Years ago, a hair stylist told me that I should always have bangs, and short, blond hair. And I believed her.
For years, I obeyed those rules. Whenever the crazy idea entered my head that I stray from them, her authoritative, expert voice rang in my ears, cowing me into submission.
I currently have long, brown hair, no bangs. And I like it.
Which makes me think, “What else have I taken as truth, and let guide my life, that isn’t necessarily true?”
Granted, a hairstyle isn’t life-altering. But let’s dig deeper.
What about my 15-year-old self, staring at that friendship break-up note that said I wasn’t worth being friends with anymore?
Or my college self, feeling the sting of a friend’s accusation, “You don’t care enough about relationships,” (oh yeah? tell that to 15-year-old me).
Messages about friendship. Our bodies. Our value. What we can do. What we can’t. How far we can go.
Not enough. Better to be safe than sorry. Be amazing. You don’t fit in. Be indispensable so others love you. Don’t rock the boat.
Along the way, we get marked with messages.
Those messages shape us. They shape how we see ourselves, how we present and protect ourselves. They tell us who we should be, or who we can’t be. But those messages don’t have to define us. They simply may not be true.
So we have to question them. Consider the source. Did they come from someone who was for you? Do they keep you from living freely? Do they stem from patterns over time, or from someone’s observation in a moment? Because friends, we are not moments.
When we learn to question the messages people give us, we can overcome them. Take a lesson from these fine people:
Modeling agencies told Marilyn Monroe she’d be better off as a secretary.
Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language.
Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was, “Too stupid to learn anything.”
Walt Disney got fired because he, “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” (that one makes me laugh out loud).
Imagine how different those lives would have been if they had carried those messages as truth. Friends, we wouldn’t have Disney World. Or light bulbs. Let that sink in.
So what messages are you letting shape your life?
And then walk in the truth.