U 2 B U
 
tom walsh

  

We often hear people tell each other "I'm glad that you are who you are."  But we also often see those people turn around and try to change that person into someone else, someone that they wish that person was.  Spouses try to change their husbands or wives by criticizing their behavior or their taste or their words; parents try to change their kids by criticizing them or punishing them or providing rewards that they think their kids can't resist; coaches try to change their players; bosses try to change their employees; teachers try to change their students; and on and on and on the human drama goes.

Personally, I want you to be you.  I hope that you stay true to who you are because it's your uniqueness that makes the world a richer place.  It's your perspective that opens my mind, and your contributions to the world that brighten my world.  You are who you are, and as soon as I try to turn you into what I wish you were or what I think you should be, then I'm expressing my dissatisfaction with a beautiful creation of the same Creator who gave us mountain ranges and snowflakes and sunsets and the song of the lark.

It's easy to want to change people.  After all, it's easy for us to convince ourselves that we see the world and other people from an "objective" perspective and that we can see what other people should do in order to make themselves happier or their lives more fulfilling.  That woman is no good for you, and your job is making you miserable, and your behavior is sabotaging your chances, and your lack of effort is keeping you from advancing.

But perhaps you need that woman in your life right now because of what you're going to learn from her.  Perhaps you need another few months of a bad relationship in order to learn truly what a good relationship can be like.  Maybe it's not the job at all, but the attitude that you bring to work, that's making you miserable--and if that's the case, then it could be that you need to be at that job in order to learn the best kind of attitude for you to bring to a job.  Or maybe the job really is awful, and you need to learn yourself what it means to take a risk and leave the job in order to search for something else.  And could it be that you don't give as much effort as I do in one field because you're giving much more effort than I ever could at something else?

I'm truly glad that you are you, and I truly want you to be you--not a reflection of what I wish you to be.  I want you to do the things you want to do, and I hope that you'll make the decisions that you feel are appropriate, rather than the decisions that I think you should make.  And if I give you advice and you ignore it, then that's just fine--I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a contribution to your life in the form of advice.

One of the most beautiful aspects of our world is the incredible diversity among which we live.  But even given that diversity, we so often seem to want to do our best to turn other people into our visions of what they should be rather than what they truly are.  This is simply wrong--a disservice to the world, to the people themselves, and to ourselves.

I simply cannot know what belief system you need to follow in order to become the best version of yourself that you can be.  I cannot know what mistakes you need to make in order to learn what you need to learn.  You can't know what forces drive me the most strongly, which muses sing the most strongly in my heart of hearts, which visions and views give me that incredible surge of appreciation that feels like my heart filling with splendor.

And I want to let go of my expectations of you, to let you be just who you are.  I want you to be you.  And when you are, our world is a much richer place for just that very fact.

  
    


 
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