I’m not exactly sure how old I was when that photo was taken. I suspect somewhere around the 10-11 year old mark, but it may have been younger. It’s one of the few photos of myself when I was a kid that I can look at with enjoyment – mainly because it’s one of the few photos of me smiling when I was young.
I don’t think I was a particularly dour kid – I just think by and large I ended up looking way too serious in photos. Which, when you stop to think about it, isn’t my fault at all … I was young, and it was up to the person taking the photo to try to get me to smile, regardless of whether it was a school photographer or a relative.
An important part of growing up is learning to say, it’s not you, it’s me. Regardless of whether that’s admitting it’s time to change, or move, or even as simple as admitting fault, as an adult, you have to be responsible for your actions. That’s not even in the negative of course – it’s about learning to be honest with yourself and others.
Too many people skip the it’s not you, it’s me phase. If you skip that, it means you’ve not learnt to self-analyse, which is a pretty dangerous thing.
The big challenge, I think, is taking the knowledge you get from saying it’s not you, it’s me, and grow that into the wisdom that allows you to say, it’s not me, it’s you.
When you’re able to say “It’s not you, it’s me”, it means you can honestly say: it’s not me, it’s you. You can honestly look at a situation – a friendship, a relationship, a job, and honestly say:
I’ve tried everything I can here. The failure isn’t with me. The failure is with you.
If you can’t say that, you’re likely letting yourself be convinced the fault is with you. That you’re being negative, or you have unrealistic expectations, or this is as good as it gets.
Becoming an adult is about admitting fault … wisdom subsequently follows from learning when to hand it back. Which is, of course, a very liberating thing to do.