11 June, 2012

WHO ARE YOU... REALLY?

"It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless automat of characters."

GONE GIRL
By Gillian Flynn

I'm about to embark on a new adventure: teaching theatre at an all-girls private school. The theatre part won't really be new, but the all-girls private school part definitely will be. The school's motto is Esse Quam Videri: To Be Rather Than To Seem. It is a reminder to encourage the girls to be their true selves, which also means discovering their true selves, and not just putting on the mask of who they think they should be. That motto has made me think a bit about Who I'm Truly Being, rather than Who I'm Seeming to Be.

The conflict of fully embracing Who You Are and not feeling the need to Seem To Be the person that other people might want you to be is probably a familiar snag for many of us. Quite often I can judge myself through others' eyes (or at least how I think those other people's eyes might see me). I wonder if I am living up to the seemingly perfect idea of A Good Wife, or the fairy tale of the seemingly Perfect Daughter-in-Law, or the all too elusive Always Wonderful Mother.

There are portrayals of these manufactured ideals looming large in our society. Movie characters who seem to be able to hold it all together as a mother of three while also always looking fabulous and baking cakes to perfection. Magazines upon magazines with glossy covers sharing tips on how to Look and Feel Great, how to Dress Fashionably for Less, and how to Have It All (and great hair, too!). There's even a TV show where the title says it all: The Good Wife.

How are we, as normal and real human beings, to live up to those outrageous standards of what seems to be perfection? The short answer: we can't. Those standards are outrageous. And I believe we can only be truly happy when we are truly ourselves. I also believe this is the only way that others will fully love us - when they're loving the Real us. Not a compilation of characteristics that we think should make up the Perfect Person.

We must strive to be Who We Really Are. We must take care of ourselves and look deeply in our souls so we can figure out how To Be Rather Than To Seem.

For more quotes collected from this book, and others, visit Borrowing Wisdom.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL to read and discuss as a member of the online book club From Left to Write. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own. Click here to purchase your own copy of this book.

4 comments:

  1. i think as a blogger we have to work extra hard at being rather than seeming. it is particularly easy to write a post that makes me seem something totally different than what i really am...

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  2. Anonymous05 July, 2012

    Do men have the same outrageous standards of perfection?

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  3. Anonymous20 July, 2012

    Thanks Rach... Great blog and good food for thought... I know you will help those girls look into their souls to find out who they are... Hope you get a minute to relax... Love you xoxo mom

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