I was at a food court in a Guelph Ontario mall the other day and I suddenly had the odd feeling I didn’t know where I was.
I looked up and down the mall and noticed that 75% of all the stores were franchises. I literally could have been in any mall in North America and have no idea what city I was in. How many malls are just the same?
How did I know I was in Guelph?
There was a certain element of security in this recognizable environment but at the same time I felt a level of dullness. That sameness had an unconscious pacifying effect on me. I really wanted the stimulation of something that was genuinely unique and different.
Being a bit of a philosopher I thought how like myself are these malls… sometimes I think that if make myself like others, others will like me. Like begets like, right?
There is a mistaken logic here.
I reason that by being similar to others, they will like me and when they like me I’ll feel more comfortable to be myself. But in reality it doesn't work that way. I have to hide my uniqueness. In the end I don't get to be truly me.
Is it not better to have people like me for being me than people like me for being a reasonable facsimile of someone else? …or even dislike me for being me rather than people like me for being somebody else.
It seems to me that sameness is a trap.
It’s a recipe for loneliness.
When we try to be the same we make our uniqueness and our inner magnificence wrong and it stagnates inside. In the gospel of St Thomas it says: “If you bring forth what is in you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you what you do not bring forth will destroy you”.
I’d say this is true because every time I see someone develop some new ability, self-awareness or gift they always become more alive…and I just want more of it. I don’t know about you but I just love it. I want more of what is authentic, real and unique in others. Their inner gift, when it comes out is a gift to me.
So how do we get to be more ourselves? Well to be honest it’s a certainly a life-time journey of self-discovery and I have some retreats that you can explore below but I also have a unique solution:
Go down to Staples and get one of those certificates with the gold embossing on it.
- Get someone to write in calligraphy at the top: License to Be Myself.
- Write your name in the middle.
- At the bottom write “Issued by the Grand PooBaa”.
- Carry it with you and whenever anybody looks at you weird for being yourself or wants you to be like somebody else, pull out the certificate and say “Hey dude, I got a license here says I can be myself. I’m legit!”
That should do it.
What do you think?
Hey maybe you could even dress up as the grand PooBaa herself and sell them at one of those kiosks in the mall?
Retreat Leader, Speaker, Spiritual mentor and Author of Awakening the Guru in You
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