All things to all people: if I am that to others, what am I to me?
Social adaptation reduces many conflicts and gives acceptance into groups and organizations, but it is all too easy to adapt our thoughts, mannerisms, speech and activities to match those around us. We are designed to be social creatures – going to great pains to maintain our fellowship with others – but when the chameleon syndrome begins to overshadow our personal needs, preferences, and way of thinking, we gradually lose our identity. Others don’t have to like or agree with something that is good for me, just as I don’t have to like or personally agree with what is good for them. When we give ourselves permission to accept this, we begin a personal dialogue with self: what are my personal thoughts on that issue and why do I think that way; are my conclusions true or just my opinion; how do I tell the difference. We begin to ask questions like, why do I spend my time with this or that person. Do I enjoy their company or am I simply seeking acceptance? Am I important to myself; if not, why not; if so, why do I say that? Do I really mean it or am I only conditioned to give that particular answer?
“What am I to me”, is a very broad question with endless soul-searching answers, but will always – if asked with sincerity and openness – compel us to appreciate the person inside, as well as develop it, protect it, and respect it; and in turn, we inevitably begin appreciating the uniqueness in others as well.