“Just be yourself!”
These were the rather stern words of this intimidatingly beautiful woman I was dating several years ago. And her ire was very much aimed squarely – at – me!
So in this article about being yourself I’m going to explore just what being yourself actually means, and why anyone would spend any time NOT being themselves.
And to help me, I’ve enlisted the services of 3 inspirational quotes.
So anyway, back to the date that wasn’t going well…
This woman’s words puzzled me. I could tell she was irritated by me not being myself – call it male intuition, or the fact that she was growling whilst she spoke – but I also knew that I’ve spent my whole life doing just that: BEING MYSELF.
So that’s why I was puzzled, and even a little bit frustrated. Because I knew I specialised in being myself. For example:
* I wore the clothes that I wanted to wear
* I had my own thoughts, and not someone else’s
* I did not conform, did not surrender myself to the often dreary ‘rules’ of life.
And I was more or less happy doing so, surrounded by friends happy with – me – being – me.
“The challenge is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else”
Anonymous said that. And I said “Tick” – challenge well and truly accepted.
So in what way was I not being myself?
Well, this is the part about being myself that I least understood at the time. But it’s EXACTLY what my beautiful companion was referring to when she complained, “Just be yourself!”
Simply put, what she was noticing was me saying one thing and FEELING another.
So I might have been feeling angry, that moment, but I pretended to be calm. I might have been feeling sad, but I’d put on my ‘happy’ face. I might even have been feeling intimidated in this woman’s company, but was too frightened to show it (even to myself).
Yes, quite often this state of ‘not being yourself’ is one you don’t even realise you’re in – these out-of-sync feelings could be so normal to you that just don’t notice them.
And for those times you DO realise you’re pretending with your feelings, well you’re usually doing that because… because of what the other person might think.
Ah, yes, now we’re onto familiar self-help territory. Now we’re seeing what stops us from being ourselves – either on the surface, with the fashion we follow, or deep down: we’re frightened of not being accepted by others.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who suffers from this. Chances are, you, too, may compromise being yourself, because of what others might think; because others might ridicule your efforts at ‘individuality’.
Well fear not, because you and I get our very own inspirational quote that might just help us here:
“Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
— Henry Van Dyke
The stark truth is, ALL we can do is BE OURSELVES to the best of our ability. If we choose to sing, to dance, or to speak in public – however it is that we decide to express who we are, it just has to be to our best.
All we can do is EXPRESS ourselves as truthfully and self-knowingly as we can.
THEN… then we will be being ourselves, whatever the consequences, we will be being ourselves
But make no mistakes this journey of being yourself is not a trivial one. There will be hardships along the way; their will be distractions. And we may well take one step forward and two steps back. However, it is VITAL to be yourself, vital.
So I’d like to end this article with these words from author e e cummins, that pretty much sum what I’ve been trying to say here:
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
Thank you, and I wish you well in your ‘being yourself’ journey. And should you ever chance across my date – I haven’t seen her for years, obviously – will you tell her ‘Thanks’, too.