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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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It’s ‘International Being You’ Day

Uploaded: May 22, 2023

It’s good to be you, because everyone else is already taken! The world needs YOU, as you are (and yes, of course all of us have things to learn and growth to do. Yet that needs to be done in keeping with who you are.)

Being you with kindness and integrity covers most of the bases for ensuring that you’re a “good” person, no matter what music you drum to.

There’s a lot of pressure to conform. It comes from yourself and from society.
- From yourself, much of it comes from your family of origin (FOO), the people you grew up with. Pressure to conform comes from your teachers, coaches, mentors and bosses. Of course they were all taught by their FOO, who were taught by their own FOOs and societal “norms” of the places and times they grew up in.
- From society, pressure to conform comes through all types of media and organizations. Marilyn Monroe was a bombshell in the 1950 and early 1960s! She was not stick thin. Nowadays, girls under age 10 are worried about their weight.
- Organizations run the gamut from religious, to corporate, political and youth groups. Each one has their own norms.

It can be scary and vulnerable to figure out who YOU are, especially to be “different” from your peers.

Be yourself, not who you think your partner wants you to be. And not who you think you have to be for a partner. Both women and men fall into these conundrums.

It takes time and energy to figure out who you are. What did you love doing as a kid? There’s likely personal gold to be mined there. What subjects did you love in school and higher education? If you weren’t focused on making money (which most of us need to do), what would you do? What was the first gut reaction you had to that question? At times, what we do to earn money, and what we love to do aren’t the same. When that’s the case, in what other areas of your life can you bring yourself out? Can you switch careers?

My friend and colleague, Bobbi Emel et al, created and taught a tool called Core Gifts. I am so glad I learned from Bobbi. It's a powerful process that gets to the core of your life--what you're here to do. When you face decisions, and if they are in line with your Core Gift, go for it. If not, think and feel long and hard about it. Reach out to me or Bobbi if you’d like to do Core Gifts.

For many people, being yourself gets easier as you get older. You worry less about what others think. You’re more comfortable with yourself.

Most of all, make a commitment to yourself to be yourself. Do what you need to in the process of figuring it out. Be transparent to the people in your life when you decide to go on this journey. That means you tell them what you’re up to; self-discovery. You never know, it may inspire someone else to learn more about her/himself.

I encourage all of you to do this now. Don’t wait till you’re older.
Community.
What is it worth to you?

Comments

Posted by John Morrisey, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on May 22, 2023 at 4:10 pm

John Morrisey is a registered user.

Tough questions...no easy answers.

"What did you love doing as a kid?"
^ Pulling the wool on the adult world.

"What subjects did you love in school and higher education?"
^ The ones that were intellectually stimulating and entertaining while also requiring the minimum amount of effort (i.e. liberal arts).

"If you weren't focused on making money (which most of us need to do), what would you do?"
^ Write stories or novels mocking the materialistic and shallow preoccupations of modern American life.

"What was the first gut reaction you had to that question?"
^ Cynicism.

"At times, what we do to earn money, and what we love to do aren't the same. When that's the case, in what other areas of your life can you bring yourself out?"
^ Quitting my job and moving away from the madness of a superficial world.

"Can you switch careers?"
^ Thanks to this article, I just put in my retirement after 30 years of delivering the mail. The USPS has a good retirement program (providing the 2023 federal budget is approved).



Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Almanac Online blogger,
on May 22, 2023 at 5:09 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Wow, John, I think congratulations on your retirement are in order! Hopefully you will find peace, less cynicism, and more fun in your future. Happy retirement! Chandrama


Posted by Ryan Tanner, a resident of Stanford,
on May 23, 2023 at 7:47 am

Ryan Tanner is a registered user.

> For many people, being yourself gets easier as you get older. You worry less about what others think. You're more comfortable with yourself.

• Not so much being comfortable with oneself (or the situation) but rather resignation after having experienced the BS of everyday life for decades.

My father (72) recently inherited $2.5M from his parents and mentioned that had he received this money at 30-35 years of age, his spending habits and purchases would have been far different than the frugality he practices today.

