When I was growing up, I was always told to be myself. Every single day, both my mother and my father told me to be myself. In fact, I think that the “be yourself” mantra is one that so many of my generation’s parents told them over and over. So why did so few people listen?
We are so afraid of judgement, especially in the social media age, that I think if we are anything, it is less ourselves than ever before.
I assert that not being ourselves, in the short term, helps us in our social, political or work-related goals, but in the long-term, hurts us even deeper in those areas. too often the sad story is told of a man or woman waking up in a job they hate next to someone they hate, all be cause it fit what they were supposed to do. I’ve seen people burn out socially because they found themselves being someone they weren’t.
I’m not saying it’s easy to be genuine. If anything it is far easier to not be. Oftentimes it comes more naturally to change yourself to “fit in” or do what you “should” than it does to really put yourself in the danger zone of self expression against norms.
This is not at all a call to not be “normal” or to follow the path you’ve always wanted to follow. It is only a call to be genuine. We are all beautiful snowflakes or something, right? So why do we all keep trying to look like a different snowflake? Be you, whether you are weird, funny, serious, driven, silly or any combination of things. Don’t let others tell you who to be and find people who match you.
Everyone is weird; find someone who matches your weird. If we are all so afraid of judgement, then seek out not only those who will not judge you, but play along. This is vitally important in relationships of all kinds, friendships and significant others especially, as those are the ones we choose and continue to choose to maintain.
It may look more attractive to try and fit a mold that you don’t fit, and it may be what you have been doing your whole life. Yet, to be able to stop now and follow your own direction means more freedom for more time. You can fake it for as long as you like, you can even fake it till you make it. Yet, if you are not true to yourself and your soul, in the end even if you make it, “it” will not be worth all the faking you did.
My whole point boils down to this: you cannot be anyone but who are and when you try too hard not to be, you’ll find yourself either failing, or in a situation where it isn’t worth it . So be genuine. Be yourself, and fill your life with things and people who support that.
(Don’t be yourself if you’re like a murderer or something though, obviously. Also, don’t be yourself if it means actively hurting others and yourself., That probably isn’t who you really are anyway, seek help.)