What gets in the way of your acting the way you want to act?
I think about my 9 yo daughter, Rosemary, who has Down Syndrome. She is a joyful, happy free spirit. She loves and expresses herself as she feels. New Year’s Eve she heard someone say something about a party and began jumping up and down, totally excited. Every week after Mass she gives Father a hug. She gives anyone a hug who she thinks needs one.
Why do we not act in ways we might like to? I think a big key is that we worry about what others will think of us. This never crosses Rosemary’s mind.
Would it not be better to act as we feel is best, and not concern ourselves with what others may think? Yes, we need to abide by social norms, but I think often we fear demonstrating emotions: giving someone a hug, crying at a movie.
Perhaps it would be good to evaluate some of our choices, and be more open.
Even if we are afraid. I recall once (twice actually) when we once did a door-to-door mission. We are Catholic, and as a family (as part of a larger group) we went door to door in a community inviting people to Easter Week mass and services. Part of our :script” was to ask folks if they had anything we would like us to pray for- any intentions. Some people did.
Twice over the 3 days period we did this, I felt called to ask the person if they would like us to pray with them NOW for this intention. They said yes, and I/we did. Now I am NOT an expert pray-er. I am NOT used to praying with complete strangers out loud. I am not sued to praying out loud, period (except prayers like the rosary and Mass prayers.)
Yet I choose to follow through and pray with those people and they were very powerful experiences, both for me and for them. Was I afraid? You bet! Was I glad I did it? You bet!
Be not afraid, step out and act in the way you want, the way you are called to. Forget about what others may think of you.