I am often very thoughtful about the concept of being unapologetically myself - of meeting myself where I am, giving myself what I need, being true Bethwyn around others. And I love that work, I love that feeling because it lights me up and makes me glow.
And I encourage that in other people. I show the value of true self-care and self-love, and I wax lyrical on the values of giving yourself the space to just be.
That hasn't changed. It's still something that I feel, and that I think on.
But lately I have also been considering the value of compromise - not compromising on who you are, but compromising on the way you exhibit that inner you-ness. Because, the thing is, if you are in a relationship - any sort really, including a friendship or the relationship between you and your mum or cousin - you are going to have moments when true you bumps up against true them, and it doesn't feel comfortable.
Hopefully, the other person is all about people being themselves and being kind, too, and so you can feel comforted in that way. And yet, there is still a level of discomfort there, sitting idly, making you feel...troubled.
You start (well, at least I do) to ask questions about your true self and why it's bumping up against this other lovely human - is true me actually not that great? have I been caught in my own world for too long? why is this happening? - until the discomfort grows a bit.
If this happens to me (and it does), I tend to notice some old depression triggers surfacing. I don't know what to do, and so my brain goes back to the old tried-and-true methods of 'coping' - shutting down, getting emotional, shutting OUT. And I have only recently started to question those reactions.
The fact is, I want to show compassion. Not just to myself, but to others. And that means sitting with the discomfort and working with it, working with the other person so they don't feel shut out or neglected, and showing myself that I don't have to go down those old pathways and end up in a confused heap.
I still don't really know how this works or how to do it that well, but I'm working on it every day. And, while I think people definitely benefit from being unapologetically themselves, they may need to compromise (there's that word again) a bit so that they can make space for others to be unapologetically themselves.
Being you doesn't always have to mean shutting down on other things, it can mean joyfully exploring differences with someone you love. Because being me doesn't just involve reading a lot, or being an introvert, it can also mean gently stepping outside my comfort zone with someone I love, doing something they love because true Bethwyn loves to share experiences like that.
True Bethwyn just hopes that this post makes sense beyond the realm of her own brain.
Love to all who read.