Be yourself

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“Be yourself.”  This is a term that we hear on a daily basis, but which me am I supposed to be.  Should I be the me that I am when I am at home with my wife?  or perhaps the me that I am when I stand before students.  Maybe I should be the me that I am when I am trying to make a business arrangement.  This line of thought led me to the question, “how much of who we think we are is really us?”  Yes, philosophical crap, I realize this, but how much of who we think we are is just constructed through media and peer pressure?  We are told how we are supposed to look, talk, sound, act, and be.  Further, we are influenced by what we see in the media all the time.  Still further, clothing manufacturers decide what we wear, auto manufacturers decide what we want in a car, and architects determine what we want in a house.  All with very little input from the consumers.  Yes, you can design your own home, but, most of the time, that is not the case.

Even as children, we are told what we should be.  I know a guy who was a very good artist.  Once he was asked what he wanted to do when he grew up.  He said he wanted to be a cartoonist.  The person asking the question said he would never make it as a cartoonist, what did he really want to be.  The guy I know never drew another thing.  I know that is an extreme example, but things like this happen all the time.  So my question remains, why do we listen?  Are we certain that the people who are talking have our best interests at heart.  One could argue that the adult in the previous example was trying to save the youngster from a hard life.  I am sure that was his intentions, but did he?  I would argue that he didn’t, simply because he squashed the dream of a child.

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