Just imagine how many problems we could solve it we all took Emerson’s advice. I certainly see this every day in my classroom, where 13 and 14-year-olds posture and prepare themselves with the ‘right’ answer, or the appropriate reaction. I see this with adults, when they try to say the ‘right’ thing, afraid to speak their minds for fear of retribution.
We see it in the media, when celebrities do what it takes to get noticed, land the next big role or ink an endorsement contract. Have you noticed the difference between men and women who try to be themselves? It seems fine, as long as we fit into the stereotypical gender roles, but when we step out of them….labelling, here we come.
Bullies see this, too – and they pounce on those trying to find themselves, calling out what they see as weakness when if you really think about it, should be seen as strengths. They prey on the ‘unique’ kids who show up their own fears about letting their true selves shine brightly.
Voters notice who is trying to be their true selves, and we wonder if any of the sensationalism that swirls around politicians has any grain of truth at all. We see the bickering, name calling, and sometimes shallow decision making of our country and wonder if there is anyone we can really believe.
So if there is one thing we can do in our day, with our students, our children, or our friends and colleagues, I would wish that we look at each other for who we really are, not who we believe the world thinks we should be.
Just imagine what that kind of day would feel like.
Do you struggle to be yourself? Who does the world think you should be?