Have you ever tried really hard to fit in somewhere you believed that you belonged? Years ago, I was hired into a management team of women for a job I was excited about, and I tried really hard to fit in and be accepted by these image-conscious women managing prestigious urban office suites. I bought nice suits, modified my hairstyle, and even finally quit smoking after months of trying just because they hired only nonsmokers. My husband and I almost had World War III in our home trying to quit smoking and coping with the anger that emerges when giving up that nasty habit, but we did it. What energy I put into trying to be the perfect fit for that job! Needless to say I was not too happy; despite enjoying the work and my colleagues, no one is truly happy being someone they are not.
A few months after starting to work there, we traveled together to a conference. Imagine my surprise when most of them showed their true selves and I discovered I was the only one not smoking at the happy hour that evening! If I hadn’t been so busy worrying about whether I was perfect enough, I might have picked up on that a little sooner!
Everywhere we go we encounter the image police. Women can be particularly critical of other women, too. Over the years I have seen enough to know that the situation I described is not unusual. People have a tendency of working hard at putting on the appearance of looking right, acting right, having a certain amount of money and prestige and clout. Then they behave as if they expect the same of others.
The title of this article is about others not being all that they portray, but at an authentic level, each and every one of us is ‘all that’! We all need to know exactly who we are and stand in the beauty of our uniqueness. It is amazing how things begin to change when we begin showing others who we are and “teaching them how to treat us”, as Maya Angelou so eloquently describes it. When we are comfortable with our strengths and weaknesses, proud of our Divine uniqueness, others will be too. You are too precious to waste another day overlooking this simple life-changing truth.
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