In a culture that is inundated with messages of I am free to be me, I have to ask – are we truly authentic to ourselves, or do we fall victim to trying to fit into a mold that wasn't meant for us? Brooke Wesley, therapist, author of Hungry to be Whole – and just overall awesome woman – coined a term I love to quote often:
“Why would you want to fill a mold, when you can be the mold?”
When I was in college, I was going through a tough spot with a coach who wasn’t very supportive, leaving me to question whether I should change to appease this man and fit his mold. My roommate/teammate left a poem laying on my bed one day, which to this day, continues to serve as a mantra for who I am and who I want to be. My favorite line from Marianne Williamson's, “Our Deepest Fear”:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?”
When we catalogue the attributes that we believe makes one desirable, are we perhaps even getting it from the source? Many women dream of the day that they might draw the attention of an attractive, successful suitor. However, society has led us to envision this delicate, meek girl where perhaps this might be the exact opposite of what makes us attractive.
Gaston fell to this spell by the beautiful Belle being a young lady not settling for what was expected by village patrons. A worldly woman aspiring to be fulfilled by soaking in sights, filling her brain with the power of knowledge and entrusting in her kindness as her best beauty asset. BUT even Belle fell to the cruel comments said by others. Belle asked, “Papa, do you think I am odd?”
How about our authentic relationships with others? Being genuine means allowing others to see your vulnerability and making no apologies for you being you. This also means never holding back what makes you yearn from deep down in the gut to be the incredible person you are. Reminding me of the Sex & City movie where Samantha leaves her boyfriend as she feels she is compromising who she truly is to keep him happy. Samantha was one lady who had no qualms about being brilliant, gorgeous, talented or fabulous (and, if you haven’t already noticed, I was a HUGE Sex & the City fan).
Let’s look at the opposite of delicate and meek – strong. Or, perhaps strength is not a powerful enough word; empowerment may be the best descriptor of what we seek within. Empowerment is taking that pit in your stomach and turning your face to stone when your child comes to you frightened when all you really want to do is have a meltdown. Empowerment is trusting to God that his plan will have a landing even if that includes some off-roading at times. Embodiment is a representation of strength never taking “no” for an answer so that you can leave this world with at least “no regrets” that you didn’t try.
My hope for you after reading this – take your deepest fear and turn it into your brightest light. And, if need be, don’t hesitate to wave that freak flag proudly! Remember God broke the mold when he made you.