And so at an elderly age, he has more money than he ever had in his life but with no real motivation to lavishly spend it on a Porsches, Rolexes, designer-label clothes, beautiful women, or an extravagant house as he would have had he been younger and more active.

His lesson was that money buys fleeting enjoyment but not eternal happiness and as a result, he has decided not to leave us (the offspring) any of this dough until we all reach 65, the logic being that easy money breeds a spendthrift mentality.

When I mentioned that he could legally gift us $17,000.00 per year tax-free, he replied that many Millennials and Gen Zers are little more than self-entitled parasites who do not know the value of a dollar and in some ways he is correct.

So all things considered, perhaps it is better to acquire a certain degree of wealth later in life rather than earlier.

The only drawback is that when one is old, there is less time remaining to either spend or enjoy the money.











Posted by Bryce Leake, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 24, 2023 at 9:12 am

Bryce Leake is a registered user.

"Given this emerging scenario, it will be imperative that Millennials and Generation Z petition the probate courts for all-inclusive conservatorships which in turn will allow for full control of and access to their disabled parent's estate."

^ This is a detestable strategy for procuring family wealth prematurely.

My Baby Boomer mother did the same thing to my late grandmother whom I loved dearly but I was unable to intervene on the matter because I was still a minor at the time.

Though two wrongs do not make a right, I am going to do the same thing to my mother at a later date but not for personal gain. I will be doing it for vengeance.

Cameron...the world does not need any more lawyers of your caliber or intentions.


Posted by Bryce Leake, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 24, 2023 at 9:38 am

Bryce Leake is a registered user.

As conveyed and sung by the late Sammy Davis Jr. (a song for intrepid non-conformists and renegades)

Whether I'm right, whether I'm wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I've gotta be me, I've gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am?

I want to live, not merely survive
And I won't give up this dream of life
That keeps me alive
I've gotta be me, I've gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am

That faraway prize, a world of success
Is waiting for me if I heed the call
I won't settle down or settle for less
As long as there's half a chance that I can have it all

I'll go it alone, that's how it must be
I can't be right for somebody else if I'm not right for me
I've gotta be me, I've gotta be me
Daring to try to do it or die, I've gotta be me

I can't be right for somebody else if I'm not right for me
I've gotta be me, I've gotta be me
Daring to try to do it or die,
I've gotta be me


Posted by Bill Rafferty, a resident of another community,
on May 24, 2023 at 10:54 am

Bill Rafferty is a registered user.

Anthems and vengeance aside, 'Being You Day' has certain consequences and not all of them good.

Look at what happened to the imprudent BudLight advertising campaign and the fall-out from the LA Dodgers first inviting, then rescinding, and then reinviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to the Gay Pride event at Dodger Stadium.

Sometimes "being oneself' is best kept to oneself.


Posted by Logically Speaking, a resident of Midtown,
on May 24, 2023 at 1:11 pm

Logically Speaking is a registered user.

> Organizations run the gamut from religious, to corporate, political and youth groups. Each one has their own norms.

^ Simply ignore them. As Bob Dylan wrote/sang, "Don't follow leaders and watch your parking meter."


Posted by Melba Cross, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on May 24, 2023 at 3:24 pm

Melba Cross is a registered user.

Being oneself is purely subjective and not necessarily endorsed by the approval or acceptance of others. This in turn can create conflict among those who beg to differ with those who identify as someone they are not.


Posted by Penelope Walters, a resident of another community,
on May 25, 2023 at 8:15 am

Penelope Walters is a registered user.

Perhaps the key here is if 'being you' makes you unhappy or feeling unfulfilled, then try becoming someone else while seeking new outlets to express yourself.

It is also important to be aware that depending upon the changes, certain geographic and demographic regions may not fully endorse or accept the new you.


Posted by Helene Lupa, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 25, 2023 at 3:52 pm

Helene Lupa is a registered user.

In addition to Being Oneself, there are others who strive to reinvent themselves.

