Do you remember the first time someone asked you who your role model was? I remember it. I also remember saying my role model is the late Princess Diana. I mean she was perfect – a princess, living in a castle , beautiful and doing something so amazing like helping the poor or with terminal illness.
Typically, that’s what we are conditioned to believe. That every girl is a princess who leads this close to perfect life, marries her prince and has perfect children and every boy is this dashing successful, handsome prince with a perfect wife. Except, we know that life isn’t perfect. Yet, we look at these seemingly perfect people and try to imbibe their most desirable qualities. So, in a way we are not ourselves but a makeup of what we believe we should be like.
Behavioural studies have shown that much of learning that occurs during childhood is acquired through observation and imitation and a role model has a huge impact on what we imitate. Most young girls look up to their parents for role models, however with the great flood of technology and information our ideas of role models are more and more skewed. We are conditioned to be several different persona’s (because of what we observe in our media generated role modes)- one for work/school, one for friends, another for family and yet another for a lover. It’s exhausting to be so many things for so many people.What we really need in present times is to be our own original role model in our mundane lives.
I’ve struggled with my idea of a role model because, my role model was the unattainable Princess Diana- I wanted her poise, her grace and her empathetic nature as I saw on TV or read in the news. But, she was not all perfect . She was a product of her environment and the image portrayed by media & I wish I understood this as a child.As time flew and I grew up my role model changed. I realized I wanted a role model who inspired me to be brave and be authentic and vulnerable and utterly imperfect.
It’s important that the people we choose for our role models are not picked from a popularity poll but from real life around us – people who have real struggles like like my mother who dared to dream and break the barriers surrounding her. She lived without fear or suppressing her true voice. She never for a second aped some ideal behaviour and is incredibly genuinely human with all the emotions and none of the guile .
If I could go back to my 10-year-old self, I would have asked her to look more closely at my mother- someone we take for granted every day. A woman who raised her children alone and against the odds. Now she is a true survivor and a role model. It’s because of her that I have realized that, if I have a little girl (and she won’t be wearing pink), I want to be her role model . I want her to know that she should embrace life with both hands and grabs it with the same delightful greed that I feel when I see chocolate. I won’t be perfect but I will be me.
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