I wanted to address an issue that honestly I don’t think is very important, but I think will greatly help people in both their professional and personal lives. I hope you won’t count this as some ramblings from some young whippersnapper and really try to take it to heart if it applies to you.
What feels like a long time ago in a not so far away land (the South End of Columbus), I was a young man who was trying to fit in. In fact, I tried to fit in so much that I was actually being fake.
I went to high school at Marion-Franklin, and was living in neighborhoods that predominantly embraced the American rap culture. In order to fit in, I would wear tall t-shirts, baggy jeans, and high-top Nike’s. I would use the relevant slang of the time and even mimic an accent that sounded more like a rapper’s. I would do things that others were doing, even though I didn’t like some of those things or didn’t think they were beneficial to me. It was a lot of work, and in the long-run, it didn’t benefit me. No one liked me more for it, and even some saw through my façade and disliked me more.
I know many of my readers probably can’t relate directly to this scenario, but there is some relevancy here. I see many people trying very hard to fit in. They’re keeping up with trends, picking up habits and things that they don’t seem to be comfortable with, and overall doing things that I can tell aren’t things that go well with their character and personality. If this is you, I only have one piece of advice: be yourself.
Anyone who knows me now knows that I am not the same person that I described above (I still enjoy a smaller portion of hip hop, but it’s much more reflective of my beliefs and personality). I decided one day to stop faking and just be me after seeing others that were genuine. They looked free and happy, because they were content in their own skin, and that’s what I wanted. So, I started listening to music I liked, regardless of what others thought of it. I wore clothes that I liked and were more functional. I even stopped talking like other people, and just started speaking the way I thought was right, even if I sounded ‘uncool’.
In the long-run, the people that cared about those things walked out of my life. However, the people that stayed are people that actually care about me, and won’t be swayed into thinking less of me so easily. These are the people I want in my life. I also felt free to say and wear what I thought was appropriate, not tied down with trends and spending time (and whole lots of money) shopping for the latest fashion. I felt free.
There’s obviously some exceptions, such as in a professional setting. However, that’s for another post.
Take this as you will, but I hope it will help someone. Thanks for reading!