Updated: Jun 7
My twin brother and I went to college together. That was after the years of him hating me for over parenting him ad before the years of his announcing to me that he was a “one woman guy” and that our best friend status might change in his next chapter of getting married and growing a family. However, in between those two stages there was this magical college / early 20’s phase where we were best friends, especially in college.
I made him my +1 to all my sorority functions because he was handsome and funny. I had no single girlfriends that minded. I also hated the college dating scene and how gross and inappropriate “boys” were in the dating process. I actually had a date buy me a drink and then promptly ask, “so are we going to stay here and do this pointless talking or go back to my place and f@ck!” Eh hem! Loser!
So very early on, I decided that not having a +1 was too stressful. I also realized that any guy I dated would have to be discovered outside of drunken parties, or what was unfortunately college’s version of speed dating. Ergo, my brother came to all my sorority parties and I to all his frat parties, which rarely appealed has his frat house acted more like animal house. However, throughout our college years and many hang overs, we had an absolute blast! Between his good dance moves, quick wit and friendship, I had best friend, protective brother, comedian and wing man (should I ever find someone I was interested in talking to), all rolled into one. I loved my college years mostly because it was a precious chapter in my life with my twin brother and a closeness I still cherish to this day.
Why the magic then and not sooner, well that’s debatable. However, at the least, I thought who I was with Ryan was who I always was with Ryan. I just thought that he had changed and that was why we were so much closer. (Cue ignorance.) Then there was the first Easter break, we were on the airplane heading back home to spend easter with our parents and many siblings, when Ryan leaned over mid flight,
“Hey Britt, can you make me a promise?”
“Well, when we go back to Peoria, promise me that you will be the Dallas Brittany and not the Peoria Brittany.”
Surprised and confused, “what do you mean?”
“Well, Dallas Brittany laughs easily, is a lot of fun and isn’t so incredibly sensitive.”
I was about to have my feelings hurt and then I realized he might have a point! So I asked him for his advice.
“Well, Britt, when you go home and someone makes fun of you, just join in on the fun. Don’t get all upset by it. The more you do get upset the more you are giving them reason to tease you next time. You’re easy bait. Plus, the more you are defensive the more uptight you get and the less fun you let yourself have.”
Yep, I know. I told you earlier that he was smart. Eh heh! See. Very good advice. And the best part of his advice is that he was right.
It is totally true that the more we care about what other’s think we are detaching from what is true for ourselves. Honoring and growing the truth of who you are gives you the foundation to dive deeper in that truth and to become more clear and more comfortable with all that you have to offer.
Having my brother point out to me that I was living out different versions of myself was a powerful moment for me. I learned a lot in the small conversation and I was now able to be much more present and focused on Dallas Brittany. I brought more joy, more levity and more of myself to my family gatherings from that point on. I didn’t let sibling humor effect me, in fact, I learned to chime in and make fun of myself. How freeing is that!
So, I extend this same challenge to you. Are you different in one environment than another? Do you become less of who you are when certain people are around?
Whether it is anxiety, social pressure or even high expectations that are held for you, notice where and when you are allowing yourself to dim down your light and shine in a softer version of who you are.
The world needs everyone shining at full bore right now. Shine with everything you’ve got! And then shine some more. Look at what situations cause you the “short circuit” your light and start asking yourself some big questions, like:
“Why do I shut down in this environment?”
“What does everyone miss out on as a result of me doing this?”
“What is my commitment to myself that I will do when I notice that I am beginning to shrink?”
Take some time to deeply examine what triggers you to step out of your power.
Remember, we are all 100% responsible for our lives. Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself. And be honest with yourself. It’s in calling out the darker aspects of ourselves that we can begin to shed some light on what is keeping us from the fullness and brilliance that we are.