Monday, May 2, 2011

Why Are We Afraid To Be Ourselves?

How many times have you heard this advice--"Be yourself", "Don't try to please anyone but yourself"?  I hear this from yogis, counselors, philosophers--you know the type.  The thinkers, those that ponder or those that have released the bonds of trying to please others.  Yes, be yourself!  That's what Dexter does.

Okay, let's say be yourself if it doesn't hurt another person.  Here's a hitch I see.  Fitting into polite society requires one to suppress certain unacceptable personal quirks.  Things one says or does could possibly offend or hurt another person and our motives can be immature.  Let's break it down even more.  "Fitting in" is a matter of survival.  Here's what I mean.  Not but 200 years ago, if you were proclaimed a witch, you didn't fit in. You were burned or drowned or a seemingly personal favorite of the people - disemboweled.  You hid parts of yourself because society doesn't find certain aspects of human nature acceptable.

So how can you be yourself or even want to be yourself when society has a history of tearing apart those who are "not normal".  Why would you want to stick your neck out there and have a chance at being marked as a "black sheep".  People tend to want to blame "black sheeps" and your called a menace to society.  How do you bare everything that you are without reservation or concern?  I'll tell you how. 

Understand yourself.
Know what you stand for.
Accept that your not for everyone.

Understand yourself: I think people that hide behind a mask are partially afraid of themselves.  They don't want to see the dark part.  To show someone else who you are you have to understand yourself.

Know what you stand for: Or you'll fall for anything.  Make sure you are clear on this; People who are on the fence about things have no friends.  If alienating everyone is your goal and you just can't stand to be understood by anyone, stay on the fence.  Devil's advocate helps you to understand others, but be sure on what side you're on.    

Accept that your not for everyone: Acceptance was a new revelation for me.  To embrace everything that I am I have to accept the dark parts of myself.  To know what I stand for I had to accept my feelings and what they meant and then logically decide if these feelings aligned with my principles.  If feelings and principles didn't coalesce I changed my mind about how I felt about the subject.  I found a reason why I should change my mind and my feelings followed.

I've also thought "What if society doesn't accept me as I am?  What if at the very extreme they feel the need to burn me at the stake?"  It was at that moment I felt the core of my strength.  If society does not accept me, I accept myself and therefore I will stand by my principles because they are what makes me capable to stand for something, fight for something and even die for something.  When I die, I will be me.  I will not stop asking questions, I will always try to learn about my curiosities.  I will not call myself good or bad.  I will live my life being who I am.

Knowing that I accept society for being what it is and society may not accept who I am is freeing.  What it's really about is whether or not you're afraid of yourself.  Understanding, acceptance and knowledge is really for each individual to digest.

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