In this modern day age of advertisements, YouTube and social media it is really easy to be bombarded into believing we should be like everyone else. In a slow measure of emancipation, I have begun to be mindful of not trying to emulate others. Rather, to be myself.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good how to and lifestyle suggestive blog post or video. Something that makes me enjoy the moment the creator is in. Or perhaps the culmination of what they have created. But these days, rather than try to copy, I prefer to extract elements that suit me, my life or my home.
I’ll give you an example. First, I will set up the scene. We live in a very long term project restoration home. Think run down 1970s shabby chic(not) interior meets old stone crumbling barn. Yeah, not very easy to picture, I know, which means we can truly make it all our own as there is nothing to compare.
And. I am a closet mindful minimalist. Not in the not having any furniture to sit on method, but rather that each item has a purpose, preferably two, and probably a story to tell if it could. (At least I know it’s whispered tale each time I look at or use it.) Clutter makes me lose sight of the memories, so I am mindful not to add things into my life for the sake of it.
So with this in mind, it probably would come as no surprise that I adore looking at tiny home videos. It’s not that I wish to move from our long linear home into something that fits in one of its rooms, far from it. I love big open rooms, lots of space and lots of feeling of space. But I am inspired by the creativity that people go to to fit out and make purposeful these little spaces. And because they are little they have to consider every item they put in it. (There’s that mindful thing again.)
There are a lot of incredibly inventive people out there, adapting spaces to their desires and needs. And that is the point. Although I love watching these, their space is not my space. To be myself this means not copying what they have done, but learning from it, taking elements and ideas and maybe incorporating or adapting further into what works around me.
This journey to be myself has been a long time coming. Life has always been lived to the fullest and at full speed, but awareness of influences around me has been slow. Possibly moving to France and not fully understanding the language has clarified the strength and regular attempts at influence that are all around us in our every day lives. (No thanks to those Facebook I did it so could you do it shares.) Not being able to understand everything means what I can understand is more understood. Make sense?
I’ll give you another example, and what prompted me to write this vignette. When we started our shop I read many blogs and watched many videos on everything from set up to advertising, from promoting to understanding stats. And then tried to copy them in hopes of gaining a modicum of their supposed success.
I spent a lot of time reading, learning and emulating. A lot of time. Too much time. Way too much time. Time that could have been spent, well, actually on my shop. But rather like Pinterest fails (and some of these are truly funny) their successes were not necessarily my successes. So with the move to our new home and a new life, I decided to stop or at least attempt to stop letting other people influence me. It has been rather liberating.
Similar to the tiny house videos, I have learned to pick and choose information that works for me in all areas of my life. But mostly, and more importantly, I have given the time I gave to trying to emulate others’ success to my own projects. And finally, finally, I can see my actions bearing fruit as a result ~ and gaining momentum.
Some of these successes are small and only of consequence to myself, like pruning our rose bush or building our birdbath. But others have impacted more strongly, as in my scarf shop which, since I have really focused on, has grown by leaps and bounds.
I guess what I am rambling on about is that to be myself I had to actually look to myself, and not to others. And with that focus has come tranquillity, strength of purpose and a quiet fortitude.
So give yourself some time.
(But don’t let me influence you. Instead, I’ll just pass on the thought.)