Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions,
their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
Ironic, I know, that Wilde’s words should themselves be used by others as a critique of people using the words of others to inform their lives.
It will be noted, too, that many of the posts on this blog contain quotations from other sources or at least refer to other people’s speeches, books, comments and writings.
I think it’s a question of drawing the line. Of course we learn from others, and of course interesting thoughts beautifully rendered stay with us and inform not only our view of the world but also our forms of expression.
The question though, is whether we are sponges, absorbing everything that comes along and being shaped by it indiscriminately, or whether we listen to it, evaluate it, understand it, filter out the bad and absorb only the good.
Who or what is authoring your life? Are you in the driving seat, making the decisions which are consistent with the person God has made you to be and the call He has on your life, or are you shaped and led by other people, their expectations, their hopes and dreams for your life, their demands?
To be authentic is to ‘author’ yourself – the same greek word forms the root of both english ones. If you’re a Christian, of course, it should be God who is authoring you – you should be giving Him the pen and allowing Him to take control (or rather, acknowledging that He is control and ceasing to struggle against his plot-lines!).
God made you who you are for a purpose. The easiest way of discovering that purpose is to follow his lead. Peer-pressure and the weight of expectations from family, employer, friends or whoever can be huge; I’m under no illusion that this will be easy, but since when did a great story consist of a lead character who kind of wafted along, taking the easy route and never making his or her own decisions? Heroes and heroines – from Jason Bourne to Jane Austen – are people who know their own mind and are committed to doing what is right, whatever the cost.
Don’t be other people; be who God made you.