Quote about being yourself that you MUST read

Today's quote comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American poet, essayist, and lecturer who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century:

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's amazing how Emerson's words ring especially true in this digital era we live in. Whether it's on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, people are always trying to one-up each other in an effort to get as many "likes" and positive comments as they can get. They lose sight of their true selves and instead turn into the individuals society wants them to be. In essence, they sell out for social approval.

Indeed, society says that we should do all the following:

  • Look as skinny as possible
  • Have as many kids as possible
  • Get married as early as possible
  • Work in the most prestigious high-paying jobs (vice president, etc.)
  • Possess as much money and material possessions as possible
  • Drink as much as possible
And the list goes on...

But what if someone chooses to deviate from societal expectations? They're then frowned upon by many. 

Even though we're in the 21st century, many people still have a "herd mentality" of sorts ingrained in their minds. They feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing -- whether it's getting married, having kids, posting countless baby pictures on Facebook, or getting wasted every weekend -- because it's what all their peers typically do. 

Why are people so damn afraid of exercising their individuality?

Not all of us have to think and act alike!

If you don't wish to have kids or get married, that's your right. If you don't want to work as a doctor or accountant and would rather pursue a singing career, that's your decision. If you'd prefer not to look like a stick figure, go ahead and shun society's idea of "beautiful." 

I'm just so tired of people feeling pressured into doing what everyone else does. In ancient times, following the current might have helped increase the chances of survival and reproduction, but it's time for some people to get with the program. 

We all have different personalities, values, and beliefs, not to mention unique preferences as far as how we dress and live our lives in general. To be able to exercise our individuality is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. Why squander that by letting others dictate what's beautiful, trendy, or appropriate? 

Call me a rebel, but I like living my life on my own terms. There's no greater thrill in life than being yourself and not caring what anyone else thinks. It's truly liberating!

What do you make of Emerson's quote?  Do you agree with my interpretation? Please share your comments and reshare this post with your friends.

5 comments:

Dawn mello said...

Yes I do. I am quite different, but am an outsider.

Lynn said...

You hit the nail right on the head with this. I never plan to get married. I never plan to have children. I plan to pursue a career in music and art. I'm no toothpick. I'm a size 14 and I'm happy that way. I'm happy with who I am. That's what makes me who I am and that's what I really love about it. The songs I write and artwork I create have always been the keys to what make me happy. If people like my art and songs I'm flattered. But I don't create art and write songs to please others. I create art and write songs for me.

How to Understand People said...

Dawn,

Being different is great. Embrace it! :)

Lynn, I love your outlook on life. Being different is a wonderful thing. I love your mentality!

Lynn said...

Thanks, I appreciate that. I just wish more people would view it that way. When I was a teenager, even just a little girl< I was never concerned with what guy I'd marry or how many kids I'd have or what I'd name them or even what my first car would be. That never crossed my mind. I suffer from migraine headaches to the point I temporarily go blind sometimes so and have from a young age so driving would and never will be in the picture for me anyway. I had no interest in smoking or drinking, either. I never went to prom and I didn't even care. Prom was of no concern to me. I was bullied to the point I left school at age 16. I was in fear for my life because I was constantly getting attacked by other students. I've always had to take medication for my headaches which all have the same side effects: stomach problems. I developed severe reflux at a young age. I got bullied for hating to eat pizza and hamburgers/cheeseburgers because the grease upset my stomach extremely easily. I was embarrassed constantly because I'd get sick every time I ate that stuff. I preferred to eat spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and fish. To this day those are still my favorite foods. So I left school because the bullying became too much for me and nothing could be done. I have ptsd as a result of being bullied. That's how bad it was. So I was busy thinking about what art projects I'd like to do, auditioning, writing, finding my own original style and working on furthering my education academically and creatively so I can pursue my artistic ambitions. I'm finally slowly making some progress with it. I get called selfish all the time for never planning to get married or be in a relationship or have children. That's not for everyone. Plus I don't want to get mixed up with the wrong people or all the progress I've made in being able to move forward after being bullied to the point it resulted in ptsd. I try to stick up for people who get bullied. That's not ok. Only now is that getting legislative attention. That's what fuels my ambition. It fuels my creativity. It fuels my positive outlook on life and that I can turn it into something that can be helpful to this generation of young people. I strongly encourage art and music as positive, constructive forms of self expression. I've talked to lots of kids, friends, family and so on and have been able to be a listening ear even though I'm not a therapist. But I do understand. At least I am able to be a kind, listening ear that people need once in a while whenever they have a bad day. I've chosen to turn what happened to me into something positive. I'm not a believer in destruction of any kind as a result and I never will be. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of who I am. So what if I've never smoked a cigarette? So what if I've never had a drink? So what if I've never tried drugs? So what if I'm not an enforcer of either? Smoking and drinking even though both are legal solve no problems whatsoever. They create problems. They don't enhance artistic and musical creativity. They destroy it. No one produces their best creative material when smoking, drinking or if on drugs. That does the complete opposite. I'm proud to say that will never be me. I'm not gonna put my creativity in jeopardy just to be "cool" because "that's what everyone else does who is creative". I don't believe in that. Plus, I actually do have spiritual morals. I'm proud to say I'm a Christian liberal. I don't care what others think. I am who I am. That is who I am. I will never be anyone else. People can like me for it or people can hate me for it. Still, no one will ever be able to change it.

Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.