01 March, 2010

To Thy Self Be True

I have recently found myself in a high school like situation that I am sure may sound familiar to each either directly or indirectly.  And perhaps it is not just a high school situation, but more an adult situation in itself?  Let me explain.

In most major cities there is the A circle of people.  They are high powered, wealthy, and often influential people.  Sometimes they are old families, sometimes they aren’t.  But there are people that strive to be considered A circle members. 

In high school this was the popular clique.  These were the popular kids whose grouping varied from high school to high school, but I am sure that we all knew the group or clique for what it was.  And to be asked to join that clique… that was an honor for some.  Such an honor that being included in that group  became more important than anything else. 

Anything and everything else – to include abandoning old friends if required, behaving cruelly, or potentially engaging in illegal activities.  None of that mattered if you were offered or had to maintain that spot in the clique. 

High school is about fitting in and finding a voice or one’s self.  It is a period of self discovery and identification.  For the high school kid to abandon friends and forego principles to be in that clique… we kind of say that is okay because of the age, the maturity, and the knowledge that it is a process.  That is what high school (and college to some extent) are about – the social maturing as much as the academics. 

For some it doesn’t end at high school or college. 

For some, being accepted in the circle or clique or group remains of the highest priority.  That acceptance is worth the pain or the work required.  What are principles, respect, and honesty after all if it means you are invited to this function or included in that group?  And if you end up demonstrating disrespect to yourself and to those you love… well, it is okay because maintaining status is essential.

Being true to one’s self.  

It is easy to say, perhaps proving that what seems simple is often quite difficult.  

Being true to one’s self means different things to different people I would think.  To me it means finding the space to listen and consider – and it means finding the strength (and sometimes the courage) to live aligned with beliefs and principles and the person we each believe ourselves to be.  To me it is understanding that the best I can give to anyone else is being the best I can be to myself – being true to the person that I am and the truths I hold close to my heart:  love, respect, honesty, integrity, honor, acceptance…It isn’t about the circle in which I travel but the life I live, the model I am, and the person I share with others.  It is trusting that voice inside me and going for it even if it means that I might not be in the A circle or the popular clique.  It means singing and dancing in public not caring who sees.  It means accepting myself and allowing the fabulous person that is me to shine through over allowing others to define and determine who I am based on their expectations.  

And it isn’t easy.

It is sometimes more challenging than one might think as it isn’t easy to stand up and take a stand when it means taking a risk.  Sometimes it is easier to repress the self than to risk someone taking away their love or being rejected.  

And yet, being true to the self is… beyond words.  It is one of the qualities I have hoped to teach my daughter.  It is one of the aspects of my own life that I work to maintain.  It is a way of living that I believe is worth all the risks!

That is me though.  

Different strokes for different folks!  



TAG said...

I believe one of the most important responsibilities we have as parents is to help our children develop the inner resolve that allows them to be who and what they want.

Peer pressure be dammed. Be who you want.

Sadly, too many parents fail their children in this regard.

It is precisely your skill and understanding of this and other basic parenting responsibilities that makes me admire you Exception.


Mark said...

Being true to ones self is one of the ultimate lessons of life. When we reach out to belong at the cost of our own authentic truth we will often feel the pain and the feeling of loss which will in time bring us crashing to a reality as we struggle to reclaim who we are. Great post.

L said...

For such a huge life lesson, I'm often amazed at how many people miss it. I see these people all the time, too. At yoga, or in stores, or even Starbucks. They're there, out amongst everyone, but with a slightly elevated idea of their importance.

I spent a lot of time when I was younger concerned about how I appeared toward others, and what was good enough. It was so liberating when I realized that not only could I let all of that go, but the sort of people you tend to attract into your life when you DO let it all go. It's a lot better on this side, and I'm sad that people miss that.

Good for you for rising above in the better way, the real way, and for leading by example. :)

Mama Llama said...

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

Dr. Seuss always had good advice regarding this issue. And there are lots of gems.

Good for you. I agree with above comments; leading by example is best. It's a constant battle, but I try.

Be well, TE.