It can take a long time to work out just who you are and to have the confidence to state without apology or explanation, ‘This is who I am.’ I love the Vanessa Amorosi song, of this name because the message of accepting yourself as you are is so important .It is expressed well in this song and I particularly like the following part,
‘I don’t care if I’m fat,
Or if you think my clothes are bad,
‘cos I can go to sleep at night, I’m a good person and I’ll get by.
Well it’s alright to be myself,
Now I’ve learned to stand
Well it’s ok to be just who I am
I’ve spent years really hating me
Longing to be friends, now I hope that you can understand
This is who I am.’
There is much emphasis on physical appearance in modern western society. Yes, it is important to try to live a healthy lifestyle but too much importance is placed on looks. There are times we need to conform to a dress code. At other times, we should feel free to express our individuality through the clothes we wear. Some like to dress in an understated classic style. Others prefer to express themselves with flair and colour. Does it matter if others think our ‘clothes are bad’? Whilst we need to be culturally aware to avoid offence, we should feel confident to choose the clothes we feel physically and emotionally comfortable with.
If we act in accordance with our personal values we will be able to ‘sleep at night’. Yes, sometimes we make mistakes and do or say things we later regret. That is a part of being human. It is important not to dwell on things we see as mistakes and just get on with living.
Many of us were brought up to try to be what someone else wanted us to be. We may have tried to be what our parents or teachers wanted us to be. This may have affected our personality or influenced our choice of career. Sometimes parents want us to follow in their footsteps. Other times they want us to experience success to a greater degree than they did. They may want us to avoid the mistakes they made. Although their motives may have been good, we all have the right to be who we are and live our own lives.
The song expresses the desire to be who you are, not what someone else wants. As we grow older it may be a partner who tries to influence who we are. They may criticise our looks, values, tastes or habits. It can be difficult to stand up for yourself if you tend to be a ‘people pleaser’. If you change yourself to please one person, someone else will think you should be a different way. When it comes down to it, you need to know your own values, what is important to you and follow that path. It can take some time to work this out because there are so many influences from family, friends, television and other media.
It is not just what other people think and say about us that is a problem, it is what we think about ourselves. That inner critic can be hard to silence. We may not hate ourselves as such but many of us battle with accepting and loving ourselves as we are, faults and all. Think of a plank of timber. It is the knots, the little holes and imperfections that give it ‘personality’. It is the same with us. Often we are too critical of ourselves and would be happier if we simply said, ‘This is who I am.’