and championing individualism (I’m seeing the ever-affirming Miss Lippy and Kenny the kindergarten teacher from Half Baked) to meeting standards, requirements, and profiles… set by others in order to achieve some level of evasive happiness (a job, entry to graduate school, a date with a stranger online).

But exactly who you are should have never stopped being enough…or being more than enough…or being perfect.

Make some time in 2016 to sit with yourself and get reacquainted with your values, talents, desires, formative experiences, passions, and goals for the future. What has changed? Why? What is the same? Why? “Real life” does tend to infringe on our wildest dreams, but what could you maybe tweak next year to bring you even just a little closer to living your full true story?

I hope you try it.

Because you know… “it’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive!”

Image via Shutterstock

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Caroline Gould is a personal branding expert and career consultant based in Washington, D.C. Her signature program is called Self Discovery School. She also writes a weekly advice column on Post Grad Problems. Submit your question or find out more on

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