You have probably heard the expressions, like "learn from kids, dream big like kids" at least a dozen of times in your life, if not more. But the question is whether you are brave enough to take up the advice. It may sound like a paradox, but it requires a lot of courage from intelligent, well-educated people, holding MBAs or PhDs to take life lessons from little creatures, who hardly know anything about life, yet are the happiest on earth.
There are obviously many lessons we can learn from kids, and one of them is showing up with our true selves. The truth is that each of us is absolutely unique. There is always something quite special in a particular person that can never be found in another person due to what nature has given to us and the lessons that we have learnt through our life experiences.
Yet, most of us are doing a great job in shutting down the originality that lies deep within us and that is what makes humans miserable. We act like this because we have come to believe that this is the most practical, effective way to go through life with as little pain and discomfort as possible.
But look at kids"¦ They do not even think about their true self or how to be authentic. Kids just let their uniqueness flow, because that is their natural state of being. They just let the genius within create the magic!
We all have been like those kids at one point in our lives, but as we grew up, we forgot about the best gifts nature has endowed us with, we learnt to hide away our creative potential and shape our lives based on the ideas the society and mass media are selling to us.
Picasso described it just so well:
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
Since childhood we are taught to think and behave like everyone else. We are warned that if we make an attempt to be different from our peers, or stand out from the crowd, people will not accept us and we will stay alone. Drop by drop, these messages kill our desire to be ourselves and we seek out our safe and comfortable place under the shelter of majority.
Without a doubt, on your way to show up with your true self, you will inevitably encounter people who just will not be able to understand you. Yes, some will harshly criticize you and others will make fun of you.
Why? because such people are not brave enough to express their own originality and it makes them miserable to see someone else doing this. Yes, it takes a lot of courage to be yourself, copying others is way easier. Consequently, you will inevitably meet people, who will try to tear you down just because you have made a choice to embrace your authentic self. My answer to such people is:
In the world full of copycats the expression "You are weird" is a complement to me. Pay it often! Thanks.
Believe me, on your path to self-expression, you will also meet people who will be ready to open up and be honest with you. These people will not be afraid to show up with their true selves and be vulnerable.
Yes! In most cases it happens because YOU have inspired them to do so. For a long time, they were looking for someone who will accept them as they are, who will TRULY listen to them, who will understand and respect their personality, no matter how weird it may seem to many others.
But if you try to introduce your "copy-paste-from-majority-self", that person will do the same and nothing will change.
Just think by showing up and expressing your true identity, you also inspire others to do the same! How wonderful it is!
P.S. The post was inspired during an enriching discussion with a good friend of mine, who said,
"Never hide away your true self, you never know who's gonna love the self that you are desperately trying to hide" 🙂