“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ” – e.e. Cummings
When you were born everyone said, this child looks just like her mother or he like his father. Perhaps like your Grandmother, aunt, cousin, Grandfather, uncle, brother. After growing for awhile your personality traits were described as, he/she is just like_____fill in the blank. From the time you were born, you began to lose yourself in someone else’s identity. I believe we do this in order to feel a sense of kinship with our clan. So we are able to easily identify each other as belonging to family. But what happens to the child born whose interests and purpose are not in line with the family of origins values and beliefs. Hence, the “black sheep” syndrome and usually the person most happy and fulfilled within the family unit, confident in their knowing life purpose and strong in living it.
Yes, it definitely takes courage to grow up and become who you were meant to be, to follow the calling of your soul. To swim in waters filled with sharks and currents and fish nets, constantly throwing you off course, luring you in, casting you out, tempting you with bait to just conform and become like everyone else. Perhaps you hear the words, our kind just does not swim in the ocean! What price will you pay to be yourself against all odds. How many have found the price too high, the stakes too dear. How many live their lives confined to the box established by those who came before. The expectations to conform to family rules and norms can be overwhelming, all at the cost of loosing yourself. My own view may be somewhat skewed but, I find these boundaries exist more for women than men. On that note, I acknowledge and know many men who struggle to live their purpose. The notion that we must look like, act like, be like, is alive and well today. Many get caught up in changing their outward appearance, few of us expend the energy to make our true selves known to the world.
So, what is the risk to our own egos and self esteem if we believe our children are born unique, looking just like themselves, who they were meant to be. And when you lay eyes upon that child, do you express their beauty and characteristics as new, fresh, individualistic and their personality as something to be nurtured, discovered, grown with love, kindness and compassion. Celebrated because there is no one on this planet that looks like them, acts like them, is them and never will there be again. Have the courage next time someone says, he/she looks just like______, to say instead, this is a beautiful one of a kind child in every way bringing to life her/him SELF. Bring to life all this child was meant to be, encouraged to be themselves, encouraged to find their voice and speak their truth. Against all odds to become who they are meant to be so they might be able to answer their own question, “Why am I here”, long before they are grown adults who have lost their way living with regret. Just be yourself and encourage others to do the same. Shine a light for others by being yourself. Help them overcome the fear of not being the same. Encourage, inspire, model what it is like to live your passion. Along with the birthday celebration perhaps we might also consider it a day to encourage everyone young and wise to express and be themselves, to celebrate their reason for being. To sing the song of their soul. It is the day your soul entered this world after all.
“The strongest force in the universe is a human being living consistently with his identity.” – Tony Robbins
Photography by Christine Wasnie