Sunday, November 7, 2010

To Thine Own Self Be True

   There are several levels of daring to be different.  The one I mean, is the one often phrased as "Be yourself".  Some of you might be thinking, "well duh, of course I'm me, who else would I be???"

   But some people sometimes believe that they need to hide their real feelings, hopes, fears, etc., for various reasons.  They may want to impress someone, "fit in" with the "in crowd", etc.

   Sometimes this can be okay, or even good.  Hiding your fear, for whatever reason, can help you face whatever it is you're afraid of.  This is often key to conquering your fear.  Even then, though, you may as well admit it.  At the very least, that makes it easier to get help.

   Often, though, the pretense is all a sham, to no real useful purpose.  You wind up essentially lying to the world, including your friends, family, and colleagues.  Like any other lie, you will not be able to keep it going forever -- you will be stressed by trying to remember what version of the story you told to whom, and you will eventually slip and get caught.  The consequences can vary widely, but in any case, as usual, honesty is indeed the best policy... including being honest to your nature.

   On the other claw, don't take "daring to be different" too far, by being different just for the sake of being different.  That's just as fake, and therefore just as wrong and un-excellent, as being untrue to your nature.

   That said, though, perhaps you don't like your nature, and sincerely wish to change it.  That's a whole 'nother story, which perhaps I'll address in a future post.

   (As a completely irrelevant addition: the first time I recall hearing the title phrase, was on an episode of Gilligan's Isle.  For whatever reason, the castaways decided to do a musical production of Hamlet, set to the music from Carmen.  For many years thereafter, until I read Hamlet and saw Carmen, I associated The Toreador's Song with Polonius's advice to Laertes.)