I have been told many times to “be you” by people. I am sure you have as well. What happens when you don’t know who you are?
As a child, I often liked things. The color grey. Donald Duck. Pigs. Nasa. Butter (don’t judge!)
I often was told that grey was not a color, Donald Duck was annoying, Pigs were gross, Nasa was for boys, and butter would make me fat. Everything I liked, I was told I couldn’t like. Not by my parents, they were so supportive of my choices. I was told by society, my teachers, friends, adults.Well meaning adults who thought they were giving me advice, but were dictating what I could like. Even as a child, the opinions of others mattered to me.
As an adult it has taken me a long time to realize who I truly am. I still like grey, but I also like purple. I still have a soft spot for Donald, but I also love Princess Aurora. Pigs are cute, but my dog is a better pet. I sobbed openly at the Kennedy Space center last summer as I looked at what was left of the Challenger (which, consequently, that traumatic day was my 6th Birthday). I am to this day a sauce, butter, flavor lover – to heck with the waistline when real food brings your heart joy!
When we let others dictate who we are, we give them a power they don’t deserve. Allowing someone else to dictate my favorites for so many years meant that when I grew up and became a teacher, I had to choose a favorite color, a favorite book, a favorite genre of music because adults just know their favorites, right? Wrong! Y Your opinions, tastes, habits, and friends can change based on who you’re becoming.
I often find that I am worried about what others think. Why do we do this to ourselves? I am not advocating that we go and hurt others feelings to protect our own. I am advocating that we have beliefs, and we hold firm to them. If you like Grey – Like grey! If you want butter on your bread – have the butter. If you in your heart need to move, sing, dance or jump to be happy – do it!
Go be you, and do not let others dictate who you are!