One of the greatest and most succinct pieces of advice–“Be yourself!”–also is inherently contradictory. It both attempts to affect another person’s behavior while simultaneously advising against being influenced by other people.
This is essential humanity. We are born dependent. We are social creatures our whole lives. We fear dying alone . . .
Yet we are strongest as full individuals, unique and authentically autonomous.
The tension between these two opposing ideals defines so much of the human experience. We must love ourselves, love others, and be loved–a truly monumental task to set ourselves to.
I say this knowing you probably shouldn’t listen to me or cannot hear me among the million voices in the opinionated crowd. But it is who I am . . .