The artist eccentric artist/photographer Man Ray was once walking around the classroom taking a look at the art that his students were working on as he taught. He noticed that each and everyone of his students were trying to be like one particular artist or another. Everyone was trying imitate the style of some famous artist from a bygone era. Man Ray took note of all this and said something to wit, “Listen. If you want to be original, be yourself.” *
I think that quite often when we are trying to become like someone, we really are trying to become that someone. However God has created us all differently and so we ought to be who He created us to be. Why try to be like someone else? Why try to be Michael Jordan when God has given you a calling to be say a hockey player.
Now, there are of course limits to this and to that thought I would say “Yes. Be yourself. Be original but let not your originality come out of original sin.” Huh? Human nature is fallen. There is something deeply wrong with each of us. If you don’t believe me just turn on the evening news. Or better yet, take a good long look at your own soul. There is something wrong with us and when you want to be yourself – be original – you need to take that into account.
So yes. Be yourself but not to the degree that you reach for one more beer when you have a problem with self-control. Yes. Be yourself. Be authentic. Be original. But not to the degree that you pocket one more thing from the store and say “Hey. I can help it. I am a klepto. I was born that way. That’s just who I am.” Yes. Be yourself, but not your sinful self. Not your insane self.
* I have paraphrased this story since I have lost track of the source.