There is a common saying that goes don’t trade your authenticity for approval. It speaks such truth and is a wise reminder to remember that we are born into this world to be as we are. We live in a world that often wants to conform and fit in, which leaves space for no originality and causes people to feel the need to behave a certain way. As someone who was left out a lot growing up, I can really relate to the concept of being and embodying yourself with no shame. The truth is there were a lot of people who talked a certain way because other people spoke that way. There are people who wear certain clothing because they want to fit in with a crowd and then there are people who aspire to be someone else. For myself, I would rather be with a few friends that accept me solely for who I am, rather than acting as another person.
I have mentioned this in a few posts, but one of the best advice I received growing up was from my father, who always said to be yourself. If I were ever to face a problem or feel doubtful in myself, he would remind me to stay true to myself. Don’t worry so much about what others think. When I reflect on many moments of being left out, most of the time it was through choice (call it the introvert inside of me) of preferring to spend time in my own mind. Other times it was simply because I didn’t feel the desire to be energetic or talk about certain things. As someone who is more of a wallflower, I like to observe or have a fruitful (for want of a better word) conversation with someone about insightful, witty, meaningful or reflective things. I always feel energy by things that make me think about life in another way.
Growing up, I personally did not enjoy high school, which Savannah Brown explains so wonderfully well. On one hand I felt that they looked past the arts and the creative side, but put a lot of focus on sports and grades. On the other hand, there was a sense that the arts is often looked down on, compared to being a doctor, computer engineer or accountant. There were many things that occured, which caused me to feel there was something wrong with me, when questions such as: “Why are you so quiet?”, “Are you feeling okay?” or “Why aren’t you talking?”. As an introvert, I just didn’t feel the need to speak or engage in drama or certain situations. There was this inclination to assume that when one is quiet, that there is something wrong. It immediately makes one feel like an outsider. I spent a lot of years in high school feeling like there was something wrong with me…and that was absolutely not true.
It makes me embrace even more so who I am today. Being an INFJ, HSP and a creative soul, I appreciate the parts of myself that doesn’t like to have to fit in. I wear what I feel like, say what I feel the need to and speak the way I do. I am quite a deep thinker, and I don’t like making much effort to make friends. If I feel the click with someone, then I like things to naturally happen, if it’s meant to be. I’m quite silly and that’s a layer that people don’t usually expect when they just meet me. As an introvert, I tend to peel back the layers more and more when I get to know someone on a personal level. Most people never see who I am fully, but that doesn’t go to say that I am not being fully myself. It just means I’m not ready to show all the sides of myself.
In one of the wise words in a Ted talk by Caroline McHugh: “I mean people that have been successful at achieving whatever they set out to do. You’ll find that the thing they have in common is they have nothing in common.” she goes on to say “These are individuals who have managed to figure out the unique gift that the universe gave them when they incarnated, and then put that at the service of their goals. ” This is a wonderful talk that I highly suggest watching. We were all told, be yourself at some point. Whether it was before a job interview, meeting a new person or a presentation we are preparing. Whatever it may be, we were told this because the best person we can be is the person we were born as. Every person has the potential to do great things, without the concern of what others beside them are doing.
The way you appear is quite possibly the smallest and insignificant part of yourself. Not to say this in a sense to neglect it – because dear reader, you are beautiful. However, it’s to emphasise how much your mind is the most beautiful of all. Everyone has their own quirks. Do you ever notice how when you make a new friend, and the more you get to know them, the more you may start to see their funny side or the side that is compassionate and caring? Being yourself means that you know you are not perfect, and you don’t mind that. Being yourself doesn’t have to mean an outgoing, confident and self assured person that the media often sculpts. It means embracing your quiet, embracing your beauty and embracing the parts of yourself that make you you.
It’s not about fitting into what is seen as right and it isn’t about conforming to societies expectations. At the time, I expected myself to go to University because it is just what one does if they want to be successful – at the time this was what I thought. The truth is University isn’t the only way to success, it simply encourages it. Being yourself is knowing that you are you in all of your strange habits, personal style choices and the way you think about certain things. You have nothing to prove to other people. It is far better to be yourself and meet people who draw towards you, then draw the wrong people who will meet someone who is just fleeting by as a copy.
Being yourself is the ultimate way to embrace the world of judgment and order, with a touch of your own special magic.
art: naked women via | masks by Marcel Dzama