I grew up looking at people for how I appeared to the world. My parents, my dad especially, would always bring out the “What will people say if you did this or that…” and when you hear it enough times you start questioning yourself. He did that to himself too, I am sure.
But when you do that,you become unsure. We are programmed to look for approval as it is. Children try to please their parents and they try to please their friends in order to be accepted. To some extent it is a good thing. We live with people so jumping like crazed frogs all over the place and not minding the consequences of our actions is not what people should do.
But if you’re not careful you look at everyone for an assessment of your actions and yourself in general. Some people may give you an accurate, honest opinion and always with your best interest at heart, others will judge and point their finger at you.
Ideally, the ones whose opinion we mind should be the ones who, while pointing at shortcomings, will also foster the ability to empower us to shake them off, will tell us or signal with their embraces that we ought to love ourselves even more for that unique combination of thoughts and emotional twirls and ways of seeing the world that we are.
The problem is, we often define ourselves and our worth by looking at the wrong people. Not wrong in what they are and who they are for themselves, but wrong in their position of influencing our world.
Acceptance of ourselves and the ability to carry ourselves towards being the best we can be (how cliché but how true that we aim for that, that being the good destination of every day and the reason we are able to wake up with hope) comes from within but also from how those close to us define us.
The boys often wonder how the world sees them. They fear appearing ridiculous and I tell them they should not let people define who they are. They should only allow the ones who love them to do so; the ones who understand their fire and their drive to embrace the world standing upside down at times, or crookedly so – but who can give the whole measure or definition of crooked anyway. Crazy as they may seem in their passion for the things that power their inner beings, in their joy, in their tears and all that spunk they have and dare to share, they need to believe they are amazing and worth it.
The problem is, they won’t, not always. Often they’ll be crushed by a word, by someone judging them, by someone attempting to play with their most vulnerable soul patches. I am telling them of the importance of being real, of being who you are, so that people can have the right coordinates of you when you are part of their landscape. But that will carry with it the risk of them being hurt, because they will not have a custom-made facet that they present to the world, so when trashed or tainted they can just put another one on, a clean one, and move on.
They will be hurt, I know they will. But they will learn to care for themselves too, to be strong and to pick themselves up when no one is there to help them, but also to be kind in defining other people’s worlds, to be careful, to not judge. They will learn the importance of trust by having theirs shattered at times.
And after and during all that learning, they will be able to keep a steady course. And able to see why we need to first of all turn inwardly when defining who we are.
They will learn all of this and never be afraid or ashamed of being who they are. They will know to embrace their own fire and though they will embrace the world standing upside down at times, or crookedly so – but who can give the whole measure or definition of crooked anyway, they will know they’re onto something good. Because when you are real, you are.