Yeah, I’m a nutjob. I tell people over and over that they will never meet anyone else like. Ever. I honestly think that I go out of my way to achieve this goal. Although I’m not doing these things because I’m lonely and need attention, there is a specific purpose in mind. I want to be happy. Yeah, that’s such a foreign concept.
Selfie taken on June 27, 2015 at Canyon Lake
For example, let’s look at the way I dress. On Sundays when I go to church, pretty much all the guys / boys wear white dress shirts to Sunday services.
Then… there’s… um… me.
Photo taken on January 26, 2014 by my friend Hollie Beatty
Many times I have preached my love for Brené Brown. Her TED Talks on Vulnerability and Shame have profoundly changed my life. After going through some major trials a few years ago, I allowed myself to be someone that wasn’t me. My intentions were for me to be wholehearted, but I wasn’t truly letting myself come out. I had reduced myself to being a fraction of who I could be. In recent times, I mixed a whole bunch of things together. I began with some philosophies about social dynamics I once learned years ago. Then I mixed in the teachings from Brené Brown. Wrapping things up, I have been adding a lot of my own recent leanings from my constant observations of life of what works and what doesn’t.
I don’t go out of my way to impress you, the guy down the street, or anyone else for that matter. I do everything because it makes me happy. If in the process I put a smile on the faces of a crapload of people, then I’m even happier. However, I don’t put any effort in impressing anyone; that’s called supplication. I learned the hard way to no longer chase people. The right people will go out of their way to be in your life. Don’t get me wrong. If you screw up and hurt someone’s feelings, you better humble yourself, apologize, and ask that person for forgiveness. However, if someone just doesn’t like you, well that’s okay. Move on. As soon as you can close yesterday’s door the sooner you can open tomorrow’s door.
When I drive around I got the windows down, the music cranked, and I’m jamming out to the songs that make me happy. I sing along to my favorite songs. I jam on the steering wheel to the drum parts (man I miss playing my drums). I bounce around to the music as if I were dancing. I have no shame. I don’t worry if the person next to me thinks I’m a weirdo. My best friend growing up, Mike Schoewe, taught me many invaluable lessons. I’ll never forget one memory in particular. I don’t remember where we were or what we were doing. He was being loud and obnoxious (or otherwise super-goofy). I remember saying something like, “Mike, people are going to think you are crazy.” I will never forget his response. He said, “F*** them! We’ll never see them again!” How true that is! I mean, don’t ever go out of your way to be rude or an annoyance to others
Stop for a moment and just think about that. Every single time you hold back and don’t do something that would make you happy, you are surrendering a little piece of your soul. In that moment you are giving your power to someone else. In that moment you would rather please someone else (and avoid judgement) instead of making yourself happy. It may sound completely irrational, but I promise you that this is entirely true. Why do we do this? What stops us from being happy? Why are we afraid of letting people see our screw-ups and other things that make us less cool than the guy down the street? Why are we so worried about what someone else thinks about us?
Acceptance. Let’s revisit my favorite researcher:
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” ―Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
We all crave connection. Without it we feel void. We don’t feel human. Life is not meant to be lived alone. Because of the way others may perceive our being different, it is just so easy to sit on the sidelines and be “safe.” Seriously, though. How exciting was your day when you last played it safe? It’s so easy, convenient, and almost romantic to just sit by and watch others live out their dreams, which should really be your dreams. We do it all the time. We sit at home watching reality television or SportsCenter. We cheer on our favorite celebrities and athletes. We search the world over looking for our heroes. Foolishly look past our heroes in reality – our parents, our bosses, our best friends, and our spouses. This song by my favorite band, Metallica, is about this exact subject:
Again, sticking out like a sore thumb, I can proudly say that my heroes are those who surround me. My sisters, my best friends, my missionaries, and sometimes strangers that I meet only once can be those who most influence me. Each person teaches me a little something more. Each person teaches me what not to do. Each person, however, also introduces me to a little special secret every now and then. I compile all those little gems, in conjunction with the things that already make me awesome, and put it all into making me the best Jimmy possible.
While others are sitting on the sidelines, watching what I do, finding fault in my actions, using anything they can get their hands on to paint me a weirdo, fraud, jerk, insensitive, or whatever their favor of the day might be, I am out making myself happy. After all of this reading you may be convinced that I am a very self-centered jerk. On the other hand, there is a perfect reason for it all. The happier I am, the stronger I am. The stronger I am, the better I can help others.
I have been told hundreds of times that I touch the lives of others every day. I know I serve as an example to others. I give them hope. I show them that it can be done. I help others smile. I show them that they can overcome their trials. I show them that they too can be happy. I show them that they can use all their trials to bless the lives of others. Had I not stuck out like a sore thumb, none of this would be possible. Thank you for reading.