Our neighbors across the street have a large pasture and many cows that graze in this pasture (we live in the country). Last night we were heading to the restaurant and all the cows were in the pasture by the street and there were a lot of them. Right in the middle of all these black cows stood an obvious outsider…a brown horse. Well I’ve seen this horse before but tonight it got me to thinking.
That horse wasn’t trying to be like the cows. She wasn’t trying to fit in. She wasn’t worried about what the cows thought of her. She wasn’t worried about fitting in or impressing the cows. She wasn’t worried that the cows were staring at her. She wasn’t trying to hide her differences. She wasn’t trying to hide her horsy-ness. She wasn’t apologetic about being a horse. She certainly wasn’t trying to over explain or justify why she was a horse and she certainly didn’t appear to be sad, depressed, anxious or frustrated about being the only horse. She was just contentedly eating and BEING a horse.
Sometimes a parents we make decisions in how we parent that make us different from the rest if the parents around us. Sometimes as people we choose paths that make us different than those around us.
The truth is, all of us are different from each other even though we may find people that like some of the same things. It’s time to be like the horse and be ok with being different.
What happens a lot of times when we are different than those around us is that we try to hide our differences and try to be more like those around us. We find ourselves apologizing for beliefs or just not sharing them with others to avoid the looks we might get. We worry that others might judge us or think badly of us. We think we don’t belong so don’t have anything to offer. We think we are the only ones that think/act/feel the way we do. Instead of being true to ourselves we hide our us-ness.
I know that I have spent my fair share of time not being true to myself. I have spent time apologizing for my beliefs and actions where really no apology was due. I have spent way too much time trying to be like the cows around me. All of us do it, some way less than others, but we all do it to some extent.
Scott Noelle, a parenting coach, suggested, “For today, notice the things you say and do in order to “be social” — especially around your children and other parents. Notice whether your “social” behavior feels authentic or not. Do you ever sacrifice your authenticity to appear “good” or “nice”? **
If everyone behaved like the horse instead of trying to be the same as the cows around us imagine what we could teach and learn from those around us. If we didn’t try to mold ourselves into what we thought was socially acceptable or what we thought others wanted from us all the time we would be closer to our true selves. By focusing less on trying to fit other peoples’ expectations we have more happiness and less stress and worry.
I personally am making a commitment to myself and those around me to be the horse. When I catch myself not being genuinely who I am, I will correct it. When I catch myself justifying or apologizing for my choices I will try to stop myself and just be ok with the fact that not everyone will agree with me or be like me. I will laugh more and celebrate our differences. I will try to see if I can learn things from the cows and other horses around me.
Who’s with me?
**You can find more from Scott Noelle at Www.enjoyparenting.com or http://www.scottnoelle.com