In truth, the original title of this blog should have been, ‘Be the person you were created to be not the person they tell you you should be or are‘. You can see why this cannot work. Lol!
We hear people tell us, “Be yourself” and everyone applauds. It is so easy to forget what yourself actually means. I have come to understand that ‘yourself’ or ‘being yourself’ can easily become either a set of behaviour patterns that is socially constructed to either fit into the environment you are in, a tool to enable social and professional progression or even a self defence mechanism.
Let me explain.
I believe that everyone is created with a set personality, physical features, in fact everything about us is created with a purpose. There is nothing about us that is in us accidentally – (Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT) ). Everything about us, is designed for the place, family, environment we are born in. No child is a mistake. No human being is created in error. Which is why you tend to see certain personality traits in children and you can predict what that child will be doing as an adult because of these natural tendencies. I believe that this is a part of the way we are created.
Bearing this in mind, the older we get, the more eager we are to hide, improve upon or take on personality traits because they help us integrate better. We focus on skills that do not come naturally to us because we want to thrive where we are. While there is nothing wrong with seeking to develop our weak areas, I just find that people do not pay enough attention to or appreciate their natural abilities,. We never see a fish try and climb trees, so why do we fight to be who we were not created to be? Again, there are people who are able to accomplish great feats because the pushed themselves but it came at a price.
I remember an incident in school where we were talking and a classmate highlighted the fact that my voice was quite deep. I was mortified. I mean, I should not have been, it is my voice but that incident has been one of the reasons why I consciously speak higher than I was created to because I did not want to be perceived as intimidating, masculine or unladylike. I had sing-song(ed) for so long that it became second nature, until today.
Speaking to the guy in the post office, I suddenly heard myself speaking and it was my voice. My voice. I did not realise I was no longer singing but speaking and I was elated in that moment. I am exhausted today and I probably was too tired to start singing so I spoke normally. I felt free. Yes, he smirked but that is okay. I tend to admire in other people what I either lack or what I do not have boldness to be. One of such traits is women who speak with their real voices. Whenever I hear women speak with husky voices, I am enthralled. They never sound like men. They sound like women with powerful voices. Yet, I was never able to just speak without ‘singing’.
I have been unlearning and undoing a lot of nonsense I picked up due to insecurities and a lack of trust in the One Who created me. I have bowed instead of standing tall, squatted instead of sitting, squeezed myself into a corner instead of just being, been silenced instead of defending and sang instead of speaking.
In the same way, in my anger at being bullied, instead of becoming an advocate, I became a bully. I believed what ‘they’ told me. I was a ‘Man Beast’. I was incapable of being civil. I only knew anger and a lack of self control. I was notorious. Like a self fulfilling prophesy, I became all ‘they’ said I was. Instead of being who I was created to be.
I am saddened because for so many, who say they are being themselves, really are being and have become who people have said they are. They are acting the role they have been given because it is easier to navigate this world in that mask. They are playing roles allocated to them because they have not taken the time to find out who they were created to be and so are silently fighting with their facades.
I am slowly but surely, dropping masks, behaviours, traits that people have assigned me with but I know is not me. I am slowly but surely trying to find out who I am and the personality I was created with, so that I can do all that I was created to be.
Please, do not misunderstand me, this is not a nature nurture debate. I am just saying that in being yourself, make sure you are being your actual true self not the self that has been attributed to you based on the opinions of people who may not even know their own true selves.
I am learning. I am growing. I am discovering who I am so that I can truly, be myself.
So, please, in all your living, remember to be yourself. Your true self. There is only one of you.
The world needs you as you are created to be, not as the world intends for you to become.
Love and Blessings,
Image Credit: Dreamstime.com