We often hear the phrase “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery..” which is taken from a quote by Oscar Wilde. Usually, it’s spoken in the context of frustration or pride as someone attempts to imitate another or their work. However that’s only part of the quote, here’s the full sentence,
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
It’s good and quite natural to look up to others, to aspire to be like those further along the path. Children do it naturally as they learn from their loved ones. It’s also important and necessary to be teachable and glean wisdom from others, to seek different opinions and keep a keen eye on experts.
What’s not ok is when we start to imitate others. Imitation can stem from comparison, insecurity, laziness or even admiration gone too far. When we imitate we will only ever be second best or second rate and an incomplete version of ourselves. Imitation only takes away from who we really are. We will never fully and truly discover the light within ourselves whilst we’re mimicking someone else or what they do. We must trust in our ability to bring our unique expression to any given situation. It might be similar but it doesn’t have to be the same.
Just as children grow in the discovery of themselves so must we continue to do so as we grow older.
Fortunately, we are connected to and created in the image of the ultimate Creator. He is the ultimate Artist, Physician, Communicator, Scientist, Teacher. We have free and loving access to His unlimited resource. The only person we should imitate is Christ. Beyond that, we can trust Him for what we need in order to fully be free to create and use all that He’s placed within us.
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