Life choices

Who to be?

We are so accustomed to disguising ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.   ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

The new school year has begun on our side of the world.   As usual, the kids were nervous to go back to school.  Who were going to be their teachers and which kids came back after the summer break?  (Within an International school community you never know).  As always a strange week because it is back to school for me as well.  Together with the other mums, back to the coffee mornings, drop offs/ pick ups and other activities.  Though I’m meeting up with dear friends, too.  This part is great!

Don’t get me wrong, I love to connect with every one on our posting and we have a lot of fun.  The part I struggle with is, who am I in all these different groups.  Who to be and most of all who not to be?  I read somewhere that, ‘You’re neither who you think you are nor what some one else thinks you are.  You are what you think some one else is thinking you are’.  It is so true.  How can I be myself, with so many expectations around me?

With the first week conquered, I was wondering who sets out all these expectations.  Not me, was my first thought.  No one would do these kinds of things to themselves.  After taking a little more time with the question, I think it is me setting the expectations out there, because no person ever came up to me and listed their expectations.  Can you imagine someone saying this ‘Listen up you!  It is really important that from now on, you always smile and be nice to every one you see and meet?  Next, it is very important to say yes to every activity and request you get.’  It would be quite strange to have a conversation like this in real life.  Even imagining this makes me laugh, because I would never agree to any of this.

So why am I this tough on myself?  This is how I make myself feel sometimes.  There is no need for me to go to everything that is being organized or offer to help with every activity.  But then the feelings of a good excuse comes to mind.  The feeling that, just saying no because I don’t feel like going or helping.  But this is just not good enough.  But why not?  Isn’t this being human?  To not always want to go to all the activities?  Sometimes it is really nice to be at home.  To be honest to myself.  Isn’t this what we tell our friends when they are struggling with the same questions?

So, this school year I’m going to change my approach towards the playground and to which activities I will be joining.  This is going to be a huge challenge.  There will be up and downs, but the outcome will be great.  I will learn to express myself differently.  I will be at all these places yet really be where I want to be.  Enjoying my friends and the new people I meet, ask for help when needed, and will try to  accept the help offered as well.  It is very important to see that there is not really a big deal going on, just me making a big deal out of it.

I feel very energized to start this new school year.  Let the exceptions begin.

All copyrights Renee Vos de Wael


  • Tilly

    Thank you Renee – I struggle with that as well, but learning to detach myself and say No to activities or requests, effectively means, I am able to say YES to me. I am learning to stop making assumptions, in respect of what people think and to take responsibility for my actions. Doing what I want to do, and not what everyone expects me to do??? Light and love,

  • Anastasia Lappo

    Renee, it is YOU who sets the expectations and acts accordingly. It is in your consciousness and as you might have noticed personal development is an ongoing work… Bits of our personality we can’t see or constrol are our shadows. If you meet a person who says they can’t say no, it’s a sign they have a vow about being perfect, constantly pleasing people, being hard on themselves. Because they keep affirming to the universe they are not good enough yet. I have done loads of personal develpment work on myself, and it was almost like my consciousness was upside down! The most important thing to realise is really that you are the most important and precious person in your life! Because your whole life revolves around you, in fact, you created it! The more you love yourself, the more you can give love and energy into other activities 🙂

  • theothercloud

    I’ve thought of this concept before; how I somehow manage to be a different person in different places. At home, I’m a lazy carefree goofy and bubbly person. At work I’m a detail oriented, get-the-freakin-job-done-or-get-out-of-my-face kind of person. Sometimes it’s my own expectations that turn me into different people. Kind of like in middle school when I liked a boy, suddenly I liked all the same music as he did and had all the same hobbies…until I stopped liking him. But sometimes I feel like it is the expectations outside of myself that turn me into a different person. At home the expectation of my boyfriend is for me to be happy, and thus I try to be happy and carefree so I can create a happy environment for him. At work there’s work to be done! And I have to be superwoman and get it all done! I think what’s important, and what I’m just recently starting to realize, is that WHO I TRULY am, is not how I behave in various situations. It’s an innate awareness. Something I can sense, but not describe. It’s not a title, a descriptive phrase. It’s a feeling. A confidence. A deep awareness of my own consciousness. I have to hold onto the constant in all situations or get lost.

  • Cynthia Ann Tanner-Schumaker

    Thanks Renee, I have been finding this out myself where I was struggling to do it all, I just got to where I could not do everything I had expected myself to do. I am taking the time right now to learn something about who or what I am. Thank you for helping me accomplish a little more of this.

  • lauren

    i struggle with this as well. This was written SO well. So many people can relate. I think sometimes i have to be what people expect or think me to be. I am overly concerned with what other’s think of me it’s consuming my thoughts. Everyone can be tough on themselves, i think we are tougher on ourselves more than anybody else is.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Roar

    Thanks Renee for you honest sharing. here are some things you can think about…

    How much energy and time did you use for loving your neighbors and yourself?

    How much energy and time did you use for your work (your current job or calling)?

    How much energy and time did you use for learning something?

    What makes you feel happy? What do you think the reason is?

    What do you truly wish to achieve in this life?

    Is that work truly worthwhile?

    Think about it…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.