Who are you pretending to be?

September 6, 2021

Psychologist Carl Rogers said – “What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” Rogers specializes in helping people be themselves unashamedly and confidently. That begs the question that forms today’s headline – who am I (or you) pretending to be?

It is not unusual to see young people – girls and boys – dressing like their heroes and maybe trying to talk and act like them. After all, youth is a time when we are still trying to decide who we are and what we want to become. Hopefully one can come to grips with the who we are part and accept themselves, so that they can move on the who we want to become part. Some never do and spend their lives trying to live as someone else. They are pretending.

I’ve posted here several times about loving yourself, accepting who you are and moving on with life. That is an important first step to take before you can truly love others. An important precursor to loving yourself is accepting God’s love for you. If God can love you, who are you to question his judgement? So, get in touch with God and accept His love and then you can get in touch with yourself and love who you are. You don’t have to pretend with God or with yourself.

I think it is OK to have heroes, so long as what we try to emulate about them are the good characteristics of who they are – their moral character – and not just pretend to be them by dressing and talking like they do. There is no benefit that accrues to you by looking like your heroes, but there could be great benefit from emulating their focus and resolve, their willingness to work hard to achieve their goals, or their kindness and generosity.  

That makes it all the more important to choose the right heroes to begin with. Choosing to model yourself after a villain, whether a movie villain or a real-life bad guy, is a receipt for disaster in life. Sometimes that choice is subtle, like going along with something that you know is wrong, just to get along with someone that you idolize. Many got into drugs that way, by following their rock and roll heroes down that path. That always ends badly.

So, ask yourself if what you are doing is the real you or are you pretending to be someone else? Try being the real you, making your own decisions about what to wear and how to act. You might be surprised to learn that, if you portray the real you, you could become someone else’s hero? Imagine someone trying to be like you. Would you be happy about how they are acting?  

Who are you pretending to be? Try openly being you – that’s good enough for God and it will be good enough for everyone else, too. Try it, you’ll like it.


Be somebody’s and be your own

August 27, 2021

Every now and then, I notice that a couple of the little quotes that I collect just seem to go together or maybe have more meaning when used together.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”  (Oscar Wilde)

“I can be somebody’s and still be my own.” – Shel Silverstein

I have written a few times about the importance of loving yourself, before you can really love others and Wilde’s quote seems to sum it up nicely. A component of that self-love that I have also written about is the ability to forgive yourself for mistakes or failures. One key to both is accepting the forgiveness and love of God in your life.

Being yourself and loving yourself means being able to be content when alone and not being dependent on another for your sense of well-being or fulfilment. It means having your own independent interests and opinions. It means finding wholeness within yourself and not as a part of someone else. You may share a great deal of who you are with someone else, but at the end of the day (or the relationship) that part comes back to you.

Silverstein’s quote speaks to the commitments that we make as we become someone else’s husband, wife, father, mother, lover, friend or relative. We give a part of ourselves to them and share our love with them; however, we remain ourselves and must still love ourselves. I suspect that it would be very hard to have a serious relationship with someone who did not love themselves. You may be there for them, but that s not the same as giving yourself to them.

When you don’t love yourself it very difficult to share yourself to someone else because you feel that it would be like sharing a flawed gift. Your inability to forgive and love yourself may embarrass you or make you feel ashamed of yourself. It certainly doesn’t put you in the mood to openly share of yourself.

So takes Wilde’s advice and start that lifelong love affair with yourself. It may help to first accept God’s forgiveness and love for you. It is a small step from there to being able to love yourself. Only then will you truly be ready to be somebody’s, because you will already be your own.

Don’t you just love it?