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“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” – John Mason.
That’s what John Mason says, and of course he is right.
I mean, do you know anybody, any parent, any friend, any colleague, who would advise you otherwise? Of course you don’t! Of course you have to be yourself, how could you be anybody else?
But hang on there! It’s not that easy. There are pressures on you, me and everyone to not be ourselves…
* How about “getting on” in life?
* How about keeping your head down and out of the firing line at work?
* Or how about joining in with all the other kids at school – even though you hate what they do – just so you don’t lose any ‘popularity’?
Yep, being yourself is not easy! It has consequences that are far reaching and even a little uncomfortable at times.
So John Mason’s right, but we need a bit of help here, if we are to succeed in being who we truly are.
“The challenge is to be yourself in a world that’s trying to get you to be like everyone else.”
Hmm, I’m not sure who said this – think it’s anonymous – but I have it framed in a picture in my bedroom.
Y’know, I love these words! But they do sound a bit defensive, don’t you think? As if everyone is out there trying to change us. And that isn’t true. No, the real challenge is to understand that people are frightened of being themselves, and thus are frightened of others when they try to be themselves. It reminds them of their fear, y’see. And nobody likes being reminded of their fears. And we always, always (instinctively!) “shoot the messenger”, don’t we!
So our friends and family like it if we like the same things as they do. And if we think the same thoughts as they do, too. Life is just ‘easier’ that way, isn’t it?
Another truth about life – and you’re not gonna like this, I’m sure – is that, deep down, we all pretty much believe that life would be so much easier if people were just a bit more ‘reasonable’, a bit more like us!
So, being yourself – it’s obviously the thing to aim for, but it’s certainly not easy.
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.” — Andre Gide
Hmm, yes I do think Andre is onto something here.
So what are the rewards for truly being yourself?
Well, simply put, it’s like walking in the direction you’re facing.
It’s like riding a bike downhill with your feet off the pedals (“wheeeh!”), rather than having to pedal uphill.
It’s like, well it’s like going with the flow, really…
“Learn to… be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.” — Henri Frederic Amiel
Hmm, if that isn’t a definition of flow then I don’t know what is. And in case you’re not familiar with the word ‘flow’, it also means ‘dance’ and ‘laugh’, and it definitely means ‘life’.
For life is all about flow. Flow up. Flow down. But keep moving, keep flowing.
Learn to be who you are. And accept who you are not. And love both.
Okay, we’re nearly done on this light-hearted journey of discovering the importance of being yourself. So let me finish my article with my all all-time favourite inspirational quote. It’s a quotation from Galileo Galilei, and Galileo said this:
“You can’t teach anybody anything, only make them realize the answers are already inside them.”
I really do believe what Galileo is saying here.
He’s saying that we have all the power we need, we just need to recognise that fact. He’s saying that our life is for our taking. He’s saying that we need to trust ourselves more.
And I think if we do this, if I do this, then our lives (my life) WILL be the original it was always intended to be.
Yes, we will fill our lives with mistakes that many others won’t make.
And, yes, we can learn from others – we can always learn from others.
But, as Galileo advises, we really must teach ourselves.
And then, armed with this true self-belief, we truly will be able to free ourselves and dance with life.
That’s what I say, anyway.
Thanks for reading.
Enjoy being yourself.
Enjoy the dance…
And if you like these inspirational quotes (and my explanations of what they can mean to us all) then you’ll love my Weekly Wonder newsletter. Subscribe here, and get a free inspirational quotes ebook – http://www.selfhelpcollective.com/newsletter.html