It’s not easy to be genuine all the time — to allow the raw and ungainly aspects of ourselves to be seen and evaluated by the world at large. We chafe at the idea of being humiliated.
In each stage of our lives we are held to standards. Parents, teachers, friends, and the media seek to influence who and how we should be. But “being you” is quite different from living up to everyone else's expectations.
We’re imperfect humans, and by definition that means we're often messy, awkward, and wrong. When we love only the parts of ourselves that are admired by others, we reject the parts that make us real.
As children we learned to walk — each in our own way, and in our own time. We pulled ourselves up, took a step, fell, and began again. That’s how learning happens. That’s how we shorten the distance between effort and achievement. We were unconcerned about looking good. We were simply being ourselves.
As we mature, our egos become more prominent. Prejudging ourselves and anticipating the opinions of others consumes a huge amount of energy — a distraction from "being you".
Our unpolished parts are our opportunities for growth. But as soon as we feel the need to hide them, we limit our own personal development. Let’s take an interest in learning for its own sake; exploring and discovering subjects and topics we find fascinating without worry about approval.
Every violinist has to endure the ear-shattering squeaks of a beginner's bow on its strings.
Every gymnast has to be okay with falling and failing.
Every physicist must start by memorizing the Periodic Table of Elements.
There's a bonus for our efforts. Every time we push through a challenge we build strength of character.
"Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." — NORMAN VINCENT PEALE.
Being the best positive and negative version of ourselves is the only thing that enables us to be genuine. It makes us happier and healthier and more connected to those around us. It’s also the greatest gift we can give ourselves.
I’m working on it!
Sources: brainyquotes.com, greatergood.berkeley.edu