“To Be Yourself In A World That Is Constantly Trying To Make You Something Else Is The Greatest Accomplishment”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
How many times have you tried to change things about yourself? Admit it – 100? 1000? countless? I know that I spent much of my life wishing I was different – kinder, smarter, thinner, prettier, richer, chattier, more charming, sexier, just damn BETTER than myself.
I’m not talking about working on self-improvement in that ‘be the best version of you’ sort of way. I’m talking about wanting to change who you fundamentally are rather than accepting yourself as a human work in progress, with all the gifts, talents and contradictions that brings.
We can blame the incessant media bombarding us with impossible images to aspire to – all designed to basically make us buy stuff we didn’t know we needed. Did you know that cellulite didn’t exist before a cosmetic company dreamt it up? Actually I don’t know if that’s true but when was the meeting that said you have to have smooth thighs? If 98% of women ‘suffer’ from it – isn’t that like saying 98% of people ‘suffer’ from ear lobes? I mean, come on – if SO many of us have this thing, isn’t it ridiculous, like crazy, stupid and futile (not to mention expensive – have you seen the price of those creams?) to convince ourselves that it’s wrong?
That’s just one example – I’ve got a ton more but I hope you get the picture. The pressure that advertisers put on us is designed to sell stuff – that’s all, plain and simple. It’s up to us to choose to accept their point of view.
But it’s maybe a bit too easy to simply blame the advertisers. As Eleanor Roosevelt apparently said –
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Whilst some elements of the world out there may want us to conform, to change, to be something different than who we are, its up to us to decide what we’re going to do about it.
It’s a tough call to stand in the path of the waves of imagery of what’s deemed ‘acceptable’ and not to get wet but we can do a lot to protect ourselves. Think of it like putting on a pair of wellies and a really big rain mac. We can choose to make our own minds up about what is good and what is bad. we can choose to form our own version of pretty, handsome, clever, enough. We can choose to like ourselves, value ourselves, or at least commit to learning how.
Or we can choose to continue to see ourselves as inadequate and wrong and try to change ourselves. Our choice. What’s it going to be?