To Thine Own Self Be True

 

“The most important thing is to always be true to what we like.”

Author J.D. Estrada said this to me. We were chatting on Twitter about book genres and reading whatever you want regardless of what others say. This statement stuck with me for two reasons.ThoughtBubble

  1. It can be applied to many situations.
  1. Most of the time you see a quote beginning with “We should always be true to…”, you expect it to end with “who we are”. But he said “what we like”. I find that interesting.

Being true to yourself is crucial and something we tell our children to do. But how often do we ask them what they like and if they stay true to that? I understand this could be considered part of being true to who you are but the words are not the same. They’re more specific and have an entirely different focus.

“Be true to who you are” is a bit abstract for children. Asking them what they like gets you an answer. Asking them if they care what other people think of those things gets you an answer. This leads to a conversation—a way to engage them in a discussion of being true to who they are using concrete examples of what they like.

 

Be True to What You Like

Both my boys (8 and 10 years old) still love their picture books.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

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18 thoughts on “To Thine Own Self Be True

    • We definitely need this conversation in our house. How we word things around here is crucial.

      As I was finishing up this Thought Bubble, I realized that this isn’t just for kids, though. I think it’s more difficult when you’re a child to brush off what others think but, you’re right, we don’t really ever stop trying to figure out who we are.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ha! I don’t like exercise, but I still do it. 🙂 I am stubborn, and I want a hott bod (pfft!), and that’s why I do it.

    With kids, yeah, it’s hard to separate who we are from what we like. But if we are what we like, then my daughter is hot dogs and cartoons. Not a very complex person at the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmm. Hot dogs and cartoons. That’s a fun combination. 😀

      One of my boys is so beautifully self-assured. I hope he stays that way. The other…he will change what he likes depending on who is around. The wording of this statement has been so helpful in trying to get him to understand how important it is to stay true.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nina. 🙂 Yes, “there are better ways to get at the same idea…” Exactly! Taking the focus off of this abstract notion of “who are you?” and putting it on “what do you like?” has resulted in some interesting conversations around here.

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  2. Particularly good for those of us adults to remember who have internalized that what we feel obligated to do is more important than what we enjoy doing. I agree with Loni about the exercise thing, but i find the thing that most often prevents me from doing more of what I enjoy is the sense that I have obligations to other people that come before my own desires. That’s a recipe for resentment and bitterness, and it certainly doesn’t help our relationships anymore than it helps our internal well being.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Obligations. That could be another whole post. People might not like to discuss it or even admit it but, yes, this often leads to resentment. I agree it does not help our well-being and it chips away at (or destroys) healthy relationships. There has to be a balance between taking care of your responsibilities and taking care of yourself. Thanks for this insightful comment.

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  3. Awesome thoughts. I had a bit of a tug-o-war while penning my 4th (and debut) novel. It was the first time I’d let myself write anything with strong romantic elements, and it felt good. Granted, I noticed that all the old horror and fantasy elements appeared, and although I’d cast off those parts of myself, they were still there. I think we really do have to just allow ourselves to enjoy what we enjoy sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Isn’t it telling that you said you “let yourself” do something? I love that you wrote what you wanted to write. That is going to shine through in your book. (Which I still need to read. *blush*) This is perfect: “we have to just allow ourselves to enjoy what we enjoy…”

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  4. I like “Giraffes Can’t Dance”. It is a brilliant book and very well fits this post. Staying true to what you like can sometimes be difficult when you are surrounded by others with differing likes. When you are the ‘odd’ one out, you can get a hard time. I agree that staying true to your likes can help strengthen the ability to stay true to who you are. Giving in on the ‘little’ things e.g. agreeing to have pizza when you’d rather have chicken, can make you agreeable and easy to get along with and there is a place for compromise. But if one is always giving in to others and putting one’s own likes behind then it can become a problem. It is not good to always give in, to be a pushover. We need a combination of strategies and we need to choose the circumstances in which it is necessary to be ‘true’ to our likes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was wondering if someone would pick up on “Giraffes Can’t Dance”. Oh, I can count on you, Norah. I did not miss the serendipitous perfection of having that particular photo in this post. And, yes, it’s brilliant.

      So true. Compromising is a difficult lesson to teach. As you say, it is required of all of us sometimes (if we want any friends) but it can be overdone. I think it’s a behavior that can too easily become a default. Then we do have a problem. It gets tricky trying to figure out which situation calls for which action (or reaction). For now, I’d like to get these boys (especially my older one) comfortable liking whatever they like and not being peer-pressured into pretending they don’t like it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great point, Sarah! Developing children who are independent and strong enough to withstand the negativity of some peer pressure is very important. When they learn to be true to their likes, maybe then they will understand when it’s okay to compromise and when it’s not okay.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Being true to what we like…such a great take on the usual ‘what we are’ bit. You really do have me thinking with this Sarah, definitely a much better way to get a conversation going with children, indeed with us all! And I love that your boys still love their picture books…long may it be so 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it? This comment really stuck with me. (Obviously, as I’m here writing about it.) But, yes, the conversations are so much different when we ask what they like as opposed to who they are.

      Oh! Long may it be so! My 8-yr-old is all, “Whatever. I like picture books. So what.” ❤ We're working on that with my 10-yr-old. 😉

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    • True. But I don’t mind if they change what they like for themselves. I care if they change what they like for others. If one of my sons liked pink, I’d want him to feel comfortable with that and confident enough to like pink no matter what his peers said about it.

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  6. Pingback: Let’s dance! | Norah Colvin

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