Sue Yourself for Theft
I saw a silly teen-oriented movie a few weeks back; but wisdom can be found, I believe, in all places. One great line from the film hit me on the head like an old lady pummeling a mugger with a handbag. The main character in the movie, who was a vivacious, young, American girl, tried to subdue her free-spirit to fit into a starchy, upper-crust conservative milieu to please others. All the things that made her special soon became unrecognizable. It's at that point her boyfriend wisely said to her, "I don't know why you are trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out."
The thing is, we were ALL born to stand out. But, we become afraid. We kowtow to peer pressure and conventional ways of thinking and living because we don't want to look like an idiot and want to be liked and accepted. It takes a lot of guts to be different and sometimes it's a lonely road.
But, you can be sure that if you are not being yourself then you are living a lie. That is not the reason you were born. You were born to shine and to share with the world all that is uniquely you. It is ironic how we boldly fight for liberty while at the same time forsake so easily the "freedom to be ourselves." Does it really matter at the end of the day what is oppressing you?
I even feel that while we all need advice, there is a point of excessive dependence. If you ask for others' opinions too often, you will find yourself living someone else's dreams and fears — and someone else’s mistakes. In that case, they may as well put someone else's name on your cemetery headstone. After all, whose life did you live?
The Biblical commandment, "Thou Shalt Not Steal," does not only pertain to physical items, like money and gold watches. It also has its philosophical, intangible and spiritual correlatives, i.e, you are not permitted to manipulate others, to steal someone's time or rob them of their good name. AND you are not allowed to steal away your own destiny/potential from yourself by giving in to fear-- through which you'd also be guilty of robbing yourself of your own time and talents.
Last week in the Biblical portion we read about the birth of Jacob's twelve sons, the fathers of the twelve tribes. What really was the need for twelve tribes? Wouldn't the Jewish nation be better served if they pitched themselves under one figurative tent? The answer is, no. Each tribe had their talents and strong points and destiny which were vital to the greater survival of the whole. This point is further driven home by the blessings Jacob gave his sons before he died. He does not give one blanket blessing to them all, but rather hones in on their individuality.
My dear friends, do not be afraid to be YOU. Stop empowering others by being oversensitive to their opinions and judgments. Take yourself off of auto-pilot and stop auto-silencing the voice that is uniquely yours. Dare to think and live out of the box for soon enough we will all be in a box permanently. Cookie cutters were made for cookies so don't let anyone shape you; and stop trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out!