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双语杂谈：缺乏个性的社交“变色龙”http://www.sina.com.cn 2010年05月11日 11:15 中国日报网-英语点津
One of the biggest treasures that we have in life is our individuality. Whether it is an original smile, an extraordinary sense of style, peculiar humor, deep compassion, special talent or the way we see the world – all these things make us who we are。
I noticed that sometimes we forget about our individuality and try to blend in with our surroundings. We act like chameleons who want to look exactly the same as their environment. For chameleons this is a defense strategy, is it the same for us?
Sometimes it takes a lot of effort and courage to maintain our individuality no matter what. We risk being laughed at, we risk losing friends or a job, we risk our relationships, we risk being misunderstood and feeling like losers。
You do not think about it until you meet a perfect guy or girl who you want to date and who does not support your beliefs (anything from religion to nutrition。) You do not think about it until you get a new job where everybody thinks that your style is ridiculous (and constantly mentions it to you。) You do not think about it until you get to a party where nobody understands your jokes and looks at you like you are an alien from another planet. You do not think about it until you move to a new country (and sometimes even a city) where everything is so different from what you are used to. At that point your only desire is to blend in and not to stick out like a sore thumb。
I think this is a built-in survival instinct that makes us blend in and lose our individuality. Unfortunately, when we lose our individuality we also lose happiness in life. We lose that inner balance that keeps us afloat and lets us withstand any of life's storms。
I didn't realize it until I moved to the US. For the first few months I was fascinated with the culture and with everything that this country had to offer. I wanted to embrace it all and to become as natural in this environment as possible. I tried to dress like an American girl, I was speaking only English in public places (my husband is fluent in Russian, so most of the time we speak English and Russian 50/50) and I tried my best to act like an American. After a few more months I understood that I was not happy with whom I became. I didn't want to blend in anymore and I was happy to show my individuality (cultural in my case) anywhere I went。
I do not care when people look back at me when they hear the Russian language. I feel great when I am overdressed (in the American opinion) while shopping or going to a family restaurant. I feel absolutely comfortable exercising in my backyard when all my neighbors see me doing some weird Yoga pose or fighting an imaginary punching bag。
I know that most of you do not live in foreign countries however you still face situations where the easiest route seems to blend in and to go with the flow. This is not the easiest route in the long run though. When you try to be like everybody else you become empty and blank. There is nothing that will tell people around you "WOW, what an interesting person!"
Maintaining and showing your individuality will make you bold (in a good sense of course)， it will make you feel comfortable in any situation and it will definitely improve your self-esteem (if you have any issues with it。)
A year ago my husband and I went on a road trip to Florida. We stopped at St Augustine to look at the remains of the Castillo de San Marcos fortress. The fortress was amazing and the landscape was so calming and peaceful. There was a yogi meditating on one of the terraces of the fortress. He was beautiful in his calmness and stillness. There were hundreds of people walking past him but it didn't bother him a bit. Then there was a group of silly teenagers who started picking on him but he remained calm and speechless. He didn't want to blend in even though he knew that he would be laughed at and not understood by people around him. This is an image that I will always keep in my head. If you feel that you try to blend in sometimes then try this simple exercise。
First of all think of any situations when you were hiding your individuality in order to make people around you like you or treat you like an equal. What is your individual trait that makes you stick out like a sore thumb in these situations? I want to ask you to be YOU in each of these situations. After all, why do you have to adjust your behavior in order to seem "normal" in somebody else's eyes? All it takes is a big breath and a winning smile and you are ready to go (and be you!)
Please tell me about your experience in showing your individuality and trying not to blend in. Being YOU is the best and only strategy to live a balanced and happy life。
Keep it balanced!