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Being yourself

At the age of 16, I went to a summer camp in the Gesher movement, A movement designed to bring religious and secular people together. Each time we had a kind of ceremony where we would repeat the next sentence; the sentence should be said at the highest possible speed:

If I am me because I am me,

And you are you because you are you,

Then, I am me, and you are you;


If I am me because you are you,

And you are you because I am me,

Then, I'm not me, and you are not you.

Well, our theme is: being yourself.

What does it mean?

Let's start with an example: In my club, I first tried karaoke. I have noticed that relative to others, I sing pretty well. Of course, not like a professional singer or even an amateur, but at least I'm not faking. My mother said to me: If you like it, why not sign up for the French Institute choir that opens this week?

At the institute, they explained to me that the first lesson was an admission test. They cannot accept everyone. Firstly, because the number of places is very limited. And secondly and especially, because they are preparing a show at the end of the year. So, I signed up. I was tense for a few days, and finally, the answer came: I was accepted!!!

For those who have already lost their patience and ask: What is the point of this whole story to our subject: being yourself, I will answer: Patience! I give a long example from life so that you can enter my skin and feel the experience I had in my example.

Well, I was in the first class and, after that, I wrote to my psychologist:

"I am in the choir now. It's very difficult. I have no problem singing, but it's hard to sing with the others (by the way, I'm the only man). For that, I need concentration. The teacher told me I would have to work very hard at home; otherwise, it would not work (You understand me: they can throw me out the same way as they received me).

This remark from the teacher (which she did not say to any of the others) made me feel a little anxious and depressed. I feared that if I felt this way while working at home that week, I would be even worse next time; on the other hand, out of the good habit I have adapted to: to think about what I did well today, then these thoughts came to me:

- I will work as much as I can this week and if that does not work out, tell myself I was alone and inexperienced in front of an experienced and cohesive group.

- For her part, the teacher who is by the way very nice, cannot afford for anything to be left behind when we will prepare a show at the end of the year.

- I said then to myself: At least I did my best and I was already proud to have been accepted.

- She did not say that I was faking for example, only that I did not sing with the whole group and that according to what she said, can definitely be improved."

I concluded: With the help of positive thoughts, I overcame my depression attack, and believe me: it is much more effective than pills.

I told this to my cousin Gilbert, and he said to me: You have not discovered America; this is what it is called: to think positively.

The truth is that the first time I heard about positive thought, it seemed to me delusional, naive, and ineffective at all: it was as if to deny the problems by presenting them in a "positive" way. Indeed, in the mouths of people who try "positive thinking" just because they were told it should be done, it really is naive.

The thing is, in my case, I rediscovered it and internalized it: I made the other's opinion a part of me.

I understood about a positive thought: what it is indeed and what it is not.

It is not: to shun reality and not face problems.

It is indeed: when we have problems:

- To put things in perspective.

- To think about the things that are nevertheless positive in what happened to us (e.g., draw lessons the next times when we have fallen victim to fraud).

- To think about what might happen to us in the worst case. In 99% of cases, we will realize that we can live with this instead of getting into an endless loop of sterile anxiety.

- To think of the things that are positive in those that happened to us today (or this year), other than the unfortunate event.

- To think about the others and realize that all of this is not just happening to us.

When trying to implement common advice (like the advice "think positive"), we should not be opaque to others and always stat true to our opinions (in social behavior, fashion, politics, religion, and whatnot). We definitely need to listen to others, but that does not mean swallowing all the beans they try to sell us.

And another brief example: I was in the Deal Carnegie course, the author of the book "How to Make Friends and Influence." In the course, they told us that in order to be accepted in society and make lots of friends, you need to remember the names of the people and call them by their names, and you must constantly give them compliments.

Well, I tried to apply this in the company where I started working, and I made a complete laughing stock of myself, so much that I was fired!

Dale Carnegie had good intentions in this advice, but hell is known to be riddled with good intentions. Some people give compliments all the time, and we like them because of it. Such was for example my mother's cousin Hubert. But the thing is that it was his nature to behave like that.

It's not because you see something successful in the neighbor that you must immediately try and be like him.

For God sake, be yourself while listening to others.

As mentioned:

If I am me because I am me,

And you are you because you are you,

Then, I am me, and you are you;


If I am me because you are you,

And you are you because I am me,

Then, I'm not me, and you are not you.

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