Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Be yourself. Good advice isn't it? But it's not always easy, nor is it as straightforward as it might seem. In daily life we act out different roles: parent, child, sibling, employee, employer, partner... We adjust ourselves to the company we keep. After all, standing out in a crowd is supposed to be good, but mostly we really want just to get along.
If we are surrounded by like-minded people, who share our values, beliefs and goals, it's much easier. They are the glue that holds families and groups together.
Not so easy, if your day-to-day life is living and working with people who are not on the same wavelength. You are forced to choose two options. You conform. You laugh at their jokes, try to look like they do, act like they do, think like they do. Or you rebel. You stand up for yourself, you look different than they do, defend your identity aggressively.
Both options are isolating. If you're acting in your daily life, you draw your energy from illusions and you never really fit in. It's a lie. You're fracturing yourself which causes a whole gamut of unpleasantness: ill health, depression, stress. You're alone in a crowd. You might say what they think, laugh at their jokes, but are still lonely because this fracturing can still be sensed by those around you. They don't believe you and don't entirely trust you because of it.
If you feel like you must constantly defend your identity against people who don't think like you; it's a battle. Conflict is inevitable. You against the world, and boy is the world out to get you. People just don't understand. Teenage rebellion, but in an adult arena.
Here's the thing: life is short. We are like footsteps in the sand: we make brief impressions and then are washed away by the incoming tide. Life is too short to be lying to everyone around you about who you are, or having to defend yourself constantly.
The third way? Sometimes it is better to hold your tongue, to go with the pack. Fighting to be heard is a tiring way to live. Sometimes you do need to stand up for yourself, acknowledge your values, principles and rights.
It's okay to be you. However you really are. By being yourself, acknowledging your uniqueness, it allows other people to see you for who you really are. And if you're insulted by being yourself, for being different - the person who is trying to hurt you is actually just stating the obvious with malicious intent. If you are comfortable in your own skin, the malicious intent slides away and ultimately, shows their true colours. It actually says nothing about you and everything about them.
Accepting yourself: your strengths, weaknesses, foibles, quirks, humour...all of it, means you know who you really are. You know what works and what doesn't in your life. After all, you're living the reality of it. It's not a quick fix. Life has a funny way of throwing up situations, you weren't expecting and shaking your resolve. Plans can fly out the window in the face of challenges.
There are over 7 billion people now living on this planet. It's okay to be you. In fact, by being the most you, you can be, you'll inspire the people around you. I figure we need more authentic, switched on, aware and inspiring people. So speak your truth, live your life the best way you can.
Because Life is short. Get out there and Live it!