Imitation is Suicide
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “There comes a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance, that imitation is suicide, that he must take himself for better, or for worse as his portion.” In his essay, “Self-Reliance”, Emerson goes on to state that there is nothing as sacred as your OWN mind.
Insist on yourself. Don’t waste your time, thoughts, or energy on trying to be like someone else. Chances are, they want to be someone else too. There will always be someone who is better than us, and “perfection,” does not exist. I’ll admit, I struggle….I see the mom with the gorgeous hair, flawless skin, and perfectly put-together wardrobe, look down at my spit-up stained sweater, old jeans, and knock-off Uggs and think, “Why can’t I be like her?” I go crazy when I see someone post that their child is doing something or accomplished something that mine haven’t yet. (Seriously, went a little bit nuts tonight over a friend’s fb post…) I start questioning my mothering skills. I wonder if I’m failing my children in some way. I see a bigger, better blog and allow discouragement to set in. She makes more money. Her kids have cuter clothes. Their family gets to go on more trips. On and on and on. It’s a deadly cycle…trying so hard to imitate the actions, words, and life of someone else will kill us…Emerson was dead on…Imitation IS suicide. It’s not just the death of self…of all originality…it kills our spirit. Trying to be like someone else will destroy you from the inside out. YOUR thoughts, ideas, and creativity matter. We need to stop constantly comparing ourselves (and our kids) to everyone else, and start focusing in on the things that make US great. Want to feel inferior? Keep comparing yourself to others, for comparison is the root of ALL inferiority. You will never feel good enough about yourself until you are content with who you are and with the talents and abilities that YOU possess.
Herman Melville stated that, “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” Bottom line – be YOU. Don’t try to be your friend, that mom you see at school, or some tv celebrity. Don’t chase after endeavors that are not your own. So that other woman has one heck of a chocolate pretzel stand (or flower shop, or super organized closet, WHATEVER)…Don’t go out and try to replicate it. She is not YOU. (And she probably doesn’t want you to try to be her.) How boring would life be if we were all gifted in the same way? Creativity and originality would cease to exist. We MUST do away with the notion that imitation is flattery…It’s not. When you attempt to imitate someone else, you are not only robbing them of their ideas, efforts, etc..you are robbing yourself. Trying to be like someone else steals away your own opportunities.
“You’re put on this world to do your thing. I’m put on this world to do my thing…” Okay, so maybe that’s part of a dirty innuendo from Foul Play (an awesome movie from the ‘70’s), but it makes my point. We must bloom where we are planted, and learn to love ourselves for who we are. No, we’re not that woman down the street, and we never will be. We shouldn’t want to be! Be true to YOU. Don’t let the real you die, by trying to imitate another. Be original. Be creative. Imitation is suicide.