“Be yourself” nowadays sounds cliche to us because it became a piece of advice we used to receive but seldom understood. For all the secrets that have been revealed, we wonder why showing our true selves seem the hardest to fully figure out.
Maybe because “be yourself” means a different thing for every person. But I believe that there are basics when it comes to being ourselves. From there, everyone can start uncovering their masks. It doesn’t feel good being a copycat.
“Waking up to who you are, requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.”
Imagine if one day we can finally let go of made-up stories and judgments that we used to place within ourselves. Then, maybe life will get less complicated, and peace may no longer be an elusive thing that we keep on chasing.
But how are we supposed to do that? To throw off every single pretense once and for all and live as a unique version of our true self, even if we often feel unaccepted. Here are some tips for you to become more of yourself in the world that usually wants to change you.
Be yourself by resisting to please others all the time
If you look back and try to remember, you will realize that most of your painful experiences in life came from the moments where you found yourself doing so many crazy things for the sake of pleasing other people or gaining their approval.
But pleasing other people all the time is one surefire way for you to give them more reasons to reject you.
Psychotherapist Ilene Cohen said,
“…but with other people, it seemed the more I tried to please them, the more likely they were to treat me like an old dish rag; and the more this happened, the less I liked myself.”
I know we naturally feel the need to be selfless sometimes. Like when we see the difficulties of the poor during trying times and we want to help. But that is an act of charity.
Pleasing people all the time means your self-worth is dependent on how they are going to respond when you do things in their favor.
It is like you’re telling them that you are insecure about your own judgment with yourself. Worse, yet, if you find yourself in a bad company, this may give them the opportunity to take advantage of you.
When it comes to being selfless, be yourself means, doing good things for other people because that is your heartbeat. That can also be mean having a compassionate heart. But doing good with the intention of gaining entitlement is not an effective way to be yourself.
Whether you want to please others or not, you are still a candidate for rejection. We are all prone to facing disapproval. But it’s better to be rejected for being who you are than pleasing everyone all the time and still be rejected anyway.
Besides, we need to learn that it is not our responsibility to always make everyone happy. Happiness is our accountability for ourselves.
When you are truly glad presenting who you really are, you get more chances to attract more authentic relationships. The world appreciates uniqueness. So be yourself! You may not bring sunshine to everybody if you decide to be yourself, but you can still add meaning to the life of the few people who probably need to meet someone exactly like you.
Know and accept yourself
You cannot accept the one you know nothing about. There are no exceptions, not even you. If you’re finding it hard to do so, there are many methods you can use to know yourself better. Let me share a few.
- Be honest with yourself. Identify your weaknesses and strengths. Notice what makes you feel comfortable. Think of areas that you need to improve.
- Ask yourself helpful questions. Questions like what are your values and convictions in life? What are your dreams? What change do you want to make?
- Identify your roles. What relationships and commitments do you have? Are you a father, a social volunteer, a team leader? After listing these things, think about what these roles mean to you.
As you begin to know yourself, you may eventually recognize certain qualities in you that you can be proud to display. You may experience self-acceptance, and if that happens, it may lead to a more peaceful serene life.
Overexposure to social media may probably do more harm than good in the way we see ourselves and others.
After swiping many posts on Facebook or Instagram, we tend to compare ourselves with the life or look that other people are posting on their timelines. Then we feel the urge to compete and do some effort to at least appear to be like them even if it confuses our identity.
Social media is frequently giving us false pictures of real life, and yet we desire to imitate those pictures. We seek validation on social media more than necessary.
It exposes us to numerous opinions and perspectives of hundreds and thousands of people we are connected with until we find it difficult to recognize our own voice, true values, and personal pursuit in life. It tempts us to think that validation comes from the reactions and comments we receive.
Do not let your social media accounts define you. Instead, nurture yourself by building personal relationships with your closest friends and family during your spare time.
Invite friends for a group date. Watch movies together with your family. Try a new sport, read books, or learn to cook new recipes. There are still more meaningful activities that you can do instead of soaking too much on social media.
Express yourself without explaining
You can be yourself by expressing who you are to other people. You can share your dreams, convey your thoughts, or tell your life’s story no matter how imperfect it might sound.
Do not hesitate to act according to your beliefs. Do what you decided to do without explaining all your whys. Talk without over-analyzing if what you are saying is agreeable or not. Appreciate and embrace yourself as a unique, beautiful piece of art ready to present all its colors to the world.
When you feel unaccepted
Being yourself takes a lot of courage. Some people may start to treat you differently and that somehow feels risky on your part. You may feel unaccepted at times, but you have to learn how to be okay with it. You are destined to do great things but only when you decide to become the best version of you.
Source: Psychology today