While growing up, usually in teenage years, we all have that one person we look up to. It can be a teacher, parents, elder brother or sister, a cousin, a movie star or anybody actually. We try to ape their style, the way they walk, the way they are with others, their swagger and gait, but sooner or later you grow out of it and develop what’s your own persona.
With some people, that doesn’t happen until much later or doesn’t happen at all. The constant conflict, of being who you really are against being this person you want to be, can be very confusing and exhausting.
Teenage years are especially trying, when one is dealing with lot of changes around oneself and to top it one has this additional pressure of metamorphosing into a unique self. It’s challenging and, to put it mildly, very confusing.
Be true to yourself. It’s quite simple really if you see it this way. You can only be 100% your own self, but can never really ‘become’ another person. Even if you do try and achieve being another, how long would that really last? Will it not be exhausting to get up every morning, wear a mask, be careful how you walk, control your facial expressions, remind yourself constantly of the accent you want to project, toss your hair or turn your head at a certain angle, smile to a certain degree, but never too much?
You can never be truly happy if you aren’t yourself. Sooner or later you will grow tired of being that person you wanted to be or idolized while growing up.
In the movie ‘X-Men:First Class’, whilst Raven Darkholme (Raven) is lifting weights, Eric Lehnsherr (Magneto) uses his power to lift the barbell high above her head and says, “If you’re using half your concentration to look normal, then you’re only half paying attention to whatever else you’re doing. Just pointing out something that could save your life.” The barbells suddenly drop and Raven shape shifts to her natural blue form to catch it.
Erik Lehnsherr then said “ You want society to accept you, but you can’t even accept yourself.”
This is truer for us humans than it is for mutants (if any). We need to accept ourselves the way we are, both the physical appearance and the person we are. Accept who you are and how you look. Do not try to change yourself to become another. Stop living in denial. Stop living in a shadow and definitely stop being an image of someone else. People will love you no less if you be yourself and frankly, few of those would be thankful if you stop trying to be someone else.
You will find out who you are. Maybe in your 30s if not in your 20s, but it will happen. Don’t get antagonized if you feel lost. Instead, try and find out who you are, and what you truly really like. Don’t watch action movies just because your friends say its cool. Don’t avoid romantic movies because people call it soapy. Please do not copy anyone’s hair style or steal someone’s ‘look’. Don’t go from shop to shop in frantic search of an article of clothing you saw on your admired one. Try and find your own look and style. Don’t drink and smoke because someone says that it’s cool. Be unabashed about who you are and what you like. Instead of following people who get tagged as pretty or cool, get inspired by someone real, who has achieved something real in life.
This takes a more serious turn when you choose a profession and select one simply because the one you admire went for it. In India, scores of children do engineering or medical, as if there is no other profession or career available, simply because people in their family or near neighbor did the same. For all you know that person might have selected a career path based on the person he/she himself/herself admires. Can you see how this can have a dominoes effect? How one after the other, young people would follow a path that they don’t truly like, have a job/career/life they will grow up to despise, resulting in getting frustrated for life!
The solution is not difficult to comprehend. Just think about what YOU like. Be honest to yourself. It’s clichéd but true – Follow your heart!
It might be difficult to stand your ground and do something radically different from others around you, but greatness doesn’t come gift-wrapped in easy previously-laid and walked-upon paths. You make your own path and create something new.
Don’t follow others; rather be someone others would look up to.
Find yourself. Hone yourself. Own yourself.