I want to begin with why I named this article Love Thy Self. The second commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the simplest, yet most misunderstood commandment of them all. To love yourself as you love your neighbor is a simile. To do something like or as you do something means that those things should be the same, equal, or at least similar. To love thy neighbor as you love thy self means that the love you have for someone else and for yourself should be the same. Not less, not more- the same.
Commandment Six: Love Thy Individuality
If you don’t know what I mean when I say individuality, I mean uniqueness. This one is difficult because we live in a “keep up with the Jones” world. It’s always so easy to just follow along with our peers than to branch out and do our own thing.
When I was in school, I was always different from other girls. I wasn’t very social and I wasn’t “boy crazy”. I had my moments, don’t get me wrong, but for the most part I was very inward. I’m much more outspoken than I used to be, but I’m still drawn in and “standoffish” so to speak.
I had people call me names and laugh at me because I was different. I was actually very girly and prissy. I wore slacks or short skirts, I wore makeup since the age of eleven, and I wore heels or flip flops just about every day. There were people that asked me, “Why do you dress like that?” Once, someone called me “Maybelline model” and “Barbie” because I wore makeup religiously. I was even called “clown” and “drag queen”!
What makes you popular differs with every school, but the challenges of staying true to yourself is always there. Some of us have interests that others may consider strange or out of the norm. Some of us like different types of fashion or different types of music.
The way I stayed true to myself is by carefully observing the ones who were thought to be cool or popular. And what I found was that I didn’t want to be popular because the popular kids at my school were dumb. They didn’t make good grades, they got in trouble a lot, and they were always caught in some kind of nasty rumor about what they did during the weekend. They had a bad reputation.
But on the flip side, they were always so well liked, or shall I say well treated by the vast majority of the people in the school. I don’t really think that everybody really liked them–they just kissed up to them so they can become popular, too.
That’s another thing I refused to do. I wasn’t going to stroke their ego just so I can get some of their spotlight. It wasn’t that important to me.
In order to fully love your individuality, you have to develop something called pride. Too much of it is a bad thing, but the right amount of it can carry you through a lot of social issues and peer pressures. Taking pride in yourself means believing that you are divinely special. I always believed that everyone has a specific purpose in life. When we imitate others, we diminish our own qualities and values.
The qualities, character, and gifts that we are born with go to the waste side when we ignore them and mimic others. The most fascinating people are the people who go against the currents and do their own thing. Let’s look at three big female entertainers: Lady Gaga, Rihanna, & Beyonce. Someone once told Lady Gaga that she would never win a Grammy– she’s already won two. Rihanna was told not to change her hair color and length by her record label– she chopped it off and colored it black, and started a new trend. Beyonce was told that she didn’t have one hit on her first album-turns out she had five.
Right now, all of those women are three of the most successful, most liked female entertainers. Had they did what others expected of them, they probably would have not had an impact in music, or in Rihanna’s case, in fashion.
It takes thick skin to embrace your individuality. It’s hard to stay true to yourself. But hang in there. Being a “drag queen” and a “clown face” paid off. I now have my own cosmetic business. Cha Ching!!!
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