As soon as you read the title of this blog you instantly disagreed or reluctantly agreed with it. I can hear my grandpa’s voice in my head right now saying, “Pluto has always been a planet and it will always BE a planet.” No matter what scientific evidence is presented to him (or maybe you), Pluto is STILL a planet.
So why does he (and possibly you) believe that? Because of essentialism. (Don’t feel bad, I had to Google it too.)
Essentialism is the belief things have a set of characteristics that make them what they are and that these characteristics place those things in certain categories. And the “kicker” here is that most of us rely on the opinions of experts to help us form these categories.
(Stick with me – I’m going somewhere with this.)
So…years and years ago some NASA scientist told us Pluto was a planet so we placed Pluto in the “planet category”. Sure, why not! It’s…round and floating in space and revolving around the sun and that’s what planets do…right?
Now fast forward a few decades and a different set of NASA scientists are telling us, “Nope, our bad. It’s really NOT a planet.” Well, too late NASA! We already listened to you once and we are horrible at changing how we categorize things! And until the day I die it will be a PLANET!
Ok, so we are all on the same page now. Pluto’s a planet and someone needs to enlighten NASA on the concept of “no takesy backsies”.
Now, pick up a fashion magazine. Flip through the pages. Read the opinions of those “experts” and let those opinions place YOU into a category. It should be easy to do since YOU have a defined set of characteristics.
You’re too short. You’re not tanned enough. You’re hair isn’t straight. You’re hair isn’t curly. You’re teeth aren’t perfectly white. You’re skinny. You’re fat. (I know that last one hurt.)
Keep flipping those pages though because those “experts” are now going to tell you HOW to FIX all of that.
This is the color for you. This purse makes you look just like her. Those pants are slimming. These earrings make you stand out. WEAR THAT. BUY THIS.
And no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you buy, you’re still Pluto the Planet because you CAN’T RE-CATEGORIZE YOURSELF.
Are you close to tears right now? I know I am. Ugh, why is self-image so hard?
Here’s the thing – no outfit can define the essence of who you really are. Who you REALLY are remains the same wither you’re wearing a new $300 outfit or the faded jeans from your closet. And if we believe the idea of essentialism (categorizing based off characteristics) then no matter what you do, you will still fall into the same categories.
So, stop categorizing yourself based on the opinions of “experts”. Even if you buy that new dress, you’re still a mom. Carrying a new purse doesn’t mean you’re no longer a daughter. You’re still a friend no matter how many pair of shoes you own. Not shopping and wearing the clothes I already own has allowed (and forced) me to focus of what my true essence is and what categories I want to be in.
What is your true essence? What categories do you want to be in? Generous? Kind? Compassionate? Wise?
And if we can start to see ourselves differently maybe we can start to see everyone else differently too, and maybe, just maybe, we can open our minds up to the idea that Pluto maybe isn’t really a planet after all.
My name is Misty Day (yeah, that really is my name) and I'm a normal every day person. I'm a twin, I work as an analyst, I take my daughter to Girl Scouts and swim team, I play bass guitar in a band, I love food and wine, I like new clothes, and I'm trying to be a better person.