Rosanna Tomiuk's Website | A quick thought on ‘Being Yourself’…
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A quick thought on ‘Being Yourself’…

Last week my friend posted this photo on Instagram:

Don't be yourself

I laughed (my company is called THIS IS ME ha!), felt pity and then gleaned some insight. It’s true sometimes, isn’t it? Some people need to become everything other than who they’ve been being.

So, what’s going on?

The problem is, ‘Being yourself’ has two clear components we mistakenly mesh into one. When we express who we are, we are expressing not only our personality but also our character. When it comes to personality, you should always be yourself. Run with it! Be the most extraordinarily unique person on the planet, gosh darnit! But when it comes to your character, only be who your values say you are. Your values create a playing field for your personality. Like any sport, if there ain’t any rules, there’s no game, people! Otherwise, on a whim you might want to behave according to your feelings, an impulse, a carnal desire, and this is a recipe for disaster.

Always be yourself in personality, but refine the raw gift of your personality with your character. The development of your character will turn you into somebody you’re proud to call ‘yourself’.

  • SarahJ
    Posted at 22:35h, 12 June Reply

    I’ve been working with kids and teens for over ten years. We talk a lot about bullying, and how we can help those kids. How we encourage them to be themselves. Long story short, one of my camper had to switch school in her last year of elementary school because of the bullying, and she was being teased in the bus when she finally got to high school.

    I believe she had an amazing personality, and she was shining. But character-wise, she still had a lot to learn. She was pretty self-centered and would refuse to pick-up a lot of social cues. She was certainly a victim, these kids were mean to her and that was wrong. But she kept on giving them opportunities. Last year, she started seeing a therapist. Not to talk about how it was the others’ fault if she was being picked on, but to work on her character.

    What you are pointing here is one of the pieces we often are missing when we try to fight bullying. We keep telling those bullied students to be themselves. The hardest situations of bullying happen when the victims need to work on their character. Don’t get me wrong : at that age, all the kids are building their character, but some of them struggle more, which makes them great targets for bullies.

    She won’t be back at camp this year, because she is too old. A couple of weeks ago, I took the bus near her school. I would like to say she was laughing and joking with a bunch of friends. No, she was still alone. But for the first time in four years, she was smiling and simply enjoying the bus ride.

    • rosannatomiuk
      Posted at 23:29h, 12 June Reply

      Wow, I love it. You’re pointing right to what I was trying to differentiate. There are pop songs like “Born This Way” that risk encouraging young people to not look at how they need to improve themselves, that blur the line between character and personality. Thanks for giving an example of how they are two separate things, Sarah! And thanks for sharing she was smiiiiiling. Hope.

  • David
    Posted at 09:48h, 13 June Reply

    Great insight Rosie.
    When I think about it, our characters are always in formation into the vision of the person we’re meant to be(come) – hopefully God’s vision of ourselves; if we just give up on growth and accept a character that isn’t in formation we risk succumbing to every other thing in the world trying to form us.
    I love the thought of a growing character (always in formation) being lived out with a unique personality (usually more static)

    • rosannatomiuk
      Posted at 14:13h, 13 June Reply

      Thanks for those thoughts, Dave. What you just helped me see is the risk I sometimes take in compromising my character in order to express my personality. Will I cut corners to get that self-expression I’m looking for and risk not becoming who God’s created me to be?

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