Where does one draw the line when it comes to either staying the same or repackaging one's persona?




Posted by Morris Saferstein, a resident of another community,
on May 26, 2023 at 9:18 am

Morris Saferstein is a registered user.

>> "Where does one draw the line when it comes to either staying the same or repackaging one's persona?"

Speaking as both a parent and clinical researcher, I would say that if the personal changes generate societal ostracism, bigotry, and ridicule, it is perhaps best not to go in that direction.

Life is tough enough as it is so why go around asking for more trouble?


Posted by Patricia Morrow, a resident of Professorville,
on May 26, 2023 at 9:46 am

Patricia Morrow is a registered user.

One's respective society and culture define what kind of behavior is appropriate and what is not. These are called norms.

Rather than forcing an entire civilization to accept an individual for being whoever they are (or who they think they are), it is oftentimes best to seek refuge in an alternative community that shares common values.

Being a martyr and trying to co-exist in a hostile environment is oftentimes futile as well as dangerous.


Posted by Regina Miller, a resident of San Ramon,
on May 26, 2023 at 10:17 am

Regina Miller is a registered user.

Poor self-esteem is another consideration for altering one's persona but if one goes overboard, it can often be perceived as overly contrived or just another aberration within the conventional world.


Posted by Flora Jessup, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on May 26, 2023 at 12:26 pm

Flora Jessup is a registered user.

The backlash from the Bud light, Target, and Dodgers Pride Day promotions will only intensify now that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have been re-invited to participate in the festivities.

We have already given our tickets away due to this controversy because baseball should be about baseball and not political agendas.


Posted by Melissa.Williams, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 26, 2023 at 4:20 pm

Melissa.Williams is a registered user.

Many corporations (including professional sports teams) are playing the inclusive card as a marketing strategy to the increase sales of their product.

This probably explains why Budweiser, Target, and Disneyland have come under fire by conservatives for their acceptance and promotion of LGBTQ culture.

At most Major League Baseball games, they have Asian American Day, Hispanic American Day, Jackie Robinson Day, and Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Since many LGBTQ members also enjoy baseball, it should come as no surprise for teams to have a promotional day acknowledging their presence and support.

Only one team in MLB refuses to hold a Pride Day and that is the Texas Rangers in Arlington, TX.

Happily being oneself often depends on broader public acceptance and tolerance.




Posted by Ahmad Massoud, a resident of another community,
on May 27, 2023 at 10:19 am

Ahmad Massoud is a registered user.

Being oneself (or true to oneself) is very important to ensure some vestige of mental health providing one's activities are not illegal.

Other than that, people should be free to be or become anyone they want providing it is not against the law.

Peace to all.


Posted by Ryan Briscoe, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on May 27, 2023 at 10:41 am

Ryan Briscoe is a registered user.

>> "At most Major League Baseball games, they have Asian American Day, Hispanic American Day, Jackie Robinson Day, and Breast Cancer Awareness Day."

To quell the public outrage over inviting/uninviting/re-inviting The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to the Los Angeles Dodgers Pride Night, the team has initiated another themed promotion for later in the season...Christian Pride and Appreciation Night.

Though these promotions are ostensibly marketed to acknowledge specific groups of people, they are merely contrived revenue generating streams.

Perhaps it is best not to have any 'pride' celebrations at ballparks...just celebrate Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Breast Cancer Awareness Day.


Posted by Lillian Swanson, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on May 28, 2023 at 8:04 am

Lillian Swanson is a registered user.

Is role-playing 'being you' or just an imaginary pretend game?

Reason for asking...to spice-up our sex life and to discourage adultery, my husband and I often pretend to be a variety other people. Method acting is our forte and sometimes the experience crosses the line between reality and extreme fantasy.

Since others are not involved in our private activities, I imagine this outlet is relatively harmless.


Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Almanac Online blogger,
on May 28, 2023 at 12:15 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hey everyone, let’s not use this space to speculate about transgender people/issues. The idea is for you to share who you are. Thanks, Chandrama


Posted by Florence Dickson, a resident of Danville,
on May 28, 2023 at 1:26 pm

Florence Dickson is a registered user.

