I Like You Just the Way You Are

I grew up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on TV, and am guessing you may have too.

I love how Mr. Rogers made me feel. I love how he taught me to be curious about life. I love how he told me it was OK, just to be me.

But, as I grew older I forgot much of what Mr. Rogers taught as I turned into a responsible, practical adult. Maybe this sounds familiar:

“But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible… Logical, oh responsible, practical. And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, Oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical” – The Logical Song by Supertramp.

I continued to be very fond of what Mr. Rogers taught, in fact I’ve always had a secret love for him, but just didn’t know why. I’ve come to find out my friend Kathy Gruver grew up in Pittsburgh and her father sold paint to the studio used to film Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. In fact, as a little girl she was even on of the children they used in one of the episodes.

The documentary movie “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” came out in 2018 and I just had to watch it. Then “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” came out in 2019 and I also felt compelled to watch it. I was loving me some Mr. Rogers again.

Then there were news stories about how the actor Tom Hanks (who played Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) was related to Fred Rogers. Very interesting, but even more interesting when I read “Ancestry.com figured out the two are sixth cousins, and their common ancestor was Johannes Meffert. Their subsequent ancestors had the last name of Mefford”(1) and I did a WTF?!?

That’s my last name, and my mother who was a genealogist and told me when I was younger that Johannes Meffert is my ancestor who came over from Germany in the 18th century. That means I am distantly related to both Tom Hanks and Fred Rogers. No wonder I was drawn to both of those men without understanding why.

So why am I telling you this?

Most of our adult life we are all told things like:

  • You just don’t have the right look.
  • You’re not what we are looking for.
  • Your too fat, too skinny, too loud, too quiet, too whatever…
  • I just wish you were more like ______
  • I wish you would grow up
  • You’re not professional enough
  • And the list goes on and on, etc…

If we are constantly told we need to BE a different way, we act in ways that are not authentic to who we are, and when we do that long enough we bump into cognitive dissonance… “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.”

And when you are there, you go through your life feeling like a fraud, pretending to be someone you aren’t and that can lead to stress, depression, and health issues. I know since I’ve been there too.

I’m here to tell you it’s already to be weird, quirky, different… what ever term you identify with. It’s OK to let you freak flag fly and be a little crazy. It’s OK just to be the authentic you. It’s OK to not let others put you in a box or tell you that you aren’t good enough.

At least that’s what I believe, and I think that’s what Mr. Rogers would share with us if he were still on the planet. Since he’s not here, I think someone needs to share that message of hope and love with you, so why not me.

“I like you just the way you are.” – Mr. Rogers

“You make each day a special day by just your being you.” – Mr. Rogers

For too many years I was caught up in the indoctrination of “adulting” and spent much of my life being who I thought the world wanted me to be, instead of who I really am.

Maybe you feel the same way. If you do, follow me on the journey of discovering your authentic self and let him/her/them out. They want to play.

“It’s important to learn to play.” – Mr. Rogers

People are going to judge you regardless of what you do, so why not be authentic and genuine in who you are instead of trying to be someone else that comes with all of the guilt, shame, stress, etc… of pretending to be someone you aren’t.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

If you like what you are hearing, stayed tuned for more BEing Uniquely YOU, Jamming with Jason podcasts, and other posts and videos available at: jasonmefford.com where I am free to be 100% me, and don’t have to censor myself on social media platforms 🙂

(1) https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/entertainment/tom-hanks-fred-rogers-related-trnd/index.html

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