“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
I love that quote.
And how true it is. Our entire lives, from the moment we can comprehend human speech all the way through young adulthood, we are told we are special. We are told that there is no one else in the world that is exactly like us. No one has the exact same fingerprints, no one has the exact same DNA, even identical twins. We’re all different.
Except we’re not.
Especially now. We live in a generation where it’s all already been done. Hollywood, books, music, fashion, life…all been done. So we try to recycle and remake our society‘s culture, try to recreate the past in a collective mash-up of old and what we think to be new. We strive so hard to be that special kind of different that we ultimately lose touch with reality. Our desire for uniqueness has bred a generation of narcissists who are more interested in their imagined self-importance. And yet…Most of us don’t live a single unique moment in our lives.
We spend most of our time mirroring others, gauging others’ opinions of us and striving to be liked. How many women follow the actions of the Kardashians and other “reality” shows with rapt attention? How many of us spend painstaking hours following the latest trends and fashions in Hollywood, so that we can all look like generic re-creations of our favorite celebrities? How many of us regurgitate what we read in the newspaper or saw on the news and try to pass off as our own intellect? How many of us hide behind others’ words and try to make them our own, either through repetition or through our daily actions?
We all do. We mimic each other as a way of safely assimilating into society, because we all want to belong. It’s part of what makes us inherently human. We need company, and we need to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of community. The ones that think outside of the metaphorical box are thought of as weird, that there must be something wrong with the way they are wired because society doesn’t behave like that. We blend seamlessly into the background and let the ones who are “weird” really do all the living. We would rather be a community of muted shades of gray rather than change the world with our own brightness. We all tread lightly on the surface of life just so that we have a full table surrounding us on Dollar Draft Night.
My parting thought to you this morning is this: I want you, after reading this post, to ask yourself what you’ve done lately to break out of that metaphorical box of sameness and positively rock the boat. I want you to think of one positive thing that you can do today to live a life not of mimicry, not of quotations, but of your own thoughts, your own actions. What is one thing that you want to do for you, and not for the other seven billion lives on this planet? And once you think of it, please do it…because, well, we are all different, and it’s in rocking the societal boat that we can celebrate our uniqueness.
The world was changed by those who thought outside of the box.