I am an African American college-educated liberal Democrat residing in a predominantly white conservative Republican community.

Being oneself is difficult because we have had to adjust to an upper middle class white community which on the whole is not socially conscious nor humanitarian towards people of color.

Golf and youth sports seem to be the key topics of conversation here along with having to endure the tedium of viewing iPhone pics of someone else's grandchildren.

It is time to move back to Richmond.


Posted by Harrison Tamaki, a resident of Danville,
on May 29, 2023 at 8:44 am

Harrison Tamaki is a registered user.

Being oneself involves fully assimilating and embracing mainstream American culture and values while reserving one's native culture and lifestyle for more private events like church and family gatherings.

This ensures national unity towards a common goal minus the distractions of various advocacies promoting minor transparencies and recognitions.


Posted by Biff Jenkins, a resident of another community,
on May 29, 2023 at 9:46 am

Biff Jenkins is a registered user.

Doesn't the inclusion of "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as stated in one of our nation's key documents ensure that all American citizens are allowed to be themselves providing their actions and activities are not illegal?

Most everyone wants to be happy but this concept is an abstract with no real definition or description.

Successfully being oneself is a self-assigned definition and it should not be dictated by therapists, politicians, school counselors, or religious doctrine.


Posted by Fred Harris, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on May 29, 2023 at 10:51 am

Fred Harris is a registered user.

Our 12 year-old grandson has been self-identifying with The Beat Generation because he believes the world is going downhill with no visible improvements on the horizon.

He enjoys reading Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, Burroughs in hard copy and listens to BeBop jazz all of the time.

It's like the kid is in some sort of weird time warp but that's OK because we would rather deal with a grandson who is intellectually superior compared to his clueless, post-hippie and now yuppie/materialistic parents.


Posted by Madison Wheatley, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 29, 2023 at 12:37 pm

Madison Wheatley is a registered user.

My cousin joined the Marines as an extension of him being himself. Many of his compatriots are former gang members from East LA because military service allows them the opportunity to be themselves with certain restrictions.

"Semper Fi Baby" is his mantra.


Posted by Zach Taylor, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on May 29, 2023 at 2:41 pm

Zach Taylor is a registered user.

I could care less about other people struggling to be themselves because all things considered, that is their problem and not mine.

Just don't drag others into the fray.


Posted by Syd Rothenburg, a resident of another community,
on May 29, 2023 at 3:31 pm

Syd Rothenburg is a registered user.

Being oneself is best afforded and best accomplished by being financially independent. That way you don't have to answer to anybody as long as your activities do note violate state, federal, or IRS laws.

I've been married five times to five wonderful women who were beautiful but not overly sophisticated or bright and I pay some serious alimony because I can afford to. In other words, money buys freedom. Think about it.

If you cannot afford to be free, you will never be free to be yourself.

The only exception might be the Buddha who could chose to be free by disdaining the material world.

Most people are not as enlightened and need money to achieve their bliss.


Posted by Bob Jackson, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on May 29, 2023 at 5:15 pm

Bob Jackson is a registered user.

People are often unhappy because their expectations are too high and while processing their disappointments and disillusionments, some try or aspire to be someone or something they are not.

This is called letting others (aka the plastic world) define your universe.

Unfortunately there are countless individuals who learn this important lesson far too late in life.

The key...lower your expectations of people and you will never be disappointed + just be yourself because no one cares who you are.


Posted by Bruce Taylor, a resident of Menlo Park,
on May 30, 2023 at 3:38 pm

Bruce Taylor is a registered user.

To echo the previous poster...you cannot be yourself if you depend on outside validation to define your existence.

Only the insecure let others call the shots.

Travel your own road and simply ignore those trying to control your life.

Live for yourself and not others.

This is common sense and hardly warrants a discussion.


Posted by Li Zheng, a resident of Mountain View,
on May 30, 2023 at 4:30 pm

Li Zheng is a registered user.

