“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”
Sounds like an average inspirational quote that someone would caption their Instagram selfie with, right? That’s what I first thought when I read it, but do me a favor: read it again, and I mean, really read it.
This quote is full of POWER. In only a few short words, it captures a topic that I think we all struggle with at one point or another: our identity.
Websters dictionary defines identity as “the distinguishing character or personality of an individual”. There’s one word in that definition that particularly stands out to me; did you catch it too? Distinguishing. What sets YOU apart from everyone else? When people think of you, what is the one word that comes to mind?
I was very curious about this so I did a little experiment and asked my friends, family, and followers on social media this exact question. A few of my answers?
Strong. Godly. Resilient. Positive. Radiant. Adventurous. And the word I got most…drumroll please…sunshine!
Now don’t get me wrong, my point in this is not to brag about myself in any way. I am a happy person but life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. I’d like to say that I walk around throwing glitter everywhere and singing angelic melodies, but that’s just not how it is sometimes. I get angry, I get sad, I get disappointed. But my identity? Who I am deep inside? I think my answers speak for that.
Now back to the quote! We live in a world where we are constantly being told who we should be, what we should wear, how we should act. The problem with this is that the world tells us that we should all be the same. Girls are skinny, boys are muscular, you get good grades and have nice teeth. You go to college, get married, have three kids and live in a house with a white picket fence. Sounds pretty boring, don’t ya think? We would all be robots; exact replications of each other. No diversity, no uniqueness, no differences. And now my point, no sense of identity.
So what is YOUR identity? Who are YOU deep inside? Forget who your friends want you to be or who your parents expect you to be, who are YOU? It’s a scary question, isn’t it? It requires us to dig down deep inside and examine the core of who we are. But let me tell you something, whoever that person is, he or she is amazing. Irreplaceable. One in a million.
I lied. ONE IN 7 MILLION! There are 7 million people on this planet and not one of us is the same. So, why do we all try to be? You like rock music? Sweet. Your favorite color is black? Awesome. You’re loud? Quiet? Opinionated? Sensitive? Have a quirky sense of humor? THAT’S FANTASTIC. And it’s what makes you…well, YOU.
Find an old picture of yourself when you were a kid. Yes, the kind taken with an actual camera. It may be faded or torn or stuffed somewhere under your bed but drag that baby out. Now look at that face. Pure innocence. There’s something so beautiful about looking at childhood pictures because that’s who you really are when it comes down to it. That’s you before the world told you who you should be. I’m looking at my picture right now and I see a freckly faced, toothless little girl who isn’t scared of anything. I see a Christ follower, a daughter, a friend. I see an overcomer, a dreamer, a listener. I see someone who is strong and someone who is not afraid to be herself. I see me. Now it’s your turn. Look at your picture. Do you remember that person? Are you still that person? Find them, accept them, love them. That’s you. And you, my friend, are amazing.
XOXO Tate ❤