I’ve got to be me. You be you.

July 1, 2021

I get an email each day with quotes from various groups of people and on a variety of topics. I have no idea how I got on that email list, but it does occasionally provide some nice fodder for me to blog about. A recent email from that source contained a bunch of quotes from female entertainers that the email called Divas. A couple of them caught my eye because the message of their quotes is one that I have posted here about in the past – being yourself.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton

“I didn’t need a role model. I didn’t need to try to be like someone else. I just needed to be me.” – Queen Latifah

There were a number of other Diva quotes that reinforced that theme.

One doesn’t have to be a Diva for this to be great advice. All too often we (especially the young) try to be like someone else, thinking that this is the secret to happiness or success. It is actually OK to try to emulate the best qualities of someone that you admire, but too often that is not the focus. Instead young people may just try to replicate the look or mannerisms  of their heroes or role models. They somehow believe that if they have a certain look or act in a certain way they will be more attractive or successful in life. Of course, that never works and instead of increasing their appeal to others it may actually be off-putting. Why? Because they aren’t being themselves. People want to get to know who you are, not who you are pretending to be.

It is much easier to say that from the vantage point of older age than it is when one is young. Growing up can be a confusing time and process. There are few people to turn to for advice or guidance. Parents come to mind, but many times parents are distracted by work or other commitments and don’t pay enough attention to the needs of their own children.  Think of how many times we hear in news story coverage of a tragedy involving a child we hear the parent say, “If only I had paid more attention and recognized the signs of my son/daughter’s depression.”

But, those are worst-caser scenarios. Most kids don’t get that down on themselves that they become depressed, but they do go through the process of “finding themselves” and becoming OK with who they are. That process can be confusing and frustrating for some and for a few it extends well into what is called adulthood. I’ve posted here a few times about loving yourself before you can love others. I think that happens when you come to grips with who you are and decide that it is OK to be you.

It is the step beyond just accepting yourself that Parton was alluding to – the “do it on purpose” step. I think that could be restated as “do it with a purpose.” The step beyond saying “this is who I am” is answering the question, “Now, what am I going to do with who I am?” One does not have to have a huge, lofty set of goals or purposes in life, but it is important to always be working to be better tomorrow than you are today – to be a better person, spouse, child, parent, worker, contributor in life than you are today. Why? Because becoming better each day increases your worth – your worth to yourself and to society. And we all strive to feel more worthy. You don’t increase your worth by trying to be someone else. You just waste your time.

The final Diva quote that I’ll use today is from Beyoncé –

“Don’t try to lessen yourself for the world; let the world catch up to you.”

Think about that for a while. I could label that quote, “Girl, get a little attitude.”

So, I’ll be me and you be you. Let’s both be the best “me” that we can be. Sounds like something Dr. Seuss might have written, doesn’t it?

That’s a worthy pursuit.