He shuffled his feet and looked nervous sitting in the chair that he was in. I had forgotten about those large spectacle frames that he now wore as well as just how skinny he really was. Come to think of it, he was just ten years old right now and so much of life still lay ahead of him. He also had a deep frown on his face that just didn’t seem to suit the good natured boy, who I knew, existed underneath.
“Why don’t you smile more? You seem to have such a sweet face and those dimples of yours are a gift you ought to utilize?” I said.
He stopped and stared at me. “How do you know about my dimples?” he asked quite aloud. I could sense that he was getting quite frightened.
“I just do. But please don’t feel so shy I just want to talk to you” I said.
I looked at him again and asked “Do you love who you are?”
He stared back. He looked down for a few moments and then replied in a low voice saying “No.”
I waited for him to look up again and then began with the topic I wanted to share. “I understand your feelings but why don’t you tell me why you don’t love who you are.”
He seemed nervous but spoke quite quickly “Well for starters I’m not very smart, I haven’t done well in school and even though I try not to hurt people they hurt me in so many ways.” He paused and with a great deal of effort continued. “The kids think I’m a freak because I’m different and always exclude me from everything. Girls don’t like me because I’m not handsome enough. I don’t feel I’m worth all that much. I really wish I could be like some of the more popular kids I know. Or better yet I just wish I could be someone else…. someone important then maybe people would love me. And maybe…..maybe I could feel happy with who I am.” He glanced out the window and then turned back to me.
“I see.” I said. “It’s clear that you do have low self-esteem but I think it’s important for you to realize that you shouldn’t dismiss who you are. You need to give yourself time to develop and grow.” I paused for a second and then continued. “If you try to be someone else and not aim to explore and find out who you are then it’s clear you’ve been sold on what so many others have bought into, which is being a member of Copy Cat Inc.”
“What’s Copy Cat Inc.?” he asked.
“Well think of Copy Cat Inc. as an organization that most people apply to working for their whole lives, either knowingly or unknowingly. It is essentially a place where people, both children and adults copy partially or completely, the behaviour, manner or physical likeness of others, who they regard as being superior to themselves. They think that such imitation would also make them as superior or successful, though it doesn’t stop there. Many adults try to emulate or copy the work others have done such as songs, books, business presentations, movies, activities etc. They do this because they feel inferior about themselves or are so inspired by something someone else has done that they deeply desire to have their own version of that person’s output. Sometimes, it could just be sheer laziness and them not wanting to make the effort do things of their own. It’s sad, really, because they never try to run their own race and find out just what their own life is capable of achieving and what unique sets of masterpieces their life can create. More so, because they see other people or groups praising one particular individual either through attention, love or even fanaticism….sorry I mean almost like angry fan craze, it can make those who feel marginalized by the rest, want to imitate that perceived outlook of success. But don’t ever do that. Stay true to who you are. It’s hard but the way to do that is to run your own race and measure your success against what you feel makes you happy and complete. It is true at your age you need to please many others such as family and friends but never let go or forget about what matters most to you. Most of all remember that those people throughout history, who strove with a deep sense of curiosity and passion to be all they wanted to be, while also observing things in other people and their environment that could help them discover more about themselves and use those discoveries to achieve further greatness, are always remembered. Aim to be yourself and you will see that in the long run, that is the only way to be!”
“The famous writer Oscar Wilde is remembered for many wise words but it is his quote on the self that I personally love, which is: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken!” A simple meaning but one that quite a few people never grasp or are ever able to achieve.” I said while smiling and looking at him.
He too looked at me and said finally “Ok I will try to see who I can become but will you be there to remind of this lesson that you’ve taught me from time to time?”
“Absolutely! I will always be there. Never doubt that.” I said. I crossed over from my desk and gave him a hug. “At all times, you need to remember that you must always fight hard to be yourself and not a member of Copy Cat Inc.”
“And how will I find you from here on?” he said smiling back. Those dimples did add a real extra element to his smile.
“Anytime you want to find me look no further than the mirror you see each morning. I’ve been there right from the start and I will continue to do so, if you let me!”
Next Take please!