Being Yourself

By Sierra Sprague, age 14


Why should I be myself when I want to be someone different?


If you are acting like someone you aren't, if you're not being yourself around people, then you are lying to them and to yourself. You will end up finding friends and getting into relationships that are based on that false personality you've created. You might get stuck in a situation where you aren't happy because you are faking your interests or your persona.

Then if you realize you're not in your right place – that you aren't happy with yourself or the friends you hang out with – and want to change, it can be really hard because everybody knows you based on a false identity. So just be yourself from the start. Avoid making life complicated. That's the simplest way, but we don't always follow it.

That's why learning to love yourself is so important. Loving what your talents are and the unique way you interact with other people are gifts God has given you. Instead of pretending to be someone you aren't, enjoy being who you are! While everybody shares the same qualities (because everybody has characteristics from God), no two people express them the same way. This doesn't make one person better than another. It just makes us all different. We all have our own ways of acting and responding to different situations. We all have individual ways of expressing God.

To express yourself, you have to love yourself. And if you love yourself, then you are expressing yourself. It's a waste of time to act like someone else because there is already one of that someone else. If you are yourself, you have so much more to offer. Being unique (and being proud of who you are) is what people love about you.

Jesus is a strong example of someone who was truly able to be himself. He knew his mission, which came from God. He was aware he was going to be crucified and resurrected. Though the crucifixion was not going to be easy, he knew the outcome was going to be worth it. If Jesus were trying to follow the crowd, he would have been concerned with fitting in so he could feel loved, and he probably would have given up his mission. Instead, he was hated and misunderstood more than loved and appreciated. But he stuck with it. He stayed true to himself and completed his mission and proved God's point and shared Christianity with the world. He always did what God created him to do. While his life wasn't easy, it was rewarding!

It's important to do things God created us to do and to do things we enjoy doing, not because it's what the majority is doing. We should be able to say with Paul, "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself…. It is the Lord who judges me" (I Cor 4:3, 5 NIV).

Last year, during a middle school meeting, my friend noticed a huge clique in the middle of the room sitting together talking. We were with our own group – which is what we liked – but it didn't seem to be "the group," so she was discouraged. One of my other friends just laughed and said, "Why does it matter if we're a part of their group or not when we have each other?" It was so true! Even if we didn't hang out with the "popular" group, we hung out with the people we loved and had fun together , so it didn't matter.

If we're like Jesus and listen to God, do what God wants us to do, and fully trust in God, then we are expressing God and being ourselves. It takes loving ourselves to be ourselves. It can be very challenging sometimes to stick up for ourselves and our rights. But in the end, we won't regret anything. Everything will come together the way God wants it to.