Saturday, August 21, 2010

Being True to You

I've noticed that I write about song lyrics quite often. I guess certain tunes and phrases get stuck in my head, which then causes me to ponder what they mean to me and how they apply to life, in general. Well, here I go again.

Sting wrote a song called Englishman in New York and in it, there's a line that says, "Be yourself, no matter what they say". I have always loved that line.

With 2 children in grade school, I'm very aware of peer pressure and the desire to 'fit in' and 'be like everyone else'. I know that, not only will it intensify in High School, it will be around in one form or another, all through their lives. We tell our children to think for themselves and that, just because everyone else is doing something, it doesn't mean that they have to do it, too. Through the years, how many NY Moms have asked in exasperation, "If all your friends were jumping off the Brooklyn bridge, would you jump, too?!" We're telling our children, and rightfully so, to choose right over wrong, to be true to the values taught and lived at home, and to stand up for what they believe in.

We may share common interests, but we are not all carbon copies of one another, nor should we be. We are different because of our unique talents and gifts. We have different thought processes. We have different life experiences. We have different cultural and religious backgrounds. We have different customs and traditions. Most importantly, we have different life lessons, different things to accomplish in our lifetime, and different purposes on this planet. We each have a greatness to which we should rise, but each greatness is unique, not the same, and all together they are complementary.

We each need to take the path that will lead us to our highest potential, not necessarily the most well-worn path that everyone else chooses. This is often a difficult thing to do. People may say nasty and unkind things to us. People may laugh at our hopes and dreams. People may put obstacles in our way or just not help us to get over a hurdle. People may gossip and talk behind our backs. These people may be those we thought were friends, so their words and actions hurt. These people may be family, so their words and actions cause us to question the validity of our hopes and dreams.

Quite often, it takes strength to stay true to our values, to our hopes and dreams, to who we are and who we are meant to be. It takes strength to forge a new path and to make a new mold for ourselves, instead of trying to fit into the mold that everyone else thinks we should fit into. It takes strength to be ourselves, no matter what they say.

But remember that words can never be as strong as dreams. While it's true that words have a certain amount of power because they carry energy and can convey emotion, when people say hurtful or negative things, the words are coming from their brains, from a place of thinking and judging. Their brains are hastily throwing out words in an attempt to push us back into the mold they think we belong in. It's a knee-jerk reaction caused by fear.

Fear of what? Who knows. Perhaps it's a fear of change - if you can change, then they may feel inadequate by not changing. Perhaps it's fear of failure - if you succeed by moving, then they can be seen as failing because they are standing still. Perhaps it's jealousy - a fear that you'll achieve greater financial success, or greater joy in life than they have. Perhaps it's fear of losing ground in their social network - other people will like you better in your new role, not just because of your new role, but because you're happier and more fun to be around. These people may think they're judging you when, in reality, they are really judging themselves, and concluding that they are not measuring up.

Dreams are far stronger than hastily cast off words because dreams are desires of the heart. Their power comes from a place of feeling, a more centered place, a more spiritual place, a place that holds love instead of judgement. Dreams are whispers from our souls and they carry a great and profound truth about who and where we are meant to be.

Only those who are secure enough in themselves to set their own thinking and egos aside can listen to our dreams with open and caring hearts. These are the people who will support us and rejoice in every step we take towards our goal, no matter how tentative or how small. These are the people who will not judge us, for their words will come from their hearts where very little judgement lies. They may not share our dream, they may not understand our dream, but they will support us in working towards whatever dreams we may have.

So be yourself, no matter what they say. Let those who think themselves to be superior sit in judgement, and know that they are only judging themselves. Let their words drift up and away from you in a cloud of smoke. Hold close those who are true cheerleaders and supporters. Don't worry, you will know the difference between the fact, you already do. And if, by chance, you mistake a judger for a supporter, don't waste your energy being hurt and ashamed. Just carry on and know that dreams are more powerful than words.

I don't want to disappoint anyone, but, if I am pushed into a corner where I must choose, I would rather disappoint other people than disappoint myself. I'd rather live the fabulous life that my soul knows I can live, instead of the life that another person thinks is best for me. I'd rather reach for a dream and fail than succeed in never trying. I'd rather move towards something wonderful than stand still and wonder 'what if'.

If you agree, then follow your dreams and be yourself, no matter what they say.

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