sing your song1

Today we ask that you sing your song.

Only you can sing your song.

You are a completely unique being.  No other human in this world is like you.  While all humans share similarities, every human is as singular as a snowflake.  Even identical twins are wholly unique.

And yet humans are taught from an early age not to be themselves, but to be like other people.

Depending on your culture, you are taught that you should meet certain cultural norms.  You are taught that you should be a “Successful Man” or “Successful Woman,” according to your culture and your family’s values.

Terrible misery arises out of this.  Unique boys and girls diligently work to fulfill the cookie cutter roles that their societies and families promote.

While there has been some evolution in this regard — in many countries, men and women are somewhat freer now than they were, say, in the 1950’s — this cookie cutter patterning still goes on.  And it has not evolved as much as you may believe.

For example, in the U.S., the “American Dream” prevails.  Men are expected to strive to be affluent professionals;  women are expected to marry an affluent professional, even if they are themselves affluent professionals.  They are expected to buy houses, to have children, to send their children to good schools so that they can in turn become or at least marry affluent professionals, who in turn buy houses and send their children to good schools, and so on, and so on…

Most people do not question this at all.   This system seems correct, desirable, and virtuous.

Of course, if you are born in a country where older traditions are still prevalent, or into a family that practices a fundamentalist religion, you face different expectations.  As a woman, you may expect to be married and child-bearing while you are still young, and may not have any choice about whom you are married to.  As a man, you may be expected to take up a family trade, or leave a rural environment to move to the city and take an industrial job to support your family, without any choice in the matter.

If you are born into such a culture, these systems will seem correct, desirable, and virtuous.

But not everyone is cut out for the roles their families and cultures expect them to fulfill.   To do so is to wear a constricting corset that does not allow you to breathe — as so many women used to, because of societal mores.

Listen to Shakespeare in this matter:

To thine own self be true.

You are best served, your family is best served, your culture is best served, and humanity is best served when you express your unique energy and sing your unique song.  Even if you meet a great deal of resistance from your family, you are in fact doing them a service by singing your unique song.

If you feel unhappy and constricted in life, probably it is because you are not singing your song.  You are trying to sing someone else’s song.  It is likely that you are singing it off-key.

That is why not everyone really succeeds in these cookie cutter roles.  Try as hard as you may to please your family, if you are not cut out for the law, medicine, or finance, you will not thrive in those environments.  Others for whom those roles come naturally, out of a true match with their unique energy, will always do better.

To thine own self be true.

If you are a parent, you can only be the kind of parent you are.  Attempting to parent in someone else’s style will only backfire.

So often, people are told that they should be more like other people, and not themselves.

When children are taught this, they begin to lose sight of who they really are.  By the time they are adults, they do not know their song anymore.

But the song never goes away.  It is always there.  It longs to be expressed.  And the unhappiness so many people feel is really just their unique song, wanting to be sung.

When people are joyful and fulfilled in life, it is because they sing their song.

If you feel like you have forgotten your song, you must find silence.  The silence of meditation is a way for your song to emerge.  Tools like free associative journaling also aid in the emergence of the hidden song.  You must create space, and listen.

Please know that your unique energy is magnificent and wonderful, no matter what you have been taught by parents and teachers, bosses and coworkers and magazine articles.

Do not believe the voices that criticize you for all that makes you unique.

Choose to be around people who love you for who you are.

You will only really do so when you begin to love yourself for who you are.