A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Being Ourselves

Posted on: September 4, 2014

cell phone case

I like the message on this GRÜV cell phone case (seen at Amazon.ca)…

To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

~ e.e. cummings, quoted in The Book of Positive Quotations, 2nd Edition

While reading Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection early this morning, I came across a variation on the quote above. I thought to myself, “It’s hard enough to be myself as an adult; it’s got to be even harder for the kids starting school this week.”

The little boy or girl starting kindergarten, the child who’s new from another school in town or another city or another country, the teen starting high school or university: they all feel the pressure to fit in.

But they have to choose: do they pretend to be something they’re not just to belong, or do they share their true selves—the ones God designed?

They might prefer skirts over yoga pants or khakis over jeans, classical music over hip hop, reading over video games. They might enjoy being involved with their youth group and spending time with family rather than hanging at the mall. Their ideas of what’s fun and cool might be different from the mainstream.

And they should celebrate that, instead of trying to conform to the way their peers—or the media—tell them they should look, sound, behave or think.

I  believe in marching to your own drummer. When I was in high school, I followed some of the trends, but I also wore dresses and high heels when the mood struck. I ran track one year but I was also on the academic quiz team, wrote poetry and cross-stitched. At university, I was more interested in having access to a great library and learning about everything from sociology to psychology than I was in partying.

And I was blessed to have some good friends who had their own quirks—including one who laughed till she cried and another who made funky clothes out of any material she had—as well as teachers who encouraged me and parents who supported me.

As the children and youth in our lives finish their first week of classes, I pray that we would encourage them to be themselves—to pursue their God-given interests and goals and to be the people he created them to be.


2 Responses to "Being Ourselves"

St. Paul said it best this morning reading from 1 cor. 4:1-5 this is the part which leapt out at me.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted
the one who judges me is the Lord.

The part of this reading that I sometimes have difficulty with is the sentence “I do not even pass judgement on myself.” As a child of God sometimes this is a bitter pill to swallow. I guess this is where humility comes in. Although ‘dancing to the beat of your own drum’ has been taught, and Shakespeare “to thine own self be true” Defining who we are is an ongoing learning experience but one worth the effort.
Thank-you for your blogs.

Thanks for your comment!

It can be hard work to discover who we truly are, let alone to be comfortable in our own skin…

Comments are closed.

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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