There’s a little gem out there in the movie-verse called “Keeping The Faith” (released April of 2000 starring Jenna Elfman, Ben Stiller, and Edward Norton). It’s about three friends – a Catholic Priest, a Jewish Rabbi, and a strong, independent, beautiful woman making it big in the corporate world. And although they sound like the butt of a joke, they are in fact good friends with a lot in common.
(If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it soon. You can thank me later.)
Anyways, there’s a scene where Ben Stiller (playing the Rabbi) is meeting a woman he’s been set up with and she says these things to him:
“I think you will find Rabbi Schramm, that this princess is no pushover… I am many things, no one thing defines me.”
Now, even though her character is a little bit of a wacko, I have always loved those lines! I think a lot can be said about a person who realizes and owns the fact that they are many things, that no One Thing defines them.
I don’t think I have never been a pushover. Maybe a princess? A little bit, maybe. I do have a habit of being very straightforward with people. Blunt, even. And as you can imagine this can often be considered rude, and I eventually gained the reputation of being a ‘bitch’. Sometimes in a chummy, “girl you’re a badass bitch!” kind of way. But sometimes in a “man, that girl is a straight up bitch” kind of way… And for whatever reason, I let myself carry this label for a long time. I thought “Well I guess this is who I am. I’d better own it.”
But then when I began to dislike that label, when I tried to be gentler, more friendly with people, some accused me of being ‘fake’. Apparently, when I began to grow as a person, some of my acquaintances didn’t like that I outgrew the box they had put me in.
It wasn’t easy being misunderstood, it never is. But ultimately I knew who I was and that I was going to be OK, no matter what people said about me.
Lately, it seems like the whole world, Americans especially, are caught up entirely too much in labels. Democrat / Republican. Tomboy / Girly Girl. Passive / Assertive. Christian / Muslim.
Perhaps one of these labels does apply to you – but I bet that’s not ALL you are.
Sometimes, maybe without even realizing it, people are going to try to fit you under a label, into a box. But what you should understand is that the label, the box, it’s their for them. So they can try to make sense of the complicated, beautiful combination of things that is YOU. And just because they call you a “bitch” or a “princess”, doesn’t mean that you can’t be anything else that you want to be.
So, yeah. People are going to try to define you. Whatever. Let them. In the end, their definition doesn’t really matter – it’s how you define yourself that does.
Are you putting yourself in a box? Have you defined yourself in One way? If so, step outside. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of freedom in the knowledge that no One Thing defines you.
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