“Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Already Taken” Oscar Wilde

How I love that quote! Just imagine if there were no you in this world. Think of the family and friends and experiences you’d have missed, the jokes and songs unheard, the sights of nature unseen, the emotions not felt.

I’ll bet that most of us start out in life unsure of ourselves, unfairly compare ourselves to others, and imagine that we are not ‘as good as’ or ‘worthy of’ this, that or the other thing. Or we worry about our looks, our clothes, our speech, our habits and hobbies. Girls and women seem to take this to a higher proving ground, and feel bad if they don’t measure up to the current celebrity or musician, etc.

Before I forget, here’s a great observation from a well-known celebrity: when asked if the “normal woman” could look just like her, she laughed. She went on to say, “I am very lucky to have made it in this business; it’s not easy. For me to look the way I do requires makeup artists, people who pick out my outfits, jewelry and shoes, a dietitian, exercise coach, and more. The average person generally doesn’t have the resources that I have. Believe me, when I’m home I don’t look anything like this!”

I am fascinated by cooking shows and cooking challenges, such as “Chopped,” “Master Chef,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” and so on. But my favorites are the ones featuring kids who love to cook. I recently watched a challenge with kids chosen from all parts of the country. The one who touched my heart the most was an 11-year old girl named Lauren, who claimed to adore heavy metal music, and especially Ozzy Osbourne.

You could not possibly find a less likely-looking young rocker than this girl. She was short, skinny, with mousey fly-away brown hair, a wide mouth full of braces, and was an awkward speaker. But she was absolutely passionate about cooking—and rock and roll. She admitted to being shy and said that speaking in front of people made her nervous. But you could tell that her idea of wit was far more advanced that your average 11-year old. This alone probably marked her as a weirdo in school.

All I could see was a passionate youngster who loved preparing food, and who would eventually grow into her own looks and style. She looked like what I imagine Julia Roberts looked like as a child. Just think of the impact Lauren will make on this world with all those gifts. And I’ll bet that sooner than she thinks, she will grow into her own looks and style and bloom like the beautiful rose she is.

Make the most of you—you are here for a reason and a purpose. Your looks, your style, your feelings, your passions, your interests; these make up who you are in this world. You are important, and you are here to be present for all that this life has to offer. Let’s just talk about looks, too, while we are on the subject. The Chinese in their wisdom have a wonderful quote about beauty: “Marrying a woman for her looks is like buying a house for its paint.”

This is not to say that you can’t “*foo-foo” up; make your own style. I can’t tell you how many women over the years have snarkily said to me, ‘oh, I don’t know how you manage to wear all that jewelry each day. I would be sooooo tired!’ Meaning: ‘why can’t you be less visible, less showy, less YOU?’

My response has always been to smile widely and say, “Duly noted!”

Looks, possessions and jobs are transitory things. The essential “you” is unique, precious, valuable and infinitely worthy. You are here for a reason and a purpose, and yes—your best bet is to be all the you you can be. Everyone one else is already taken, so just be you.

*Jane-speak for makeup, hair, accessories, etc.

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