The other day, Alli Worthington posted this tweet:
Be who you want to be, not who others say you ‘should’ be.
— Alli Worthington (@alli) July 30, 2014
It got me thinking. Why wouldn’t I try to be the person I want to be? How did we ever get to the point of trying to meet the expectations of others?
So often in our lives we try to conform to expectations others have for us. Parents, teachers, pastors, friends, spouses, etc. Even if the expectations aren’t verbalized, somehow our fallen minds end up internalizing expectations we believe others have of us.
As a parent of two teenagers, I have to ask myself if I’m telling them what they “should” be. My oldest son is a senior in high school. He’s looking at college next year and majoring in physics. Did I tell him he should be go into physics? I’m pretty the answer is “NO”.
But, have I encouraged him to investigate other interests?
When he was younger, he was a prolific artist. And, quite good. He doesn’t draw anymore. Why? I’m pretty sure his mom and I haven’t discouraged him from it. Did someone else? Did society tell him he shouldn’t look to art as a career?
Don’t get me wrong. I love that he has a passion for math and science. He’s excited about physics! This is good. What if he changes his mind after the first year? I’m sure the dollar signs in my head would tell me to be upset, but hopefully the loving parent in me would encourage him to pursue his passion, whatever it may turn to.
The world tells us we should be many things.
I’ve been a salesman for over 17 years. Am I stuck with this identity? I hope not.
As I attempt to change this identity, I do find at times I’m being told to stay where I am. Why change?
This past weekend I was away from home at a retreat. I was introduced to a few people. One person asked me what I do? Of course the obvious came out of my mouth, “I’m a car salesman.” But!!! I hesitated. I ALMOST said something else.
“I’m a writer.”
Those are the words I wish I had the courage to say. Those are the words I SHOULD say.
Society tells me I “should” be a salesman. I’m ready to change my identity. Are you?
What are you told you “should” be?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments!