From time to time I find myself “trying” to be some way I think I am supposed to be. Whether it is as a father, a friend, a son, a husband, a speaker, a citizen, or any other “title” I have for myself in life, I have struggled at times in my life and still do figuring out the best way to be. As I talk with and work with people, I see and hear this same phenomenon. Many of us are walking around in life being who we think we should be, instead of just being who we really are.
On our refrigerator we have a magnet that says, “Friendship is knowing everything about someone and liking them anyway.” What a great quote.
I think we are afraid of our darkness or worried that if we were truly ourselves, people would not like us. Ironically, most of us resonate with people who are more themselves than anything else. Authenticity is attractive and it is also visceral…you can feel it. In addition, being ourselves, while it may be scary for many of us, is ultimately a lot easier. We don’t have to spend so much time pretending to be someone we aren’t.
Each of us has many gifts, talents, and contributions to make to others and to the world. However, when we put all of our energy and attention on fitting in, being liked, and not messing up, we take away a lot of our natural power, creativity, and joy.
I was in Jamba Juice this weekend with my daughter Samantha. There were two beautiful young women in line in front of us. They were both very well dressed, with lots of make-up on, and they looked very nice. However, as I looked at them both I had an intuitive hit that they were very scared and unhappy. I could relate and had a lot of empathy. I then thought to myself, “how ironic that these two young women put all of that energy into making the outside look so nice when it seems that what is on the inside needs some of that love and attention.”
When we appreciate and celebrate who we are, we aren’t trying to impress others – only ourselves. As Oscar Wilde brilliantly said, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”