A 2016 article (yes, that long ago) title “Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice” made its way to my browser’s favourites bar and continues to draw me back for another read every few months.
When reflecting on why I am drawn back to the article, I think it’s because the main theme is about having the guts to step away from the crowd and do your own thing. As the author Adam Grant says “We are in the Age of Authenticity, where “be yourself” is the defining advice in life, love and career.”
Walking to the ‘beat of your own drum’ or ‘taking the path less travelled’ are noble and brave sentiments oft strewn through the pages of empowering, self-help books that dare you to be different and be your authentic self. Or as the wonderful Brene Brown tells us – ‘authenticity is to let your true self be seen’.
And then…. there’s reality.
I have to be honest – as comfortable as I am with sleeping separately from my husband, there are many, many paths available to me in my privileged life that I am too afraid to walk down. These are paths my ‘authentic self’ screams at me every day to JUST DO – or die reflecting on an unfulfilled life. (These voices are rather persistent.)
Here’s one path my ‘authentic self’ dreams of walking down.
I would dearly love to turn up to work tomorrow, and resign because I have sold my house, liquidated every mortal possession I have, to head overseas on a one-way ticket to an unplanned adventure.
(This is one of scenes I imagine I would encounter on my adventures)
I could bore you senseless about all the fabulous challenges I would take on while I roamed unknown lands, ingesting cultures and being challenged by…. who knows what?? But I won’t – because I’m unlikely to walk into work tomorrow and resign. In fact, I’ll probably be there for a few years yet, responsibly doing my job, paying my mortgage, and getting on with my middle-class life.
My point is – for some people even deciding to sleep separately from their partner (let alone doing actually doing it) is probably the same as my grand global adventure.
I get that.
Everyone’s most daring manoeuvre is different. And scary. And sometimes just not doable. We’re humans – and we’re not all Mulala Yousafzai (if only!).
Which brings me to World Sleep Day, Friday 16 March. Is this global event possibly a good time to stake stock of where YOU are with sleep.
My Facebook page has many links to stories about how to get good sleep, how to make good choices about sleep, and about sleeping separately – which I, of course, consider to be one of the options in the ‘how to get a good night’s sleep’ ideas list.
While I can’t tell you how to be your AUTHENTIC self, or how to make a REALLY BRAVE choice and walk down that hallway to the spare room, or how to have that REALLY TRICKY conversation with your partner about how your sleep needs can only be met through a bed of your own…… I can tell you that if you are sleep deprived because of a disruptive partner – you need to be braver than me and my dream of heading off on the adventure of a life time, and find a way to GET GOOD SLEEP.
You deserve it.
Your health deserves it.
Your partner deserves the best YOU, you can be when you’ve had the right amount of restorative sleep every night.
Happy World Sleep Day everyone.
Celebrate in 2018 by sleeping separately and getting that fabulously wonderful night’s sleep you’ve been dreaming of for soooooooooooo long.
Go on….. I dare you.