"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.",
William Shakespeare - 1564-1616
I recall struggling with this just a few years ago when I was living in New York City. I found myself in social situations where I tried to conform to what I thought others would want me to be, instead of being "true to myself". I was told by a gentleman that I was dating at the time, that my hair was not the proper color to 'fit in' with the other ladies at the "University Club" where he was a member. So for the gentleman, I darken my hair. I was not true to myself, I changed for his happiness, not for mine. I was perfectly content and satisfied with my appearance, that is until I was told that it wasn't good enough. Instead of being confident and deciding on my own, what my hair should look like, I changed to make him happy. When I look back at that decision, I am disappointed in myself for not having the confidence to 'stay true to myself'. But life is a journey and we learn by our mistakes.
I fell into the trap of not being true to myself and so do many young people. Teenagers believe that when they do things to please their peers, such as drink when they shouldn't, or behave and party in inappropriate ways, they will be popular and liked. They go against the advice of their parents or their own common sense only to find themselves in trouble and not accomplishing what they set out to do.
Together, let's be courageous and accept ourselves for who we really are, not as someone else thinks we should be. Do not do what I did by changing and pretending to be someone else for the sake of pleasing another person just to gain their acceptance.
Being true to yourself requires you to be introspective and to know what makes YOU happy. It also means that you will not let others define you or make decisions for you that you should be making for yourself.
In my life, I have learned that when you are true to yourself, you allow your unique individuality to shine through! You become more open to the differences of others and you grow strong and confident.
Steve Jobs is quoted as saying: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Seems like good advice to me. Take some time to ponder the words of William Shakespeare, "To thine own self be true".
Love, Ms. B.