“What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” -Carl Rogers
When I was in high school, it was trendy to be “alternative.” It was a time of Green Day, grunge, and wallet chains, and everyone and their brother did their best to blend in by pledging nonconformity.
It was an ironic time for self-expression–we were unified by our mutual declaration of individuality, underscored by an unspoken need to belong.
Though it's been a long time since I wore a thermal shirt with self-cut thumb holes, I still feel tempted on occasion to shapeshift to please people. Generally, the change is subtle–more of a gloss than a mask. Still, it's a choice that reinforces that I need to be something other than what I am.
I suspect that if we're honoring our authentic selves, we will occasionally, and maybe even often, feel rejected.
We will sense that some people don't get, understand, or appreciate us for who we really are. It's inevitable when we're being our true selves that some people will dislike what they see and judge.
Perhaps the key to accepting ourselves is accepting that it's perfectly OK if other people have negative opinions.
In fact, it's actually a positive choice to allow other people to think what they will, knowing there are plenty of people who love you, just as you are–and that you are one of those people.
Today if you feel tempted to censor yourself for fear of not being accepted, remember: It's better to be judged for something you are than to be accepted for something you're not.
Photo by beggs