On Rosh Hashanah, we all think about the kind of people we have been and promise to change for the better. I personally always found this concept quite difficult - How can I just change? It’s so hard to change a character trait… It’s my personality, how can I change that…??
When I started thinking about the whole concept of personality, I found it fascinating. Ask anyone what their personality is and they will give you a full description: I am shy; I am outgoing; I am confident; I like going out; I’m more of an introvert. The list goes on. As humans, we seem to define ourselves by what we like doing and our usual behaviours.
Take an extrovert and stick him in a house for a week, with the instruction that he can go out for a maximum of two hours at a time and had to be home most of the time, he will find himself miserable. That was me.
I always saw myself as outgoing, a socialiser and someone who enjoyed being busy. I therefore made sure that my schedule was filled with seeing friends, working or anything else that involved leaving the house. I just wasn’t that girl who enjoyed staying home…. And then I had my baby. I found myself getting frustrated without realising why. I loved my baby but I felt confined. I’m just the kind of person who needs to leave the house to enjoy my day. Between nap times and feeding times, staying home for most of the day was my only option.
But if you take an extrovert and follow him around for a week you will see something fascinating. He will have moments of enjoying a social event but also moments of wanting to go home; moments of wanting to talk but also moments of enjoying his peace. The ‘outgoing’ moments might be more common and last longer. But they are not ‘who he or she is’.
And so, one day it hit me, I realised I had unintentionally put myself in a box. An extrovert box. Whilst living from the inside of this box, my life had to be filled with constant adventure and stimulation for me to be content. I then got curious about it and considered whether it was possible for me to be happy even if it was just me and my baby at home all day without any adult company? Did I have it within me to enjoy things an introvert enjoys just like I enjoy things an extrovert enjoys? And so I tried it out. I sat down with my baby, forgot about the fact that “I was an extrovert” and simply took pleasure in spending time with my little girl. The day was over and I’d had a great day!
I then felt free, free from my “personality” that had dictated to me the way I had to react to situations; free from my box that I had imprisoned myself in for so many years. And then I felt excited to live in the moment without my personality attached to me.
I now see the idea of change and striving to be a better person this year differently. Our true nature is that of love, goodness and peace. There is no such thing as someone who’s personality is being obnoxious and irritable. It is simply that people innocently see themselves a certain way and believe that is who they are.
This Rosh Hashanah, set yourself free from your self-imposed “personalities” and you will find that change occurs effortlessly.