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Monday, October 27, 2014

Wearing Someone Else's Clothes


When I was in the corporate world and received my first important promotion, I went to a tailor and had five suits made that looked like men's suits. I even wore some of them with a jaunty kind of feminine tie. Fortunately the suits looked rather good on me, but that phase of my wardrobe did not last very long as I soon realized I did not have to wear men's clothes to do what was - then - considered to be a man's job.

In this post, however, I'm not talking about that kind of dressing. Another kind of wearing someone else's clothes happens when you take on the characteristics and mannerisms, the personality traits, the beliefs, and the way of behaving of another human being. It may start out because you admire someone. It may begin because you wish to emulate what they have done in order to get there yourself.

But there is a great distance between emulating someone's proactive behavior in order to achieve a goal and actually taking on that person's characteristics because you have not given your own being enough importance, or, what may be even worse, because you have not come to know and appreciate yourself to any extent.

Back in the day women would often take on their husband's political and religious opinions. In conversations (and I remember hearing this phrase often in while talking with friends in the early 70's), many sentences would begin with 'my husband says that ...' or 'Johnny believes that ...' or 'Bill says we should ...'. It's not hard to grasp that this happened in part because these women gave little weight to their own opinions (which again, in part formed the tapestry of the patriarchal social paradigm that was in the throes of major change).

But in our present world this is often seen in the way many of us take on the opinions of a majority - opinions you have not necessarily examined and thought out properly. Frequently this happens despite the fact that in your gut (which is, after all, the second brain) you may feel another opinion is more correct, but you don't want to stand out from the crowd. Or you may behave a certain way (consuming alcohol beyond what you really want to consume, for example, or buying more articles of clothing than you really want or need) in order to fit in.

A good part of this happens due to a lack of living an aware life. The more aware you are, the more you will either give weight to your own opinions and character traits, or recognize that they need some tweaking, and will begin the process of doing this. Awareness leads to a greater love of the self and a greater (healthy) love of the self means that you would never want to wear someone else's clothes.

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