All of us are so afraid of making mistakes. We focus on what others will think, on how embarrassing our mistakes will be, and we become afraid. I find myself not doing things, or writing things, often because I am worried of what others will think. I am sometimes afraid to be deemed “weird”, even though I know so often that I AM weird, and that is my gift.

The other day, my son came home from school with a book he chose from the library. I told him I was excited to read it and he quickly exclaimed that he actually did not like the book. Confused, I asked why not. He then explained that his friend had told him that it was a dumb book. He had actually tried really hard to exchange it for another, but it was too late. Because of this, he was no longer excited to read it with me; and according to him, that book was not cool.

This immediately sparked a conversation about being “cool” and about being different. Before his friend had said anything about the book, he had believed that it was really cool. It was about bugs, ants specifically, and he loves bugs. I explained this and reminded him of a truth that I sometimes also forget – that if we were all the same, this world would be quite boring.

For the most part, people try to fit into the norms of modern society. And for the most part, because of this, people are unhappy. Until we can fully be ourselves, and know that who we are is okay, we cannot be happy in this world. We cannot be okay with others, if we are not okay with ourselves. And we cannot love others, if we do not love ourselves. Being different is key to bringing change into this world – new inventions, new thought, new fads, new ways of living and of eating. All of these are brought about by someone with the courage to bring in new ideas, without fear of what others will think.

So, that night, I taught this lesson to my son, and made it clear that he IS “cool” no matter what he wears, or chooses to read. We had a great time reading the book, and I’m sure we will read it again before he has to return it. But, I am also teaching this same lesson to myself, and I hope to others as well.

Be yourself. Say what you want to say freely, and do what you want to do. I guarantee, that the only people that will talk down about you are those that are not happy with their own lives. People who are content and happy with who they are do not have the energy to put others down. They are too busy using their energy to bring themselves up.

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