‘Owning yourself’

Day 4 #iWriteDaily

Tricky business, this “owning yourself.”

As social creatures we are born wanting to fit in, to be part of something. We long for acceptance, if not approval. How do we keep our individuality in the midst of a “tribe” that pushes for conformity? Even as young children we are “socialized,” as though to not learn the rules and regs of our culture would mean we would remain the wild animals we were born as.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is said to have told his followers to be like him: In the world but not of the world. I’ve always liked that image.

On the one hand we encourage our children to find their path, to follow the road less traveled, to be fully themselves in the world. Then we feel angry or helpless when they are bullied for being themselves. It’s a confusing message for our kids to say the least. It doesn’t stop when we grow into adults either.

What’s the answer?

We are here to bring ourselves, our unique gifts and our understanding of things to our communities … and to me that means for the purpose of improving our world, to leave it better then we found it. That often means working from the margins, where there’s a clearer perspective to see where change is needed.

Life may not be easier at the margins, but it’s easier to own ourselves there. Giving ourselves away — for sale or rent — to fit in is unacceptable, and not in the “tribe’s” best interest in the long run, IMHO.

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