I had a friend once say to me, “I just want to be a consistent person”. The thought really struck me at the time and has stayed with me ever since.
We live in a world that encourages change. Every social circle, institution, and advertising agency has a message for who we ought to be. Strong. Silent. Pretty. Humble. Smart. Funny. Sometimes my life feels like I am thumbing through a Rolodex of pictures. And I react to each one in the way I have been trained.
I put on this mask for this event. Wear that hat for this responsibility. Perform my best for a specific relationship. Let my hair down for others.
Lost in the shuffle is a true sense of who I am. Which of these characters I play is the real me? Is it all of them? Some mash up? Or something else entirely?
The thing I really want, the thing I think we all really want, is to find a sense of our true self and be that person in all circumstances and settings.
Consistency and Apathy
Another wrinkle in the pursuit of consistency is that sometimes change is valuable. Sometimes consistency is apathy. It becomes a real challenge to figure out the difference between consistency and stubborn arrogance. The difference between succumbing to my patterns and stabilizing who I am.
I think the world is really feeling the complications of this. Gender Identity, politics, romance, and a thousand other things. Where is the point where who I am needs to be evaluated and changed? Where is the point where who I am needs to be fought for and reinforced?This struggle is the very heart of what it means to be human. Like any struggle, I think the first step is admitting we have a problem. We don’t really know who we are, or what we value and what we are chasing. We don’t know what belongs to us and what we are borrowing from others.
The process of self-awareness is taxing and troubling.
Consistency and Identity
I wonder if I will ever get into that sweet spot of true consistency, where I am fully and completely in alignment with the best version of myself in all circumstances. Willing to see my faults and change. Willing to stand by my values and face the cost.
But like so many things in life, maybe the key to consistency is to be pursuing it. The difference between consistency and apathy is the presence (or lack) of effort. Try.
When I think of consistency, I think of peace. That is really what I am after. I want to feel at peace with my choices, within my relationships. I want to feel as if I am not betraying who I am for the sake of the person in front of me or the circumstance I’m facing. Yet, at the same time, be adaptable and experience the value of community.
Maybe struggle itself is a part of consistency. To keep asking the questions, weighing the tensions, and counting the costs. And to make my choices, own them and face their consequences boldly. After all, until I find consistency within the internal recesses of myself, I will never find it in the external arenas.