Today, Actress Mae West was born. You may not recognize the name, but you may recognize the voice or maybe the quotes. Here’s a great clip I found on YouTube.
West was never afraid to be herself. She started in vaudeville and Broadway before moving to film. However, film in the 1930s was quite different than it is now. West was constantly being censored for her “racy” comments (things that would be considered quite tame now). Eventually, she got fed up and left the silver screen in 1940. (She would return for two more films in the 70s, but they were thought of as quite campy compared to the rest of the films in that era).
No matter what decade she was in, no matter who labeled her, she was always consistent with who she was. In fact, she actually saved Paramount from bankruptcy with her first two films. She became one of the most famous women in film, just by being herself.
I look at my life and I wonder sometimes if I’m too afraid to be myself. I know this isn’t a new idea, being yourself. But it’s really something quite hard to do, because we all want to be accepted, and acceptance isn’t something we can control.
Oh, we might think we can control it by portraying a certain image (which is much easier to do online than it is in person). I know I did that for years, because someone actually told me that I was doing it wrong. My relationships were wrong. My priorities were wrong. My decisions, skills, abilities, talents…they just weren’t good enough for any kind of recognition, much less acceptable. And I put my worth behind these things, and I worked every day to fish for compliments and comments that I was doing it right. Still, I never impressed those who thought I wasn’t acceptable.
But I’m slowly learning, one day at a time, that it’s not any of those things that make me acceptable. I am acceptable because God gives me worth. That’s it. It allows me to enjoy my relationships, talents, abilities, decisions and skills because I don’t worry whether other people will be impressed. It gives me the freedom to blog and connect with others without worrying whether I will be liked. I don’t need to be liked to be loved by Him.
This isn’t an easy fix, you know. “Just know that God loves you and everything will be perfect!” It’s a great reminder, but reminders are used to help you when you forget, and I forget this a lot. Some days, I can’t even wrap my head around it! But this life is a one day at a time kinda thing. I am definitely learning to appreciate the highs and remember the highs when I’m in the lows. And that’s what makes the journey worth it.
Do you have times of self-doubt? Have you ever done something just to impress someone or gain someone’s acceptance?