This morning I watched superstar wrestler Darren Young being interviewed on NBC’s Today show. He shared that he was approached at the LA airport by TMZ this week and asked whether he thought a gay wrestler could ever be successful in the WWE. And he simply responded: “Absolutely. Look at me.” And he thereby announced that he was gay.
There was something very touching about seeing him being true to himself and embracing who he was for the world to see. It really shouldn’t be a big deal, but unfortunately, there are still people in our society who are not tolerant and accepting. And it makes it very hard to truly be ourselves, if we are afraid that others will criticize or judge us.
Growing up in Germany and being half Japanese, I knew that I was different from a young age. The area we lived in was not ethnically diverse at the time, so I stood out and got made fun of by some people. Darren Young shared in his interview that he grew up with a speech impediment and was bullied when he was little. As an adult he was terrified that somebody would find out about his sexuality. I think there are many of us who were told at some point or another that something was “wrong” with us.
It’s impossible to fully embrace ourselves, if we still believe that we are flawed in some way. Whether it’s about the way we look, our career choice, our interests, our sexuality, our marital status, our abilities, our decisions or something else. It’s easy to believe that we are not living up to someone’s expectation, that we are not doing enough or making wrong choices. But the truth is, there is no “perfect” person living a “perfect” life. And we wouldn’t even be able to agree what “perfect” is, since everyone has a different ideal.
Once we accept that who we are does not need to fit a certain template, and realize that being true to ourselves is what will actually make us come fully alive, we can begin to fully embrace ourselves. Darren said that part of his decision to publicly speak about this is to be a role model and help inspire others. How can you inspire others around you by embracing who you are?
Check out Manuela’s other articles about Embracing Yourself: