Being Yourself

Sorry I haven’t written anything in a while. I’ve been busy with a new job (yay!) as well as miscellaneous other things and really haven’t thought much about blogging, but I’m back now and will try to churn out more stuff on a somewhat regular basis.

I’ve been thinking a lot about judgments, opinions, and thoughts we have about others we don’t know, or even do know. We’re often told not to make judgments about people based on what little knowledge we have about them. However, I believe that such an act is human and essentially un-avoidable. There are a few of us who can genuinely look past the exterior and see nothing but a fellow human being, and that’s great. But for the most part, we do make some snap judgments about people based on first impressions. This might be important when applying for a job or going on a date, etc. But in the long run, the only person’s opinions that should have any impact on your life are your own.

However, and this is important – this is not to say that you should never give a thought to what ANYONE thinks of you. You should probably dress sensibly, have good basic hygiene, and give others the impression that you at least care about yourself. The catch is though, that there’s a fine line between caring for yourself and caring what others think of you. If you take the effort to insure that you are comfortable with yourself, that is enough. You can make other smaller steps as well, such as a new haircut or style, or wearing khakis instead of jeans. Giving off the impression of professionalism will give others the sense that you are confident and mature — two personality traits, which are indeed important in today’s world.

It’s when you start caring about what EVERYONE thinks of you that you have a problem. When you expend great thought and effort in pursuit of becoming what others WANT you to be, you eventually lose track of who you were in the first place. Everyone has a different opinion, and if you try to live up to every single opinion or expectation of everyone you encounter, you will never be successful. It’s even worse in this modern day of celebrities and fashion, coupled with pictures in magazines, which aren’t even real. No one can look as perfect as the people in those pictures because not even those people in the pictures are that perfect. Airbrushing, digital editing, and PhotoShopping are at their height, and there are many people who take great pains to make themselves as physically “perfect” as they can. Not only does it cost them a fortune, but it takes a serious physical and mental toll as well. When a person tries to make themself perfect and don’t succeed, they can lapse into depression, begin to depend on substances, and if it gets serious enough — kill themselves, all in pursuit of a fantasy.

Speaking from my own experiences, I have been incredibly fortunate to have never given much thought to what others think of me. The way I see it, there are far better and far more important things on which I can expend my energy. And was I bullied, and made fun of when I was younger because I refused to conform to the “standard”? Absolutely. But you have to realize bullies do what they do because they themselves are insecure, so they have to inflict that insecurity on others to make themselves feel powerful. When you give in to the pressure, it tells others that they have power over you, and many will not hesitate to exploit it. This is why it’s so crucially important to stay firm in the face of adversity and remain true to yourself, even when who are is objected to. And one of the best ways to avoid that is to find a group of friends who accept you for who you are, and will never question, pressure, or otherwise inflict doubt on you because they’re as happy with who you are as you should be.

My basic message is this: part of living your life is feeling socially accepted. While I have stressed that it’s better not to expend much thought on how others view you, you won’t have to if you can find even a few close friends to share your life with you. And true friends will always accept you for who you are, not for who you try to be. Spending all your time trying to be someone else is a futile practice. Not only are you lying to others, you’re lying to yourself. Even more important — is to avoid trying to become as flawless as the pictures of celebrities and other famous people we see every day online and in pop-culture magazines. Many of them are digitally edited to the point where they’re not even realistic anymore. So trying to achieve that “standard” is not only obscenely expensive, it’s potentially dangerous.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

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