This is a topic close to the heart. It is a topic relating to not only finding yourself but also remaining yourself despite the influence of others and the criticism you may receive for your chosen path.
When we are left alone to our own thoughts for a long while, we have time to digest what we have seen from society and decide how much of that we want to take on, agree with, disagree with etc. We also have time to do some of our own digging be that online, in books, television or music and see what appeals to us, what ignites the fire inside us, our passions, our beliefs, ultimately what we want for ourselves. Like, what defines us. Makes us who we are.
What makes up who we are I believe is a huge combination of many things, that differs from person to person. Some examples that I feel make up who we are, are things like Physical appearance, interests and hobbies, religious or spiritual beliefs, Political views, Morals, what we’re attracted to, things we love, things we hate, what we are willing to fight for and sometimes die for. Priorities are also important. Also our will, like can we hold strong to our beliefs, promises even in the face of adversity?
Usually as we go through life and mature the average person can find answers to all or most of these things. They can choose what they wish to look like too.
The real challenge is, upon finding yourself, maintaining and keeping hold of what you truly want to be even when people refuse to accept you for it. When boyfriends are not as attracted to you because of how you choose to look. When strangers stare at your clothes because you won’t wear mainstream trends. When family members think you’re crazy for your spiritual beliefs. Friends shun you because you stubbornly refuse to drink alcohol. When your belief to do what’s kind and right makes you a total walk over. When your morals are so pure, you end up being the one who always gets hurt. All of these issues and many more are just some of the challenges of being yourself.
I walk outside, I browse social media and what I see is hundreds and thousands of clones. Particularly young people who look so alike in fashion, hair and makeup that they could almost be the same person. It the obvious scenario of ”He/she got attention for that look in that photo! Then obviously I have to make a similar look for my photo in order for people to like me just as much”
Similarly drinking is in. Drunken antics are cool. So naturally everyone is a drinker regardless of what they were warned about by their parents, regardless of the negative effects on their health and sadly regardless of who it hurts or pushes away. Fact is it is easier to make friends if you fit in. If you have a so called laugh and go out drinking on the weekends. Hardly anyone wants to be the ‘boring’ one who doesn’t drink. So fearful of not having any friends all of them follow the same habits.
It is the human desire to fit in and have friends that makes it so hard for most people to remain true to themselves.
I always see people on my facebook jumping on the political band wagon just to make things easier. For example if someone in a friendship group is like ”Yay vote Labour, everyone else is shit!” Then naturally it isn’t long before all of their buddies chime in with similar status. The hilarious things is n person they’ll whisper over things like ” nOw don’t mention it to anyone but I actually voted conservatives”.
Another thing that has always bugged me is adult kids that admittedly follow the family religious beliefs just to stay in good terms with their parents and grandparents. I’ve had many a conversation with people my age, who have willingly taken interest in alternate R.E. class teachings or my chats about paganism or witchcraft but then guiltily reverted back to the family religion after getting uncomfortable. I’m just wanting to scream at them like ”think for yourself!” Even if that mean having no religious/spiritual beliefs at all in the end, it’s better to allow yourself an open mind.
There are so many examples of people struggling to be themselves or abandoning themselves to make their life easier.
The final one I’ll mention is one that always disappoints me and that is people who forsake their own morals and promises just because of the influence and peer pressure of friends and work colleagues.
A classic situation is one where a girl’s boyfriend has high morals about not cheating or eyeing up other women. He will hold this belief high and promise her he’ll never cheat or oggle, that she can trust him. The girl will then wholeheartedly trust her man and feel secure.
Now, way down the line the said boyfriend starts a new job and feels like hey, wouldn’t be nice to make some friends here? So he sets about making friends and it isn’t before he is invited out with them. The boyfriend feels that his work life is so much better with the company of his new friends, he’d hate to lose them.
Unfortunately his friends are not as moral as he. And they continuously eye women, comment on breast sizes and fantasise about cheating on their girlfriends.
At first the boyfriend is alarmed. These friends are going against his morals. But over time they encourage him to do the same, make snide remarks when he doesn’t and heap on the pressure and persuasion.
It isn’t too long before in a desperate attempt to maintain friendship with his colleagues. he jokingly starts to comment on other women and their bodies. Thus breaking his first promise to his girlfriend.
Now for some people it may stop here, the guilt of abandoning their morals too much. But for others this is only the start in a desperate attempt to impress friends. Some may go on to break other promises and morals that they used to hold dear.
It sickens me how weak people can be in these situations. I want to scream at them that their girlfriend or wife is more important than a bunch of immoral idiots.
Now before I go I want to say, I have had my troubles too in remaining to be 100% myself.
I’ve been tempted to change my appearance for my boyfriend because he is attracted to other types of women and liking lots of pictures of blondes. I have lost weight in order to impress people in the past. I have kept my mouth shut about my interests in paganism and witches just incase someone thinks me strange for it. I’ve hated myself for being shy. I’ve almost gone along with the girls when their ogling men. I’ve consumed alcohol just to make my ex boyfriend happy. I’ve wanted to change things to make my life easier, to make people accept me so I don’t have to be alone, so I don’t have to feel less than someone else. I’ve wanted to dye my hair, lose weight, take confident bloody pictures just so that I don’t have to feel hurt when my boyfriends are out there checking out other women.
But in the end I stopped. Stopped it dead.
Because I spent years accumulating interests, holding dear my morals, researching spiritual beliefs, questioning everything, weighing everything up. I chose my look for me because I enjoy it, I believe it is pretty. Black raven hair, pale white skin, big heavily outlined green eyes, alternative clothing and moving with a feminine grace. That is me.
I spent too long trying to impress others. I forgot there were people who liked me for who I was. They told me red looked good on me, that my hair was unusual, my eyeliner was creative, my personality was addictive and quirky. That I was good as I was. That different was better. Even my fascination with witches and my love of romance.
What I want to finish on is, Being yourself is a challenge. It’s hard to find yourself but even harder to maintain and stay true to it in our society. Were you to cut yourself off and live in cottage in the woods, I’m sure you’d all have no trouble being yourselves. But here in towns, cities on social media it’s hard. It’s tempting to take the easy route. Even more tempting when someone you’re in love with desires something more than what you are.
But Please, stay true. Be proud of who you are, who you are still to become. Friends, boyfriends, work colleague ages and even family isn’t worth a thing if they can’t accept you.
Never change. Don’t change for people to like you. Be yourself and the right people will love you for the real you <3