There seems to be a glut these days of songs encouraging people to just be themselves. Colbie Caillat tells a young woman, “You don’t have to change a single thing” in her song “Try.” Mary Lambert sings the line, “I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else” in her song “Secrets.” Chris Cornell even sang a few years ago with the now-disbanded group Audioslave, “To be yourself is all that you can do.”
A certain amount of freedom can certainly be achieved by throwing off expectations and past hurts and stigmas attached to the challenges we face. There is also an extreme amount of power that comes with learning to actually accept ourselves and like ourselves, no matter what faults we may have. A little self-acceptance goes a long way.
Sometimes, though, there are things in us that really need to change. For example, if you have a tendency to be rude to people, you’re sort of a jerk if you just say, “Well, I’m just that way.” Or if you have a tendency to drink too much alcohol and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Or if you get so upset about things emotionally that you cut yourself.
Sometimes we need to change.
I walk a fine line writing a blog like this. I want to produce something that people dealing with depression can identify with. I also want to share the issues depression causes and how I attempt to handle those. At the same time, though, I have to routinely fight the urge to think of myself as damaged and incapable in some way. I have to attempt to turn my mind from the negative to the positive. I realize that in many ways, I have to change to survive.
Even though I am loading up on books about depression and self-esteem and all other kinds of mental hang-ups, I have to be very careful of not falling into the trap of letting those things define me. I may be depressed today, but I don’t have to be tomorrow. I may have difficulty being assertive, but I don’t always have to cower in fear. I may feel inadequate to do things now, but I don’t have to lack confidence forever.
If acceptance is what you need, grab onto it and don’t let go. If a change needs to take place, though, don’t be afraid to move. It may not feel like “you” at all, but you don’t always have to accept things the way they are.