Karla’s Korner: Out of the Shadows
Out of the Shadows…..
Award winning author and life coach Vironika Tugaleva wrote “You’ll never know who you are unless you shed who you pretend to be.” The idea of pretending to be someone other than ourselves is nothing new, as a matter of fact make believe is a vital element of a child’s development. Pretending to be something or someone else is often encouraged as make believe games broaden the imagination and enhances creativity. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that is asked quite often of young people. Classic answers such as doctor, nurse, fire fighter, teacher and police officer are just a few of the answers children will give; often those answers are encouraged by parents. How often did we as little children give one of those classic answers having absolutely no idea what we really wanted to be or what we would become as adults? And how often as adults do we struggle to “be” something? And how often do we become what we thought we wanted only to change directions and desire to be something else?
When a baby is born her parents have big dreams for her and whether intentional or not they begin to instill those dreams, their dreams, into her cultivating what they believe is best for her. As time passes it becomes evident that the parent’s dreams do not always match those of the child. Often parents dream that their children will follow in their footsteps. The idea is that “the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree” meaning that children will follow in their parent’s footsteps; taking over the family business so to speak. It’s at that point parents must allow that child to grow into her own hopes and dreams knowing that the life road that stretches out in front of her is hers and hers alone.
Having spent a considerable amount of time recently working college reunion functions at The University of Virginia as a volunteer hospitality worker (beer and ice schlepper) I wondered just how many of those roaming around grounds were utilizing the degree they earned or if they changed directions and headed down a different career path. Of course I will never know the answer to that but my guess is that not everyone there was doing what they wanted to be when they grew up. I wonder if their parents were disappointed or supportive. I wonder how many of those alums stayed true to their original plans out of obligation and duty. How many of them have a fulfilling career and how many of them have just a job? How many of those “acorns” fell off the family tree and landed nearby only to sprout up and be stunted by in the shadows of the oak tree? How many of them rolled away into the sunlight; out of the shadows and grew tall and strong.
We must learn to live our lives as authentically as possible, staying true to ourselves, following our dreams yet never forget where we came from; our roots. Like the tiny acorn that falls from the tree we must roll out into the clearing giving ourselves space to grow and mature on our own. Standing in the shadows of others will prohibit us from reaching our full potential leaving us feeling irrelevant and unfulfilled. We can, however, stay connected through the foundation that was laid for us; keeping our “root system” in tack will allow us to stand tall in times of adversity and difficulty.
Whether you are the tall oak or the little nut preparing to dig into the life’s dirt I encourage you to live your dreams, be who you want to be and know that you will grow taller standing in the sun that hiding in the shade of someone else’s dreams.
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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