What We Care About
My buddy is wearing his ninja lego costume at the park.
The costume is black with dramatic green sashes and a gold medallion. It fits my buddy to a T.
Soon, his legs will be too tall for it, his arms too long for it. But that hasn't happened yet. Right now, he wears it like a second skin.
My buddy marches proudly, unabashedly around the park. He wants me to know about the ninja's awesome strengths. My buddy delights in this costume.
He hasn't learned yet to care what other people think about him wearing it.
That is something we learn, isn't it? We learn to restrain ourselves, to tame ourselves down to what fits in, what isn't weird. We learn our loyalty to what we should do, what's expected of us, what we're supposed to do.
But if we learn to care what others think, then there's hope. Because that means we can unlearn it, too. Not that it's easy. But it is possible.
And at heart, what we're learning is to care more about what matters to us than what people think of us - speaking up matters more to me than people not liking what I say, asking for help matters more to me than people thinking I'm weak.
Each time we choose to care more about our values than society's opinion - or what we think society's opinion will be - our ability to live into what matters to us becomes more muscular. We step more deeply into what we want our life to be, rather than society's expectations of what our life should be.
And as my buddy shows me, we return ever closer to our natural state of wearing a ninja lego costume in the park. And delighting in it.