Last week I talked about my love for movies, so don’t be surprised if I reference them on the reg. One of my huge takeaways from movies is when I start to quote them in normal interaction. Using the same jokes, quips, mannerisms, and sometimes even the voice.
For example, if any of my friends ask if anyone wants to go traveling, wine tasting or shopping, I chime in, “I volunteer as tribute.” And you know it’s with the same Hunger Games fervor. Or if I was having a sleepover with friends and using Donkey flare said, “good night and in the morning, I’m making waffles.” You get the point. I admit that I incorporate movie one-liners a lot, whether people pick up on the references or not (I appreciate those that do!).
That is true even of our relationships with our friends. I guess this plays into the theory that we become who we hang out with. But truly, I can attest to picking up mannerisms and phrases from people in my friend group. Things such as the amount I talk with my hands, my quick one-liners, or how I would put an outfit together, just to name a few.
All that to say, while I incorporate movie references into my life, I will never be the characters I watch on screen as disappointing as that is when I’m not snuggled up next to Jake Gyllenhaal or Joseph Gordon-Levitt at night. Or in reality when my personal style is not as on-point like my friend Analisa or I can’t be as witty & humorous as my friend Tobi.
I heard this really awesome TEDtalk (link included) where Hetain Patel said, “imitating somebody can reveal something unique…every time I fail to become more like my father, I become more like myself. Every time I fail to become Bruce Lee, I become more authentically me.”
How many of us have not wanted to be people in the movies we’ve watched or like real people we’ve met? I know there has been several times that I have desired to be more like people who were loved, respected, or admired.
It could just be me, but I think my wish to be more like others stems from the notion that if I were a little bit more like “them” life would be easier. That I desire something that person has I see lacking in myself. That somehow “they” have it all figured out and I’m over here still trying to play catch up in this game of life.
What Patel got me excited about is that the stars on the big screen or people in my life instead of being what I compare myself to are in fact doing their part to my being able to be more fully myself. What??? Mind blown!!!!
Think about it. With every interaction you can learn something you love about yourself and want to continue doing or you discover something you dislike about yourself and how you can work to improve—like someone you know or someone you respect. We are able to see what others have done and try on different ways of approaching a situation but that suits our personalities and value system—and in our inability to perform just like the person we are imitating we become a better, more defined version of ourselves.
Taking it to a faith perspective: As a Christian, I seek to be more like Jesus in the way I live. This may be a surprise and sorry for the spoiler alert, but myself and other Christians will never be exactly like Jesus while we live on this earth. Mega bummer, I know! But in failing at being Jesus we step into the unique way we are made as those who bear God’s image and how we can better learn to live and love like Jesus.
Real talk—who celebrates failure? That sounds twisted and totally different than everything I’ve been taught. Failure means I lost, it means someone else won. Right?
Wrong! It is freeing to know that failure in one thing is NOT the end of all things. Maybe you didn’t catch that – failure in one thing is NOT the end of all things. Henry Ford once said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Failure is no longer what I didn’t accomplish, or the ideal that I lost, but a teacher of who I really am and perhaps a revelation of truth to a lie I was living.
The cool thing that I’ve been able to see and part of the journey from this realization going forward is that as I uncover the authentic, truer version of myself I get to appreciate and joy in the fact that there is no one else like me. That I can give something that no one else can and my contribution to the community around me (real or cyber) is unique and beneficial to each of us as we live into who we are made to be.
So my encouragement today is to see your failure at being others (real or fictional) not as another way you suck at life, but as a step in the journey to being the truest version of yourself and being able to love that person a little more today than you did yesterday.
Until next time…Live as a Masterpiece!