@Bruce Taylor: There are many intelligent people who lack common sense. Knowledge VS wisdom are two different things.

It does not take a Confucious [sic] to put 2+2 together.


Posted by Glenallen Wong, a resident of Downtown North,
on May 31, 2023 at 8:44 am

Glenallen Wong is a registered user.

Sometimes it takes a change of scenery to enhance the experience of being oneself.

Some examples:

The Lost Generation of writers were American expatriates living & writing in post World War I Paris.

The pioneering gay community settled in parts of San Francisco, New York, and West Hollywood.

Carmel during the 1930s was a mecca for many well-known photographers.

The 1967 Summer of Love began in the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco.

And sometimes an ongoing change of scenery is an outlet as witnessed by the scores of Deadheads who followed the Grateful Dead around the country during their tours in colorful buses.

Even the red states provide a haven for conservative and evangelical Christians.

As Jerry Garcia once sang, "Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart. You just gotta poke around."


Posted by Lenora Prescott, a resident of another community,
on May 31, 2023 at 9:37 am

Lenora Prescott is a registered user.

Our son recently came out as gay after concealing it for many years. Being oneself takes courage in a hostile world that often frowns upon what it perceives as social deviancy.

Despite progressive advances in social acceptances, I would never try to co-exist in an unfriendly environment.

Moving away to a more liberal social and cultural surrounding is the best course of action.


Posted by Gayle Pierce, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on May 31, 2023 at 4:06 pm

Gayle Pierce is a registered user.

@Lenora Prescott: a neighbor of ours experienced a similar scenario. Their advice is unconditional love and acceptance despite difficulties in fully understanding the situation.

They have accepted their son for who he is but have also told him that he is not to ever invite any of his gay male friends over to their house for dinner or family gatherings because they are not obligated to love and/or accept someone else's gay child.


Posted by Ron Jensen, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jun 1, 2023 at 3:59 pm

Ron Jensen is a registered user.

This is an interesting topic because there are no clearcut answers.

My situation...last week, I found my 15-year old son wearing one of my wife's older bikinis while swimming in our backyard pool. When I asked him why he was wearing a two-piece swim suit, he replied that it was more comfortable than a regular male swimsuit. Now the thing that alarmed me was that he responded matter of factly rather than jokingly as if he was trying to pull on on me. Sadly, he was not kidding around.

Is this a red flag? My wife and I could only have one child and she had always wanted a girl. I am now wondering if she is actively contributing to a gender dysphoria issue.


Posted by Donna Whitcomb, a resident of Community Center,
on Jun 5, 2023 at 8:46 am

Donna Whitcomb is a registered user.

@Ron Jensen
Definitely a red flag...unless you also wear a bikini while swimming in the backyard pool. Then it is more along the lines of "Like father, like son."

On the other hand, assuming it is a private residential pool with adequate fencing, chances are that no one is going to see him.

I'd be more concerned if he did this at a country club or hotel pool. Then it would be personally embarrassing for you and your family.


Posted by Li Xiang, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on Jun 5, 2023 at 11:03 am

Li Xiang is a registered user.

• "Our son recently came out as gay after concealing it for many years. Being oneself takes courage in a hostile world that often frowns upon what it perceives as social deviancy."

^ We endured the same sadness when our son disclosed that he was gay. This is a closed topic that we do not openly discuss with close friends and associates because in our culture it is considered a shameful tragedy.


Posted by Terri Gentry, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jun 5, 2023 at 11:20 am

Terri Gentry is a registered user.

@Ron Jensen: Our son participates in a children's reading hour dressed in drag and has endured verbal harassment from disapproving onlookers who feel that he is sexualizing children via inappropriate appearance and choice of reading material.

We tend to agree and have disavowed ourselves from his activities because it is embarrassing and runs counter to the grain of instilling positive childhood values and perceptions.

It is often best to keep one's preferences to oneself if they are considered inappropriate and deviant by the governing majority.

Acceptances vary by region and our son resides in Florida which is not an ideal environment to be overly progressive or woke.


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