Today we ask that you be true to yourselves.

This is not easy to do.

When you are children, parents and teachers tell you who to be.

As you get older, peers tell you.

Then girlfriends and boyfriends.

Then husbands and wives.

Faces on television tell you who to be.  Pundits have opinions.  Voices on the bright screen of the computer tell you who to be.

All kinds of well-meaning people tell you who to be.  They do it “for your own good.”

It is not for your own good.

Every human being living is utterly unique.  No two are alike.

Some humans feel comfortable embodying “normal,” or traditional roles, according to their societal values.

Others will never be at ease in those roles no matter how hard they try.

Squeezing into a role that does not fit is like squeezing into a suffocating corset — or a straightjacket.

All manner of terrible harm comes from well-meaning people trying to force other people into roles that simply do not suit them.

Such forcing always results in misery, and destructive behavior.

You cannot make dogs into cats.  You cannot make monkeys into lions.  You cannot make bees into butterflies.

Children are never merely extensions of their parents.  They may sometimes share similar characteristics, but they are totally unique, and unlike their parents.

What works for the parent will, in all likelihood, not work for the child.

And when parents force themselves into roles that do not fit in order to “sacrifice” for their children, no good comes of it.  Resentment and displaced desires and ambitions then settle on the child.

To thine own self be true.

What is good for others may not be good for you.

One of the greatest forms of wisdom is truly knowing yourself.

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