Personality is tricky.
Normally I’d fall in the camp that says you don’t have to be constrained or restrained by the persona you’ve created for yourself – intentionally or by default.
But a sunny chat with a beloved yoga teacher this weekend has me looking at it differently:
What if your chosen persona actually helps you be who you want to be?
Take us yogis for example.
Since we teach yoga, people assume that we’re:
1) Always happy
2) Completely content
3) Vegan-fueled superheroes
4) Spiritually evolved
These are, of course, ridiculous and unrealistic expectations. But they’re not entirely without merit.
Because they’re what most of us in the yoga world WANT to be.
We want to feel joyful, fulfilled, energized, and connected. We want to be living to our highest ideals for ourselves and what’s possible.
So is a little pressure to live up to it bad?
Sure, we’re human and make mistakes.
But what if aspiring to embody what you stand for brings out the best in who you are?
People see you as calm – so you practice working with your emotions.
People assume you honor your body – so you quit binging on sugar, alcohol, caffeine, or drugs.
People admire your dedication – so you commit to your daily practice.
You might discover your best self when you step into the caricature sketch of who others believe you to be.
But a word of warning – and here’s where it gets tricky:
Being uplifted by your persona is not the same thing as being trapped by it.
When people feel isolated in the expectations placed on them, normal human experiences – like greed, desire, shame, anger, lust, and love – get distorted.
You can start to hide your reality out of fear for the the distance between your pedestal and rock bottom and hurt people in the process.
Remember: the most powerful thing about you is that you get to choose.
You get to choose who you are and how much you do or don’t fulfill the expectations of your role in society.
You get to choose how seriously you take yourself and the brand you’ve created to express yourself.
So feel inspired by it – strive to live up to it – but don’t be ashamed to fall short. In the end, people learn from your struggles, not from your perfection.
Consider today – what do you like about the persona you’ve chosen? How can you embrace it more to feel even better about who you are and want to be?
Whether it’s smiling at strangers or sitting in meditation – take a small step today.
Be free. Be brave. Be YOU!