For the last six months, my 4-year-old has been fascinated with squids. We read squid books, look at every single squid image posted on Google, and draw squids constantly. He even has asked for a squid birthday party and squid birthday cake. Why squids? No idea. So it came to no surprise when a few weeks ago he said he wanted to be a squid for Halloween. That is until two days ago when he said he now wanted to be Batman. My son knows nothing about Batman. Nothing. Except that his two friends are dressing up as Batman for Halloween. After months with nothing but squids on his little mind, he instantly changes his mind to follow his friends. I know he is four and I can’t read too much into this but my mind has been spinning.
How often does this same thing happen to us? What would our world be like if we weren’t afraid to be who we really are?
I read a quote by Henri Matisse recently that said, “Creativity takes courage.” It takes courage to step out of the norm and to be you without caring what others think. I want to take Matisses’ quote one step further and say that being honest takes courage. Confidence, loving, authenticity, and accepting yourself and others also takes courage.
I’ve started applying this concept to my life. How am I allowing others to influence me and how does it affect how I live? My heart sort of breaks when I think how much the world misses out when we choose to fit in rather than stand out.
I don’t want to suggest that all aspects of influence are negative. People, media and culture can have a very positive effect on us if used in the right way. Our eyes can be opened to wonderful things because of the influence of others. Today, however, I’m choosing to focus on being true to you. Author Sandra Magsamen wrote, “What if you just did it your own way? No rules, no right or wrong, just what you think is beautiful.”
I commend anyone who takes a chance despite ridicule, difficulty and a possibility of failure… but do it anyway. This comes in the form of starting a new company, joining a karate class, sponsoring a child in Africa, adult braces, getting the epidural or going back to school. Even writing a blog post that is personally meaningful takes courage. And yes, dressing up as a squid does too.