Humans are social and greagarious animals. We also get our understanding of our individual identity from comparisons with those around us. We are all mirrors both reflecting and to some extent distorting the world and immediate environment.
In this respect are we ever really free to be ourselves - our true selves? It takes courage to step outside the consensus of behavioural patterns and mental imagery we have jointly constructed through our media, politics, economic and religious institutions. Yet to do so can bring great relief and personal growth. Whilst the following quote was written by a lesbian author I believe the message is for everyone in every walk of life. Where and when have you been subjected to criticism and prejudice? In work places, school, family or other social situations? We are all weird in some respect. We all have our own ideosynchracies. How likely are we to express these openly? How likely are we to suppress our true beliefs, values and personality just to conform? How 'brave' are we in stepping out not only to express ourselves but also to support those 'others' who are strong enough to be different?
“You're neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; you're as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else; only you're unexplained as yet--you've not got your niche in creation. But some day that will come, and meanwhile don't shrink from yourself, but face yourself calmly and bravely. Have courage; do the best you can with your burden. But above all be honourable. Cling to your honour for the sake of those others who share the same burden. For their sakes show the world that people like you and they can be quite as selfless and fine as the rest of mankind. Let your life go to prove this--it would be a really great life-work.”
― Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness