When Allie and I started creating content for little red’s well, we noticed something. It’s all been done before. Nothing is original. In fact, some of the magazines and blogs I follow on Twitter, literally post the same thing in different ways all day long: how to be happy, wealthy, and thin. Usually it’s in a list of 5-20 bullet points.
At first, my inner judgey voice thought: what a waste of space. Create something new. Create something worthy of attention. But the truth is, it’s not the content that’s worthy of attention - it’s the voice.Every voice is a remix. Every vision is a second draft. Every new perspective gives us the opportunity to look at the same old crap by standing in a different spot on the map.
So many times, people say, I can’t do that because it’s been done before. Well here’s the real truth: everything in life has been done before. People have always been friends, and wives, and writers, and politicians, and doctors, and social workers, and teachers. But no one has remixed those missions like you. No one has ever brought your personal intricacies to that work.
So how do you remix your life:
1. Identify your bad habits and try the opposite. Here’s an example: Are you perpetually self-deprecating to make others feel comfortable around you? Well the idea that you want others to be comfortable is very kind of you, but using self-deprecation can be hurtful without you knowing it. By putting yourself down for something, you open up the fact that you are judgmental about that in anyone else and could be creating the barrier between you and others that you were trying to dismantle.
If that’s your habit, take the attention off of yourself and put your energy into directly making that person feel comfortable. Or better yet, practice being kind to yourself. Identify what the goal is with your bad habit and find a more direct route to that goal. (Hint: the more direct route usually involves, kindness, gentleness, and compassion.)
2. Give yourself permission to be all the things you are. No matter what part of your life you are currently traveling through, my guess is that you are fulfilling all kinds of roles. Your twenties can be especially infuriating as you stack up your resume with seemingly unrelated little nuggets of experience because truthfully, you just need to make rent. All those nuggets start to meld with your identity and you begin wondering, What is imposter me and what is real me? For a long time, I thought that I had to shed all the outer layers of my daily experience to become one really specific thing or people would be confused. But that’s just not life. Life isn’t compartmentalized and categorized for simple understanding. It’s a variety of experiences REMIXING THE SHIT OUT OF YOU. And the more we struggle against it, the deeper resentment and discomfort we will feel.
If you are a painter, who also really wants to be a mom, who also has a knack for accounting and would love to do people’s taxes for an extra buck, you are allowed to be all of those things. In fact, if you don’t come fully into who you are, we are missing out on seeing life through your unique-perspective-combo-platter of color, compassion, and brass tacks. So stop stifling, and start embracing the fact that you will never be just one simple characteristic.
3. Open yourself up and allow people in. I was recently in a conversation with someone when I said, “Marriage is hard work, right?!”
His response was, “Really? I think it’s very easy.”
Immediately I felt my Italian rage boil up and start seething, Why couldn’t he just be cordial and say yes I know what you mean?! Why couldn’t he be kinder with my obvious vulnerability?! What does he know that I don’t know?! Is my marriage falling apart just because I think it’s hard?! Am I just the worst wife in the history of wifedom?!
When I told my friends about this, everyone’s reaction was pretty much the same: I was totally justified in being hurt and offended. But if I take a deeper look at this seeming injustice to civility and turn the attention off of my embarrassment and onto curiosity, I get something completely remixed: a character study. I can learn more about people from their words than from my reactions.
In fact, even in the face of getting my feelings hurt, I can become more invested in their motivations than in my justification of being pissed. I could have thought: I wonder what it feels like to say exactly what you think? I wonder why some people go right for being vulnerable and others go right for being confident? I wonder what it feels like to have no filter? To be completely candid, no matter what? What characters are like that…? Who else do I know like that who I admire and respect?
It relieves the center of my brain that just sees red and yells expletives.
I can open myself up to a new perspective that maybe enlightens a character I’m playing, or a book I’m writing, or a way to deal with a difficult co-worker. I can open myself without being hurt because instead I’m curious - and curiosity gives me a whole bunch of material to remix.
At the end of the day, I will continually read how to be happy, wealthy, and thin because each remix offers something original, or at least awakens a part of my own perspective that had been hiding under some stale old ideas bumping around in my head. So whatever your passion, intention, or perspective - get it out there, we need it. You have never been done before. (Just don’t forget to put it in a bullet point list.)
What are some ways you try to remix your life? How do you shake up your daily routine to get a different perspective?