Before you were born, I would often imagine about what kind of baby you would turn out to be. I fantasized that you would be one of a kind – unique and unlike any other child that I had ever seen. I wanted my child to be an individual in his own right. I guess, all parents dream about this for their child. No wonder we go about choosing unique names for our children, the best of the things that we could offer them, education, values and comforts, each of them personalised to shape you into an individual personality that we could be proud of in the days to come.
Back then, your name was unique and unheard of. Besides being an amalgamation of the first two letters of your parents’ name, it also had a beautiful meaning. It meant fresh flowers in Konkani language. It truly denoted what we wanted you to be. Fresh and unique, like a newly bloomed flower, with interesting shapes to each petal and a fragrance that would fill our lives with bliss. And you did not disappoint us at all. You were every bit as unique as I had hoped you to be, or maybe a little more than that. It could probably be a mother’s pride that makes me say this, but I notice that appreciation for your unique qualities in every person who comes in contact with you. So probably, I am not being delusional out of blinded maternal love.
As we acknowledge this unique individuality within you and feel blessed let us also accept the fact that the way god has made you different with your own set of qualities that set you apart from other people, in the same way he has attributed that something different to each and every single living being on this earth. No matter how different and better we find ourselves to be in comparison to others, every individual is blessed with his own individual qualities that make him unique. Therefore, always be grateful about the blessings that god has showered you with but at the same time be humble enough to appreciate and acknowledge the good in others. Train yourself to spot those good qualities in a person when you interact with them. It also helps you hone your existing qualities better by getting inspired from them. You might also notice the bad qualities in them but choose to focus on the good ones to make the most out of your interactions with them. When you know how good you are it could lead to an inflated ego if not kept under check. This practice of seeing good in others also helps keep arrogance and false pride at bay.
Another thing to remember is when it comes to being original do not be fazed by what people think about you. You’re born to be different. If you change yourself only to fit into a certain mould that the society wants to see you in, you lose out on the opportunity to be yourself. Being yourself is the biggest gift you can give yourself. Nothing is more refreshing than interacting with an individual who does not need to slip behind a facade to impress you. A person who is comfortable with what he really is, taking his imperfections into stride comes across as a confident individual.
Along the years of growing up and transitioning I have adapted a few time-tested methods that help me remain true to what I am. I try and stick by these few principles that do no let me get lost in the maze of identical thought processes and personalities that majority around me follow. This herd mentality not only stops you from being analytical but also is quite restrictive in approach when we try to adapt it as per our own individual personalities. Here are a few things I swear by when it comes to being my own person:
- Let no one tell you that you’re too old to do something. If you feel like floating paper boats in puddles, do so without giving a second thought to what people think about it.
- You’re the only person who decides your personal likes and dislikes. Just because what you like is not accepted by your friend does not mean that it is not worthy of being liked and likewise. Likes and dislikes are subjective and cannot be generic ever.
- Do not get into the trend slave mode. Being updated with new trends is good, however, if you have to bend backwards to adapt that trend, it really will not help you be yourself. What you wear should look effortless yet smart on you. Be it a hairstyle, your clothes or your attitude. Keep it simple and smooth.
- Do not process any information based on hearsay. Use your logic and build your opinions based on your own understanding of the information. You have a right to hold on to your perspective.
- Keep learning. The more you learn the more you evolve. Your lessons are great deciding factors in how different you are from others.
- Do not be ashamed or guilty if your thoughts on a certain topic are different from others. Your opinions are like your signature. Unique.
- Last but not the least, be proud of what you are, no matter what you look like, what your background is like or what your academic/professional/economic standing in the society is. Do not succumb to ridicule, scorn and unjust criticism. Wear your individuality on your sleeve with your head held high.
Most of these above mentioned traits have helped me be myself all these years. Situations and circumstances changed, so did I, but only to improvise myself on what I was yesterday without changing the core personality of who I really am. From a young age, you’ve been your own person too. While I debated with you on your views on religion I admire you for having the nerve to analyse have an opinion on the same. Most kids would blindly follow things like religion and traditions, but not you. No matter how much I wish that you follow the values that we as parents have instilled in you, I’d still expect that you use your fair judgment in every sphere of your life to be true to yourself. So while you’re out there, do retain your original flavor as you assimilate a whole lot of new learnings that will only add to your uniqueness. Be good. Be you.