I’ve lived a good part of my life feeling like I was, well…..boring. Like there wasn’t much to me. Not a lot below the surface.
Nothing to see here folks! ….I’m really not that interesting once you get to know me! Might as well do yourself a favor and be on your way now.
Ugh. That feeling sucks big time. Want to know what feels even worse?
Knowing deep down that I actually believed and accepted that. And also knowing that I had given up on trying to get to know my true self because I had already decided that I was a certain way and that was that.
I was a certain amount of interesting.
I was a certain amount of intelligent.
I was a certain amount of adventurous, driven, creative, outgoing, and so on.
I thought these traits were fixed and I could never be anything different.
End of story.
It wasn’t until I learned about the growth vs fixed mindset that I started to think about myself differently and this changed my whole view on life.
But let me backtrack a bit here…There was a time in my life when I did try to “find myself”.
When I was teenager, I remember when I told my then boyfriend that I could not hang out that day because I was going to the park to write poetry….wtf? I envisioned myself sitting under the trees, taking in nature and my surroundings and writing some meaningful, beautiful poetry full of feeling that would just flow out of me. Instead, I recall sitting there and trying to write something, but in reality, feeling like some kind of imposter.
Around this same time, I used to frequent open mic nights at coffeehouses. Partly because I thought hanging out in coffeehouses made me seem interesting and I desperately wanted to be interesting, but more because when I’d watch people perform original songs or poetry they’d written, I felt inspired.
These people inspired me because they were speaking and singing from their souls, from a place of knowing themselves and not being afraid to share that with the world!
I wanted to be that way too! I wanted to be able to present myself to the world in a way that felt authentic and to feel like I truly knew who I was and embraced it.
But that was my issue…I didn’t know who I was.
I was fumbling along trying to see which version of what I saw in others felt right for me and none of them truly did. Nothing really lit me up.
So I gave up on trying to figure myself out and decided that I must not really have a passion for anything or spark inside and so I should accept that I would just be.
I stopped trying to grow and learn about myself right at the time of my life when I should have been focusing on that. I stopped exploring and began to let life happen to me.
Now understand that to the outside world, I appeared to be orchestrating my life and doing everything right. If you had met me along the way, you probably would have found me impressive.
I was always a straight A student in school and had graduated college Magna Cum Laude. I went on to have an accomplished career in the fashion industry in NYC, earning promotions and making great money. I had traveled the world with my then boyfriend (now husband) and lived a life rich with culture and experiences.
Everything looked great on the surface, but inside, I knew that I wasn’t connecting with my soul. For the most part, I had been accepting what life had thrown in my path and done little to create my own path because at some point, too early on, I gave up on the idea that there was more to me than what was at the surface.
This had left me feeling unfulfilled.
Throughout my adult life, I have always felt this sense that something is missing. I have always felt unsettled, like I am not living a life as full as it could be and this has caused me to feel something else.
Shame that I am not enough. Shame that I am boring. Shame that I have not found my passion in life.
Shame that I was not trying, not growing, not even striving to create the life that I wanted.
Shame that I was not listening to that little voice inside telling me that I could be more than just being here.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic happened and we all hit the pause button.
I realized I was likely at exactly the half point of my life. Although I had been blessed in many ways with a beautiful family, some amazing experiences, a lot of love, not much pain and suffering, and lived a life that others may have envied, I realized that still, I did not want to live the second half of my life in the same way.
I was done with just being and letting life happen. I was done with just going through the motions.
Something had shifted inside of me. I started to see life in a new way. It is through the lens of the growth mindset.
The growth mindset has taught me that nothing is fixed. My personality, my strengths, my interests, all of my basic qualities can be molded and cultivated through my own efforts and experiences.
Every time I had tried something on for size and it hadn’t fit, it had felt like a failure to me and that’s why I had given up. What I did not realize back then was that all of these “failures” were actually opportunities for me to learn about myself and grow and develop into the person I ultimately would become.
At the end of the day, this is what I truly desire. To learn about myself in order to realize my full potential and embrace this constant evolving process of personal development so that I can be the person I’ve always wanted to be.
A person who truly knows and embraces who she is. That is my journey.
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former NYC fashion industry executive turned writer and life coach. Through her writings on littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice, heartfelt insights, and actionable resources to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life. Carly also helps women create better balance in their lives and live with more joy, purpose, and connection every day through her coaching.