Be true to yourself.
I'm not sure what that means. Maybe don't pretend to be someone you're not?
I can get behind that.
But what I can't get behind is the idea that your "true self" is the version of yourself that exercises no self-control, cares about no one but yourself, and always looks out for number one.
If everyone lived that way, the world would be a much sorrier place.
The family and I watched a movie this weekend called "Turning Red".
In the movie, a young teen girl named Meilin wrestles with the beast within (her panda) that comes out anytime she experiences heightened emotions.
One of the primary messages of the movie is that you shouldn't have to suppress the beast but instead, you should embrace it.
I'm going to move into spoiler territory so... consider yourself warned.
Meilin goes on to completely rebel against her mother and flaunt her rebellion in her face (literally).
She's screaming at her mother and acting like a spoiled toddler... and the movie celebrates it.
She's being true to herself!
Should we come to grips with the beast within? Sure.
Should we let it roam free to destroy superdomes? Probably not.
This idea that our emotions are the ultimate good is just plain wrong.
Our anger, hatred, jealousy, and myriad other emotions are not good just because they are real.
Proverbs 25:28 tells us this:
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
The question is not whether your feelings are real. Of course they're real. But giving them free rein over your life is a recipe for disaster.
There is honor in admitting your feelings are real and then keeping them in check.
James 1:19 puts it this way:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Which world would you rather live in? A world where people are patient, kind, and listen to each other, or one where everyone is so in tune with their emotions that they "panda" all over the place (to use a term from the movie)?
There is nothing worth celebrating in giving free rein to the beast within.
It's the easiest thing in the world to do.
It's our natural inclination.
The more difficult (and honorable) thing to do is realize that you are experiencing these emotions and then decide what to do with them.
Sometimes, the best response is to act on those emotions.
Other times, reason and wisdom will tell you that your emotions are not giving you the best counsel.
The point is, your emotions should not be the boss of you.
In so much as we allow them to be, we leave ourselves open to all sorts of disaster... like a city with broken down walls.
As for the movie, I suppose it is appropriately named.
The producers, studio, cast, and audience should all be turning red... with embarrassment. 😳