STATEMENT 1: At a recent Commencement Mass, LMU's former President, Fr. Robert Lawton, S.J. said: ''So what is the answer to this deep insecurity we all feel? The answer, I think, is to embrace the adventure of becoming deeply, and fully, ourselves. This is what God is really calling us to. It seems like the riskiest of all journeys, this journey to be one self. But it's ultimately the journey that leads us to happiness, that leads us into God's dreams for us.''
QUESTION 1: Why do you think Fr. Lawton says the ''journey to be oneself'' seems the riskiest of all journeys? What risks lie ahead as you embark on your college career, and the ''adventure'' of discovering and becoming yourself?
In a world where conformity is praised, and individuality is rare, it is easy to see why the journey to be oneself is often the most dangerous. We fear the failure of gaining acceptance amongst our peers, and the failure that might happen with ourselves.
Many of us thrive on acceptance. So we change how we act, how we dress, and as a result, who we are in order to mold ourselves into what our peers want us to be. Instead of pleasing ourselves, we end up pleasing everyone around us. We watch the same shows just because everyone else is watching it, and we dress the same way because everyone else dresses that way. And after awhile, all of this pretending will start becoming a chore. We will start to dread the shows we watch and the clothes we wear. But will continue to do it to fit in. We are afraid to be ourselves because we fear that no one will accept us for who we really are. But deep down, it is not the fear of acceptance that really makes the journey dangerous, but the fear of failure within ourselves.
Although our fear of not gaining acceptance has a huge impact on us, it is ultimately the fear of failure that might happen to ourselves that causes the most damage. We ultimately fear disappointing ourselves. In addition to society's standards, we put certain standards upon ourselves. Whether it may be to achieve that elusive 4.0 grade point average, or to win an Academy Award, we fear that despite all of our hard work, we will fail. And as a result, we stick to what everyone else does. We go about our day, not being ourselves, but what society wants us to be. We stay away from taking risks, fearing that the risk will not pay off. Most of us fear failure because we can't bear to face the fact that it didn't work out. And in the end, we feel embarrassed that everything we worked for has gone to waste.
As I start a new chapter in life, I know that there will be times that I will not be accepted for who I am. And as I enter the world as a new college student, I will have to make a decision. I can either choose to please myself, or please the people around me. When I choose to please other people, I risk not? being who I really am and if I choose to please myself, I know that I will risk not? being accepted by some people. I know that on my adventure in discovering who I am, there will be times that I will fail, and times when I feel as though I cannot move on. But I also know that in order to succeed, I must fail. There will be instances when there are obstacles that I must face, and temptations that I must put aside. And much like college, there will be times where I have to choose between pleasing myself or my peers. But despite the possible failures that might come along with finding who you are, it is important to make the decision to please yourself and not your peers. Because at the end of the day, you will always be stuck with yourself, and not your peers.