What does it mean to be yourself?
We hear this all the time; ‘Just be yourself, he’ll love you. Just be yourself, she wants to see the real you’. We go on to think ‘That’s a bit risky. Surely I have to say witty things and demonstrate that I’m intelligent, strong, beautiful or important?’ We consider it a bad idea and we find it difficult. Why is this? Why do we struggle with just being who we are?
When we were kids we used to run around, sing, laugh, say what we really felt and did what we wanted. Then one day we became ‘adults’ in a somewhat blurry transition. Life took on a whole new dimension and most of us, at least somewhat, stopped being ourselves. Why is this so and what are the consequences?
One of the reasons may be stress; we’ve got too much to deal with. So in order to get what is considered important done, we have to sacrifice our natural state of peace or happiness. Social pressure is also a big one. Some of us feel massive pressure to conform to what is acceptable to say, to wear, to spend our working hours doing, even to believe. In the next few paragraphs I’ll discuss what I think about social pressure.
Although it may seem that conforming is progress and will make us feel connected and accepted, I argue that it just forces us to deviate from our true individual desires, delaying or possibly destroying our chances of being happy. I believe that if you let your true self come through, you’ll feel free and happy and you’ll want to share those feelings with others. When we do what truly makes us feel good, we literally are more attractive than when we do things that don’t really turn us on. It can be heard in the tone of our voice and seen in our facial expression and body language. Think of someone you know who is usually happy. Do you think they derive their happiness from a source other than simply doing what makes them feel good? How about someone who is usually down, do you think they’re in alignment with their inner self, their true desires? Most of us fit somewhere in between, being ourselves when we’re comfortable and hiding ourselves when we’re not. When we do things that are not in alignment with what we truly want it may be because we’re afraid of being judged, being offensive or not fitting in. Probably a combination. I believe that when we do things for reasons which we don’t believe in, we are only fooling ourselves.
It is also common to shy away from what we want in order to please someone else. That’s not to say don’t help others. Rather, when someone asks a favour of you or wants you to agree with them on something, listen to the tone of their voice and look at their body language. Try and get a feel for whether what they’re saying to you is coming from their true self or, conversely, arising from a situation which has been imposed upon them or with which they’re not fully at peace with. You could go on to tell them that it doesn’t seem as though they really want this to be carried out or that they truly believe in this because they seem uncomfortable. If you’re fortunate they might realise or confess that they’re dealing with some kind of problem. You could then take the more difficult but more rewarding path of helping them with the core issue rather than helping them procrastinate or move away from a possible solution. In a more unfortunate situation they may freak out and blame you for being lazy or inconsiderate. In any case, by staying true to yourself and suggesting that they do the same, you might solve the actual issue or avoid getting yourself into something unpleasant. It may be better to avoid making the situation worse and confirming this person’s insecurity, by stepping back and staying true to YOUR values.
Similarly, in general social situations, I argue that if you turn your attention inward you may realise that you’re not comfortable, you’re not enjoying the conversation or what it is you’re doing. Next time you’re in a social situation, just see how you feel when you do or say certain things. Does it feel natural or do you have to fight your natural urge? Do you feel uncomfortable? If so, maybe you should try just saying what first comes to mind, doing what feels natural. This may make people around you feel great or it may make them feel uncomfortable. In the latter case, its their issue, not yours. Or maybe you’re just chilling with people who you don’t really get along with. Either way, being yourself will bring you closer to feeling good, feeling confident and fulfilled and emanating that. You can change the way other people feel just by being yourself.
Finally, apart from taking you away from your natural harmony, not being yourself is also really tiring! You may have noticed that when you attempt to disguise your true feelings for an extended period, you feel really exhausted afterwards. This creates stress, lowers your immune system and will be reflected in how you appear to others.
In summary, if you do or say things that make you feel bad, sick or uncomfortable, that may be an indication that perhaps you’re not in alignment with your true desires or values and you should think twice about making that decision. Take a moment to pay attention to how you feel and remind yourself of what you believe in. Rather go with what feels good. You deserve to be happy and the people who spend their time with you deserve to experience the true you. Sure, easier said than done, but it is definitely worth trying to let go of the fear of what others might think because it may mean becoming a happier and more balanced person.
I think it is really important to do what makes you happy and what you believe is right. Life is too GOOD! Remember to take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of life and try to be grateful for the good things all around you. Don’t think you’re too boring or not good enough to be yourself. Our world needs more honest expression, more colour. Pursue what resonates with you, be open and enjoy yourself.
Keep reading, keep listening and keep living. Be yourself and believe in yourself. Be proud of who you are, a planetary being connected however consciously to the earth and the stars. Take a deep breath and experience this world with an open heart and an open mind. Be kind to the kind of minds that don’t wanna be around your kind and don’t wanna be kind. Be aware of what you do and how you do it generating and disseminating happiness and love while you get through it. Let’s be one, forgiving and forgetting the times when we understood less than the value of the sum. Let love be and be one with love, the truth emanates from within, not below or above.