To Thine Own Self Be True | Teen Ink

To Thine Own Self Be True

April 18, 2009
By Dong Lu BRONZE, Irvine, California
Dong Lu BRONZE, Irvine, California
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Do you notice how Rachael always kisses-up to her teachers? It’s disgusting. She’s so fake.”
Ten minutes later…
“Heyy Rachael! Haven’t talked to you in a while. Wanna go to Starbucks after school?”
Fake – this is probably the most commonly criticized and yet most widely adopted trait in everyday life. Everyone openly condemns it, but consciously or not, everyone exhibits it. Consider these daily examples: that convincing smile put on just for a teacher or boss, that superficial compliment uttered to flatter and please, and that boastful exaggeration intended to impress. At this point you might be thinking “I’m not like this. I’m not fake like everyone else.” Really? You’re not? Take a step back and contemplate whether you have altered the way you act/dress/talk over the past few years. And if so, why? Is it because you think Ugg boots are simply gorgeous or because they are the vogue these days? Is it because you are genuinely interested in latest gossip or because high school life has made you attuned to it? And do those expressions on your face always reflect real emotions or are they oftentimes merely a disguise?

It seems that while most people understand the importance of individuality, the “individual” they claim to be is really just a well-garnished, phony mask. Therefore this is the pivotal message that is both universally professed and universally ignored: don’t be fake. How hard could that be? In theory it should be a simple matter of choice and of will. In reality, however, it gets a lot more complicated. Society conveys mixed messages on whether people should always be true to themselves or whether they should adjust their character to accommodate convention. For example, moral conduct asserts that one should be honest and true regardless of the situation. On the other hand, the codes of civility decree that one must always display courtesy and politeness, even to an object of dislike. Thus, it inevitable that during the course of our formative years, our characters and personalities are molded by our surroundings. We gradually adopt the idea that it’s justifiable to tell “little white lies” and that sometimes a façade is needed to shield oneself from the piercing scorns of society. However, remember that if a shield is held too closely, it clenches on to your body and soon that mask you carelessly donned becomes your new face –a heartless, artificial substitute for a face.

So what does it really mean to be true? Well, that’s a question that only you can answer. Despite all the influences of peers and society, ultimately the way you defined yourself is determined by your own discretion. A heartfelt piece of advice: find a place where you can be completely alone – away from all worldly distractions. It is only in this solitary state that all facades crumble and you are forced to face yourself in your own skin. Do you like what you see? Or even, do you recognize what you see? In life, the only thing that truly belongs to you is your identity, your character. So as you continue to grow, as you mask latches tighter onto your face, remember that if you are being fake, not only are you lying to the world, but you are lying to yourself as well.

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This article has 5 comments.

alwanted123 said...
on Aug. 21 2014 at 9:29 pm
very nice it helped me a lot

allwanted said...
on Aug. 21 2014 at 9:27 pm
hey joyce which school do you study in nice comment

on Jan. 15 2012 at 2:02 am
UnwantedNinja GOLD, Pretoria, Other
17 articles 0 photos 70 comments

Favorite Quote:
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
Walt Disney

Beautifully writen and i agree with everything...You wrote this in 2009 and now its 2012 and this problem is still not resolved

Reese said...
on May. 1 2009 at 12:00 am
Reese, Laurel, Maryland
0 articles 0 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
Mortimer Brewster: The name Brewster is code for Roosevelt.
Teddy Brewster: Code for Roosevelt?
Mortimer Brewster: Yes. Don't you see? Take the name Brewster, take away the B, and what have you got?
Teddy Brewster: Rooster!
Mortimer Brewster: Uh-huh. And what does a rooster do?
Teddy Brewster: Crows.
Mortimer Brewster:... It crows. And where do you hunt in Africa?
Teddy Brewster: On the veldt!
Mortimer Brewster: There you are: crows - veldt!
Teddy Brewster: Ingenious! My compliments to the boys in the code department.

I agree as well We are way to pressured these days I know how it is with my parents always telling me I shouln't be this way or I should be that way I should't act like me I should try to be more like this nice young lady or way can't you be more lady like.....I mean really we aren't in the 1660 when girls had to be perfectly lady like I'm more tomboy myself and my Mom hates I know how it is to be pressured so I agree 100%.

Joyce said...
on Apr. 25 2009 at 10:43 pm
I agree with you wholeheartedly! I am disgusted by some people's fakeness that I wasn't even sure they were human. I think this is due to the fact of social pressure. We are too pressured these days.