Do you find it easy to be yourself? Halloween is this week and I suspect you may be facing your own Shakespearean dilemma.
Whether you should be spooky or silly, hero or bum, store-bought glitzy or home-made clever? The one thing you don’t want to do is to be yourself.
This year an estimated 41 million people will trick-or-treat, and spend $2.5 billion on costumes for adults, children and pets. (Yes, pets.) Each trickster or treater will haul home more than a pound of candy.
For young children, Halloween is perhaps the first time they’ve had to consider whether they want to be themselves or someone else. A weighty topic when you still have to hold Mom’s hand even in a parking lot and Dad carries you on his shoulders when your little legs can’t keep up. You’ve barely figured out that you’re actually a person in your own right, not an extension of Mom, and here they’re asking you: who do you want to be? Who do you want to pretend to be? What clothing do you want to put on so that you can pretend to be someone else, not yourself?
To Be Yourself
The question I ponder is not who do I want to pretend to be for a few hours one night out of the year, but who am I the rest of the year? When am I the real me and when am I the pretend me? Where’s the line that divides diplomacy from dishonesty? Gracious from obsequious? When do I cross over from letting others help me to being annoyingly needy? How can I be healthily self-sufficient but not be detrimentally independent? I want to be kind to others and authentic to myself in my interactions with others. I do not want to be toxic to others and counterfeit in my words and deeds.
What about you? What choices do you make? How do you know whether you’ve hit the mark or missed it? What do you want to be, or not to be? Tell me.