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September 3, 2014

Own Yourself

Lombok Lady

I was sitting in the couch close to my youngest daughter.

We were browsing the internet for a school project and we ended up in WikiHow. Wow — once you’re trapped in there, it’s almost impossible to get out. 🙂 Or how about interesting articles such as: How to spin a pencil around your thumb, How to skip rocks, How to wallpaper a room, How to cheer someone up

And then we found what we were looking for: How to be happy. So, if you have ever asked yourself how to be happy; here are the answers. 🙂

As my daughter and I read the article, we discussed the answers and found they resonated with us. We liked the article very much. Some of the answers we discussed longer than others.

But there was one item on the list I have not been able to forget all week. Maybe it gave me words for something I have been pondering for a while.

Own Yourself.

“This means accept and embrace your habits, your personality, mistakes, the way you talk, looks, your voice, and most importantly ‘You’. Try to be comfortable in your own skin and subconsciously communicate to others that, ‘This is me take it or leave it’.”

To me this would include: if you are a singer — own the way you sing, if you are a dancer — own the way you dance, if you are a writer — own the way you write, if you are a poet — own your rhymes, or lack of them. 🙂

And on a personal level — own your scars.

The full half a meter of them. Own your story, all the messy and the strange and the confusing and the painful and the happy memories. Own your future, the upcoming heart surgeries (luckily my heart is doing fine now, but I’ll need at least two more surgeries down the road, the first one hopefully not sooner than 15-20 years from now.)

Own where you’re at, right now. Own the road behind you and what you know about the road ahead of you. It is tempting to carry along a shadow of how things were supposed to have been, of who you were supposed to be. You know — the person you dreamed when you were little you would become, before, well, life interfered. I have done that, am still reminding myself to let go of this shadow from time to time. It is heavier than one might think to carry, even though it really doesn’t exist. But I am here, scars and all.

In short — own your pineapples.

I love the picture I chose to symbolize this principle. Just look at her! Isn’t she beautiful!? I met this woman on the shores of Lombok, a small Indonesian paradise island. She sells pineapples and traditionally patterned shawls on the beach, and believe me — she knows how to bargain! 🙂 (I think we bought at least ten shawls). She is a typical proud woman of the Indonesian islands — feeling slightly sorry for the poor tourists who have to leave their cold home countries and travel across the world to come to visit her. But not sorry enough to go below a certain price. 🙂 She knows her home island is the paradise of the earth and she is proud of it. Often, she has never left her island — why should she, when people from all over the world leave their homes to come to hers?

She may not have read how to be happy on WikiHow. But — my goodness — she owns it.


Own Yourself — what does this mean to you? Is there a point in your life, or a certain aspect of your life, where you can see this principle working more clearly?


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