A good friend of mine recently posted a picture on Facebook with the caption, “You are what you love, not who loves you.” I immediately pulled up a second tab and searched this quip to give the author props. I ended up going on a rabbit trail of songs. There is a song by Fallout Boy (I like them) with those lyrics; however, they also appear in a song by Rilo Kelley, Jenny Lewis, and in the movie “Adaptation”. I actually had trouble finding the source of this quote. The oldest I found was the mid 1700s–anonymous, of course.
Maybe it was nigh impossible to find the source because of how deeply fundamental the saying is. It is said that there is nothing new under the sun; if so, the most basic truths, and most important, are the oldest. We need to let this quote define our lives.
In America especially, we are wrapped up in what people think of us. Our entire cultural is grounded in cliques, social status, and brands. The core of this groundwork is the “need” to have the right people like you. Since when has that mattered? Are you running for a political office? If the answer to that question was no, then focus on you, not them. “I’m not sure who I am apart from boyfriend.” “I am a Republican, but my party has seen so many losses recently.” “I am middle-class, but these bills and economy are dropping me further down the socio-economic ladder.” “I thought I was a Christian, but I no longer relate to these people that also claim Christ.” These are some common ones I hear daily. Let’s take them one at a time, and see if we can’t validate our quip.
I am what my significant other has defined me as. Then end it now honey! Do you love them? Then you will be the best you, you can be by developing or perhaps refining your person. Do they love you? They will work to build up your “you-ness”.
My Political Party isn’t in power. Why are you a Republican? You like guns? You like babies? You like the government to leave you alone. Then you are Pro-life, pro-armament, and pro-privatization regardless of who is in office. Why are you a Democrat? You feel for the poor? You love biospheres? You want to make health care affordable for everyone? Then you are a hippie. jk. Then you are concerned for the poor, care for the earth, and want to get everyone what they need. You are this regardless of who is in office.
Class. This is not you, or anyone for that matter. This is what category you fall under because of external circumstances. There are virtuous people in poverty and scalawags in extravagance and vice versa. You are you, without the economic title.
Religion. What are your core values? Do they line up with your religion? If not, change religions! Are people in your religion not reflecting what their religion teaches? Then they are not what they think they are! Do not let other people’s hate for your true religious conviction redefine who you are or your view toward your religion!
So what’s the common denominator? I am (me not hypothetical anymore) a musician. Not because I fit in with musicians, but because I think music, I breathe music, I live music. I am a Christian because I love Christ and His Word. I live for Him; I’d die for Him. What are you? What do you love? What of you, by you, and from you is so inseparable from your being that its very absence would make you stop being you? That is who you are. And it is only through discovering what you love–that inmost core, hardwired into the recesses of your soul– that you find you. Other people’s care or concern for you is irrelevant. People will love you for you. Anyone who seeks a different you is looking for a reflection of themselves to love and not you. Don’t become a copy or clay in their hands, be the original work of art.
“You are what you love, not who loves you.”