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It's Okay to be Yourself

One of the most beautiful things about our world is our diversity. One of the most interesting things about getting to know another person is learning about and discovering their unique traits and qualities. Why would we ever want to deprive someone else of that joy?! If we were all the same in every way life would be a boring experience of watching other people acting like robots going through the exact same day as us in the exact same way.

We're each made with unique talents, skills, abilities, interests, personality quirks, physical attributes, emotional tendencies, intellectual strengths, passions, and fears. We don't even have to try or put forth any real effort towards being the person we were designed to be. It takes a lot more effort and a lot more work to be someone or something that you're not.

If you're naturally an outgoing and social person it takes effort to keep to yourself. If you're not athletically gifted it takes a greater effort  to play sports well. If you're a naturally sensitive person it can take a great deal of effort to keep your feelings in and not be impacted by an emotionally significant event. Yet all too many of us will instead of simply being who we are will try to force ourselves to be someone that we're not, just so as to fit in with those around us or to meet the expectations of others.

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A picture of a row of light bulbs. All the bulbs are out except for one.
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Perhaps you're being bullied, have been bullied in the past, or are afraid of being bullied in the future. Maybe you just started a new job and want to fit in. Maybe you're self-conscious about some aspect of yourself and would rather blend in with the crowd than to risk standing out. Or maybe you just moved to a new town and are trying to hide your accent so  that you won't stand out as not being a local.

Whatever the reason may be, it takes effort to be someone other than yourself. It causes stress because you're suppressing your real self and because you're trying to do something or be something that's unnatural to you. It also deprives yourself and others of the joy that comes from allowing your true self to shine. You are a gifted and talented person, whether  you realize it or not. Don't hide in the shade. Let your true light shine bright as the sun.

If others are pulling you down and trying to make you into someone that you're not, it's very likely that they're doing so because they haven't found their own calling. Those that pressure us to be something other than who we are naturally are typically doing so because they themselves don't want to stand out as different.

Let's  use an example. John is a high school senior. He's not very intellectually gifted or athletically skilled. He is however taller than the other kids in schol and uses that to his advantage. He uses his height to intimidate others and make them feel literally and  figuratively below him. Even though John is not athletically gifted he plays basketball for the school team and is perceived to be one of the  better players in the school because of his height advantage.

Tyrone  is shorter than John and two years younger. Tyrone is not very good at  sports either, but wants to be accepted by John and his classmates. Tyrone plays basketball, not because he enjoys it and not because he's  very good at it. He plays basketball to fit in and get on John's good side. Truthfully, Tyrone would be much happier learning and studying but he's afraid that if he asks too many questions in class that he'll draw attention to himself and stand out.

A situation like this is hardly uncommon whether in a school setting or elsewhere. Tyrone is under stress trying to supress his natural curiosity and love of learning. He's also putting additional pressure on himself by trying to fit in on the basketball team. John is also under  stress trying to hide his academic difficulties and trying not to mask his lack of athletic ability.

Life would be so much easier for both of these boys if they would simply be themselves. Tyrone could give up sports and spend his time exploring his academic curiosity and quite possibly make a signficant contribution to the world one day that if he suppresses his natural talents may otherwise go unrealized. Likewise John may never find his true gift or  passions because he's putting all of his efforts into not drawing attention to the things he's not good at. If he spend his time exploring different things John may very well find that he had an amazing gift for electronics or as a pilot; things he'll never discover on the  basketball court.

So please don't deprive the world or put yourself under that kind of pressure. You have gifts and talents like nobody else. If you already know what they are then you're among the fortunate. If you don't know what they are, they're still there, you just have to find them. Be patient and allow yourself some time and flexibility to explore different things. In time your passions will come through, your interests will find you, and your abilities and talents will shine bright.

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