How To Be Yourself
Updated: Jan 24
"By being yourself, you put something beautiful into the world that wasn't there before." -Edwin Elliot
We all hear, "Just be yourself." We are told as children, "Be yourself and you will make friends." Our friends give us advice before the big job interview, "Be yourself and you'll get the job." But what does that even mean? Am I not being myself just by being alive? And how do I know when I am myself or if I'm only pretending to be myself? Who am I? How do I how to be myself?
Our true self is who we are when we let go of all of the stories, labels, and judgments that we have placed upon ourselves. It is who we naturally are without the masks and pretentiousness. We are not what we do for a living or how much money we make. We are not a sum of how many "likes" we get on social media. We are more than a son or daughter, a mother or father.
We are born 100% complete.
The time we are indeed ourselves is when we are children because we don't know how to disguise our differences. As a small child, we play freely, uninhibited from onlookers. We play as if no one in the world exists but ourselves. We did not question if we looked silly, or if our hair was out-of-place. If you were to ask a kindergarten class who was the strongest in the class, they would all raise their hand. If you were to ask a middle school class who was the strongest, they would point to one or two. A group of 12-year-olds would tell you who was the smartest, the fastest, the funniest and the prettiest. As we grow from young children to older children, society will stick a label on who we are. Due to the names put on us, we begin to doubt our abilities and become more and more self-conscious. The more self-conscious we become the masks we wear to hide our true selves. If we are told, we are the smartest in class we act accordingly. We will change or mask our abilities to feel as if we fit in the crowd.
The other time in our lives we are easily ourselves is when we are old and wrinkly. We know we have limited time left and we are not going to waste these few precious years on doing things we don't like or trying to please others. The elderly won't eat things they don't want or listen to music they don't enjoy. They won't visit with people they don't like. They have lived a lifetime and know who they are, and they are old and therefore do not care to try to impress others anymore. They are now authentic again.
The perception that the world has of us is not our authentic self, because we want to be approved by those around us. We want to fit in and be like those around us, and this creates a feeling of need in us to change who we indeed are into what we think we need to be approved by everyone else. Loving others opinions and views is one of the most debilitating things you can do to finding yourself. You can never be free of the way others perceive you as, but you can be free of the way you crave acceptance from others.
You are already unique because nobody has had the same experiences or life circumstances as you. Embrace that and own the one-of-a-kind life you have. Your duty in life is to be the BEST of who you already are. Not to try to change or mask your qualities but to figure out how to enhance your qualities. Tap into the authentic, child-like self without labels or masks. Create a wish list of who you already are, not who others perceive you to be. As you make your list, your true self will begin to show its self. Follow your intuition. It is the quiet, still voice that will help guide you back to yourself.
You know who you are. You only need to listen and trust your inner child.