Somewhere along the line, most of us develop an idea
of our ideal selves, the perfect self, the person that we
should be in order to be perfectly acceptable to everyone
all the time. We think that if we can just achieve
that self, then everything else will fall into line.
And so we go about trying to turn our lives into what we
think it should be for us as those perfect selves. I
know that when I first started teaching, there were plenty
of people who wanted to tell me who I should be as a
teacher, but it wasn't until I fully accepted myself as
the type of teacher that I am that I was able to make
positive things happen in the classroom.
For example, I used to think that I needed to be more of
an authoritarian, especially with the high school
students. It didn't work--things were never bad, but
there was just too much tension in the class. I
figured out very quickly that I needed to be the person
that I was--someone there working with the kids, not
teaching at them--in order for them to be able to respond
to me authentically. How could I possibly expect
them to be authentic with me when I was being less than
authentic with them?
I constantly tell new teachers to be true to who they are,
because kids sense very quickly when they're trying to be
something other than who they are. And when they do
accept who they are and act as such, the kids respect
that, and things in the classroom go much more
smoothly. We aren't all teachers, of course, but we
do all have the choice to act according to our authentic
nature or act in some other ways--and when we finally
accept our authentic nature and live it fully and
passionate, then we open the doors for good things to
happen in our lives. But not until then.
Why does it sometimes seem easier to act as if we were
someone else, rejecting our true thoughts, feelings, and
Why might it be that change doesn't tend to happen as long
as we're trying to be something we're not?
Who are you, really? Have you accepted that reality?