“I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.” ~Kurt Cobain. It is important to always be yourself and to stay true to who you are. Don’t let others try to change you into something you are not.
I was walking home yesterday when suddenly I was approached by two women who smiled at me as they walked by. They were a part of the local Mormon Church and were walking through the neighborhoods to talk about Jesus. They stopped me and wanted to know if I believe in Jesus, if I pray, and what my religious beliefs are. I tried to continue on walking but they pulled me in to talk. The first thing I said was that I was Jewish. They looked at me and said, “That’s ok” but I could see it in their eyes that they were disappointed and almost disgusted that they had started an interaction with a “Jew.”
The women went on and on, trying to change my beliefs, trying to make me believe in what they believe in and give up my own beliefs. I explained to them that I don’t think it’s right for anyone to try and “convert” others into believing what they believe and that everyone should be entitled to choose what they want to believe in for themselves and not bullied into believing what other’s strongly feel. I continued and said that they are allowed to have their strong feelings but that I should be allowed to have mine too. They nodded, getting my point, but still I could tell they weren’t happy because I wasn’t about to change who I am for them.
As they continued to preach to me about Jesus, and I continued to try not to get angry at them, I finally took this opportunity to “preach” myself about my blog and spreading kindness into the world. The women were in awe, couldn’t believe what a wonderful thing I have been doing, and suddenly one them started crying, as I continued to be passionate about what my blog is about. Through the tears the woman said, “See, Jesus had a plan for you and is watching after you. Jesus loves you so much.” With that i replied back, “Actually no, It isn’t Jesus looking after me who loves me so much. It’s my Grandpa.”
The point of this encounter with these women, turned out not to be an opportunity for them to preach to me about Jesus but rather an opportunity for me to test myself and whether I can stay true to who I am without other’s pushing me in a different direction. I was able to stand up for myself and not let them change my own beliefs. I was able to explain my feelings and how it shouldn’t matter that they disagree with what I believe in because I’m not trying to change their own feelings. I chose to not be aggravated with this encounter but rather take it as a chance to teach about kindness and how important it is to stay true to who you are. In the end, it shouldn’t matter what my opinions are if I am not hurting anyone. It shouldn’t matter how you feel if you aren’t hurting anyone. What should matter is that you are staying true to yourself and not letting anyone else change you. Cinda Williams Chima said to “Just remember who you are. The world will try to change you into someone else. Don’t let them. That’s the best advice anyone can give you.”