Being me


What does it mean to be you?  Whenever we are unsure of ourselves, we are told to just be ourselves, or do what feels natural to us.  But this is not as easy as it sounds.

At our birth we resemble a blank page.  Those of us who believe in reincarnation may argue otherwise, but even the reincarnated do not remember their previous lives.  So technically they are a blank page as well. It is just like hitting the new page button in Microsoft word…you lose nothing, just gain a blank page.

Now the creation of who we are begins simply enough.  We are as yet unable to write for ourselves, so we offer our pages as a canvas to those nearest and dearest to us: parents, family and close friends.  Those are the sponge years.  We accept every shade and every word, slowly creating the images and sentences which will define us later in life.

As our world broadens, so too does our tool bar.  More font styles are added, our dictionaries expand and the rules of grammar and syntax are clarified.  We learn to crop and tweak our pictures to resemble what we think they should look like.  But how do we know what they should look like?  How do we know what our book of life must include? what it must sound like?  We look to others of course.  We take from them and allow them to write their own descriptions and narratives on our pages. It will be some time before we are able to discern what should and should not stay.  But, we eventually get to the stage of self definition.  Who are we?

The answer to this question is built day by day with the building material called decisions.  This material takes the form of words; words which painstakingly draw the image which we call ourselves.  What colour do I like?  Which foods do I prefer?  Do I like to be with others? What do I like in others? What do I like in myself? What do I want out of life?  What am I willing to do to get it?  And the glue which binds it all together are our emotions.  The decision of whether we like or dislike the emotions and feelings evoked by these images will become the punctuation marks and tone which bring to life the us we most desire.

Being us, the us that we are told to be, the natural us, is something created by choice.  Even those who believe in a greater being and a higher purpose for life have to choose to follow a set way of life.  They choose to be what they have decided is good and they decided is required/expected of them by this being.

So in the end, our book of life will reflect the choices made by us.  It will be authored, co-authored, edited, and coedited by as many and as varied a host of individuals who we meet and situations through which we live in our daily lives. But at the end of the day, we decide what we keep and what we discard.  We decide on the final picture.  We decide who we are.

So what does being you look like?

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