You’ve heard the saying before “be yourself, everyone else is taken.” This saying is absolutely true, but we still struggle with being OK with who we are and being willing to show our real self to the world, especially when we’re faced with pressure from our family or job. When we stick out or seem different from those around us history tells us that there’s a good chance we’re going to be made fun of or won’t be accepted. Unfortunately this is still true in too many circles. After all, it seems easier to just copy what everyone else is doing rather than going our own way. But when everyone else is doing the same thing you are life seems pretty boring. And the truth is that I can’t be you any more than you can really be me.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have mentors, heroes or role models in your life. One of the best ways to learn and grow is to see what other people is doing. But what we sometimes forget when we get involved with mentors and the like is that we’re not looking at what they’re doing to imitate them but to learn how to present our best version or styling of what we love about them. I can’t be Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa or Maya Angelou, but there are tons of lessons I can learn from them and apply to my life to become a better, more caring, more cognizant person.
When we talk about celebrities and famous people and the kids they’ve had, the kids are often given a different standard or expectation than the rest of us. The famous singer’s kids are expected to be amazing singers, politician’s kids are expected to have political aspirations, writers’ kids are expected to write. We expect that just because one member of the family is skilled in one are the other people, especially their kids, are expected to follow in their footsteps. Sometimes this is good because it gives the kids a direction in life, but unfortunately it usually crushes their natural dreams and inclinations.
The good news is that there are more people than ever willing to stand up and say unapologetically “This is who I am.” It may not yet be cool to be different, but it’s more accepted. So go ahead, dream a little! Who are you when the world isn’t looking and how can you bring that person to the world?
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland