I recently had a conversation with a woman we’ll call Barb, who told the story of her son having a sleep over at his friend’s house. When Barb picked up her son the following morning, the friends mother carried on about what a pure joy Barb’s son was to have around. She was baffled, saying he is normally surly and miserable and rarely even talks at home.
It got me thinking about how we wear different hats all though our lives, taking one off and donning another to fit whatever environment we find ourselves in. Often, we have one hat for family, one for work, one for our friends, etc. As the years go by, some of us fail to realize it’s okay to pick one hat and stick to it. After all, there comes a point where we know who we are. Once we have that figured out it’s our job to honor ourselves by being true to ourselves.
My first job in high school was at a fast food restaurant. The owner of the burger joint was a family friend and he has never once passed on the opportunity to remind me, in the most condescending way, that he once signed my paychecks; as though it was something to lord over me. After all, if it weren’t for him, I would never have been employe-ed for those life-changing two months forty years ago. One day I finally said, “Yes, but as you can see, I’m not sixteen anymore and you no longer sign them.” I think he’s finally got the message it’s time to let the dead dog lie.
Somewhere along the way we need to let go of those worn out beliefs about ourselves and about others. We need to consider how comfortable life would be if we put the past in the past. Once a hot head, always a hot head? Once a bad husband or wife, always a bad husband or wife? I think not. We can and do change. We can become the ideal employee, the best of the best friends, a good listener, a comfort to others, a person who can be relied on.
Sometimes the only thing holding us back is ourselves; we just keep switching hats when we no longer need to. When we make decisive changes and stand firmly in them, it shows and it becomes recognizable to those around us. It’s never too late to evolve and it’s never too late to embrace the evolution in others regardless of who they were many years ago.