One of the perks of finding and living your identity is that you become an inspiration to others. Some will openly tell you how much they look up to you for the way they live out their lives, and others will just sponge up quietly. The rub comes when you become so absorbed into the standard you are to others that it begins to reshape your identity – who you are, and makes you self-conscious or consumed with your portrayal to other people. While it is nice to be an example, the point of self-discovery and identity is not so that you become bonded to the perceptions and expectations of other people. It is not even so that you can be an example. ‘Being’ [who you are] is the point, not living up.
The choice of others to accept or follow is their prerogative and will always be under their control – when they feel like it and when they don’t. That acceptance should never govern the identity of you that they have come to admire – because the moment your identity cycles into a pose for other people, you then become about them and in essence lose yourself. In the end, it doesn’t matter who we think you are. It only matters who you really are.