The courage to be yourself – what is it and how?

Each of us goes through a natural path of change in life. The butterfly also liberates itself from the cocoon through pain and misery. But if we help when it doesn’t ask, we will only harm it and the butterfly will die. Parents, by keeping their children close to them and “helping” them by falling in love or wrapping themselves in their fears — an excuse for inaction, are really only harming. After all, the absence of risk is the absence of danger and the possibility of growth in equal measure. Only if you risk going your own, you can turn into an authentic personality.

To understand why it takes so much courage to be really yourself, I want to show what influences our “you-must”, “so-so” or “be fashionable”… and so on, the list is long, and I guess that you have heard such phrases a lot of times in your life.

I believe that the most important factors that influence our courage to be ourselves are the place of birth, the family, and the social entourage with all their fears, habits, and traditions.

In my opinion, first of all, we are to scrutinize our ancestors who left their genes for us dozens and hundreds years ago. I studied all those historic events that significantly affected my family and my old folks. Let’s remember some of them.

  1. Great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers (1930-1935) 90-85 years ago.

1930 — Mass repressions.

1932–1933 — artificial famine in Ukraine.

1929 – Elimination of the kulaks (well-to-do farmers).

My grandfather says, “My father had a large farm and against his will he gave everything to the state. He had no choice. Shut up and obey the system…”

  1. Grandparents (1955-1960) 60-65 years ago.

1946-1989 – the period of ‘stagnation.’

My grandmother says: “We were completely limited by the right to choose. What kind of the freedom of speech did we have? It was scary even to imagine. Journalism, from the present point of view, was completely absent. The cruel censorship dominated everywhere. Do you know how we voted in the election? Your great-grandmother woke up at 6 a.m. and went to vote for the whole family alone because there was no choice. There was just only one candidate – the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee. On May 1, International Workers’ Solidarity Day, and November 7, the Anniversary of the October Revolution, everyone was to be in the parade. It didn’t matter what physical state you were in, studying or working. There was simply no choice. All together as one.”

  1. Parents (1980-1985) 35-40 years.

1976 – the Ukrainian language was practically banned, the people of rural origin were mocked and bulled, the importance of the higher education was praised everywhere.

My mother says: “When I went to the first grade, only one of the 4th graders studied Ukrainian, although the school was Ukrainian. And I went to a Ukrainian class and it was not considered prestigious. It was necessary to be like everyone else, otherwise, there could be problems.”

  1. My Generation Z (2000-2005) is 15-20 years old.

1991 — the collapse of the USSR, independent Ukraine, the emergence of the Internet, a major technological breakthrough.

My conclusion about this chronology is following: people who lived on the territory of modern Ukraine constantly suffered, usually survived, overcoming numerous ideological obstacles. People did not dream a lot and did not pass the way of self-development. The key words traced in these times were following: survival, fear, food, fear, disappointment, death. Hence, there was coldness, distrust, and low emotional intelligence (not to express their emotions, even to realize them). To survive, you had to stick together. Therefore, their beliefs are understandable and justified by the following conditions:

  • if moving, it is only an extreme measure of survival;
  • if new technologies – then radical changes (fear of the new);
  • if you go against the system, the Grim Reaper is behind the corner, yeah, death is nearby.

Now you understand what global historical events affect you and us and our courage to be ourselves. Be who you really are.

Forget the phrases:

  • What happened to you, look at yourself in the mirror?
  • Why do you dress like a doll? It is better to be smart.
  • Who do you behave so boldly?
  • You are so stupid and behave like a black sheep in our family…
  • We can’t afford it, forget about it…

It is up to you to decide: to obey and cyclically repeat the fruits of your generation or to break the chain and go your own way. Don`t chicken out, be brave, and be yourself!

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