The human race truly fascinates me.
If you look close enough, you’ll see that we all essentially want the same things. We all hope for the same things. We all strive for the same things. Success, love, approval, admiration, acceptance—whatever you want to call it, it all comes down to this: We want to be appreciated for who we are, even if that means cultivating the exact opposite and completely disregarding who we really are.
It’s really not too much to ask for, to be appreciated for who we really are, aside from the reality that not everyone is going to appreciate who you are or who I am. (That’s not a bitter statement; it’s just how it is.)
Life gets to us. People don’t really see us. People hurt us. People leave us. People who genuinely try to love us misuse us. And it’s here that we start thinking maybe we aren’t worth loving. We think, that perhaps we were wrong in thinking that everyone should just be appreciated for who they are. We feel foolish for just wanting to be ourselves. It starts to feel as if something is wrong with us.
Our circumstances, afflictions and reoccurring patterns begin to send the message that who we are isn’t good enough. Our demons deem that we aren’t acceptable, and our hearts grow heavy with the weight of all the things that construct our cages—rejection, abuse, abandonment etc.
And so begins the great race for appreciation: in the eyes of the desperate girl who clings to her abusive boyfriend, in the countless dollars earned by the overworked businessman, and in the endless search for the perfect car, or outfit, or—you get the picture. It simply manifests differently in the lives of everyone. Often, it requires wearing some sort of mask (the kind that keeps slipping from our face that we have to continually adjust.) We’ll find someone to imitate. We’ll find some sort of decoy. We’ll find something to reflect other than the face that actually appears when we dare to look into that framed, frightful glass fixture hanging from the wall.
It’s exhausting really, trying to prove that we’re worth the genuine appreciation that comes with loving someone. We work to prove this to “friends”, parents, significant others…anyone’s attention we can get and keep. Furthermore, the prime person we try to prove this to is ourselves. It’s a weighty task, convincing yourself you’re worth something.
But what if we just didn’t?
There’s a beautiful line in a Sara Bareilles song that says, “What if I don’t want to be like you, just because I was made to be exactly like me?”
These are beautifully, freeing words to me. It reminds me of my favorite scene in the third Chronicles of Narnia movie, when Gael tells Lucy that she wants to grow up and be just like Lucy, but Lucy responds with; “When you grow up, you should be just like you.” (I think my heart literally danced out of my chest the first time I saw that scene.)
What if we all just got that? Would we really be so concerned with success and fame? Would we still compare ourselves to other people? Would we really care all that much about finding a significant other? Would we actually just be ok with who we are for once in our lives?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for self development, character growth and everything that comes with such expansive processes, but sometimes stepping back to recall our roots, to remember the core of who we are and what we’re made of, is exactly what we need. It can give us wings.
The other day I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine. I was grumbling about having been single for a number of years (probably completely uncalled for considering my age, but I often really do feel as if my heart and soul have leapt years ahead of me,) and I was asking her to convince me that I was going to be completely fine if I never found anyone. I wanted her reassurance, and she gave me the opposite. “You’re going to find someone,” she said. “You’d almost be wasted if you didn’t. You’re too…you. Like, distinct.” I laughed this off in the conversation as if it didn’t hold meaning, but then I got to thinking.
There are over 7 billion people in the world, and yet, there are no duplicates. None. There is only one you. There is only one me. People can look like you, act like you, but they cannot be you because they aren’t you. You are you. Period.
Illustratively, the concepts of fingerprints and DNA, mere physical aspects, astound me. And the endless amount of personality combinations that exist, the soulful aspect of human being distinctions, is nearly beyond my comprehension. (Seriously, the minute I start to really think about it I’m kind of a wreck.)
I don’t know if I believe in the whole “soul mate” concept (people choose wrong people every day, and when people are willing there’s a way to make nearly anything work), but I do believe that people are uniquely made in such a way that they can naturally bring out the best (or worst) in others.
So think for a moment. If people are so uniquely made, and there are so many of us (this number growing at a fairly rapid rate), then chances are you are exactly what someone (or more) is looking for.
Anything that is the only one of its kind is unquestionably irreplaceable, and that is how you need to calculate your self worth. If you are here, what’s beating in your chest is worth unconditional, fearless appreciation. If you are alive and breathing, you are worth loving.
And sure, maybe you won’t find someone, but I think we can all agree that it happens more often than not. Either way, there’s no reason to compromise, hide or facade what you really are in the meantime. Indulge in your self-development. As long as you’re here, you’re an endless piece of artwork that won’t look exactly like anything or anyone, no matter how hard you try. So run with it.
If loneliness should creep in, fuel your heart with what sustains its life. For me, this could mean connecting to the Creator of my Heart (who understands it far better than I ever could), listening to certain songs that incite hope or re-reading the promises whispered to my heart that I was instructed to put in writing for my own human sake.
You could do these things too, or you could simply look at your fingertips for a heartfelt reminder.
Whatever you do, hold fast to you. You’re the only shot we all have at having you here.