A colorful ride in Laos
There are approximately ten million colors in the world.
This is wonderful news considering I love color. Well, certain colors. In certain combinations. Sometimes I love the absence of color.
That’s the great thing about color: Color preference is totally subjective. I love turquoise but you may hate it. So what? No harm, no foul.
But I want you to like me. So if you say turquoise is the worst color ever, I’ll probably question my choice. Maybe you’re right? Maybe tangerine is superior.
So I try on tangerine. I add a tangerine blouse to my wardrobe. I paint a wall of my apartment tangerine. I change my website logo to have a tangerine background.
But then it dawns on me: the tangerine blouse makes me look like I have jaundice, the tangerine wall gives me migraines, and my stomach turns into knots every time I have to upload a new post to my blog.
And yet, this is what I see over and over again with people when sharing their stories, whether they speak on stage, or write advice columns, or design handbags. Even though we have complete creative control over our own preferences, we often get so caught up in being liked or being “in” with the latest trends that we forget our opinion is just as valuable as that of anyone else.
Note: This is especially important if we feel small because someone else is an “expert” or has a large following. Even if insert celebrity name here proclaims that violet is a “better” color than fuchsia, that doesn’t make them right- it makes them obnoxious.
I fully admit I’m super guilty of being swayed by the opinions of others. Perhaps this is a girl thing or a Pisces thing or a former actress thing (actresses are among the most insecure people on earth thanks to experiencing rejection on a daily basis), but I often find myself forgetting what my own preferences are:
Do I actually like Ryan Gosling or do I think I’m supposed to because Pinterest tells me I should?
Do I really care about renewable energy sources, or do I worry people will think I’m shallow because I don’t?
And every time I try on something (literal or figurative) because someone else says I should, even if it doesn’t resonate with me, the result is always the same: I don’t feel and look my best.
What I’m trying to say here is that how you choose to live and share your stories is similar to choosing your favorite colors:
There is no right or wrong answer.
In fact, the more colors in the world, the better! If everyone loved tangerine we’d get sick of it real fast. That’s what occurs with trends- whether in fashion, in diets, or in WordPress themes.
To borrow another color metaphor: When we try to conform to the ideas and iterations dictated by others, we experience over-saturation. This time next year, no one wants to be caught dead in tangerine. It was a one hit wonder.
So can we all agree to disagree on what is the best way to live and share our stories?
The world has more than enough crayons to color with.
Choose the ones you love.
Leave the rest.