‘Be yourself’ has got to be one of the most popular and attractive pieces of advice but what does it mean? And why is it that being ourselves seems so complex that someone else needs to remind us to be ourselves?
In the quest to find an answer to the question “Just who is this self?”, we need to start by throwing away all ideas of who and what we think we should be.
Makeup or no makeup, expensive clothes or not, in a relationship or single, in a crowd or alone, who are you really? Not who you wish you were or who you wish others believed you were- who are you genuinely?
Sadly, being genuine is not regarded by our society as having the same importance as being right, popular or cool. In recent years, being genuine has become old fashioned and weird. We deny ourselves the right to be “real” because we worry about what others will think, we worry about fitting in and losing the “cool” status. But here’s the thing we often don’t consider; people can’t be truly fulfilled without honoring their own being. Money will never be enough, fame will never satisfy, power will never fulfill us as long as we need others to approve of us or accept us. This is why the greatest success in life starts with self; knowing, accepting and loving who we are. But this wisdom requires that we know who we really are, and what we really want. And knowing who we are is not something someone else can do for us, it is a journey we must go on alone.
To some extent, what keeps us from being ourselves is our conditioning, or the pretenses we have adopted. We need to rise above all the things we think we should be. We say to ourselves, I should be taller, I’ll be more attractive if I change who I am, who I am is not enough, I’ll be happier when I marry someone or have more money. In doing so, we lose our authenticity (coincidentally we lose our joy). One can’t be oneself totally, as long as that person is a slave to their conditioning.
Our true self is who we are without effort. It is the realization that we don’t have to tick certain boxes or meet certain standards to be accepted or loved. It is coming to the truth that who I am, though not perfect, is enough. It is freedom. To acquire this freedom, we need to unlearn some of the habitual responses we’ve come to identify with. The problem is that somewhere along the way we lost track of just how many times the boundary between “me” and “not-me” had been crossed, who we were being “real” for, and which “me” is the “real” one anyway?
What’s required is actually fairly simple, in fact, it’s simplicity itself. Being yourself doesn’t need to be a chore.
Drop the act. Who we really are is far more magnificent than any role we may be playing!
Here lies great wisdom: When we learn to set our masks aside and be true to who we really are, when we reveal who we really are, when we look like ourselves (not like someone else), when being ourselves is genuinely what we desire to be, we create opportunities for personal growth, and find authentic relationships that will not change just because we changed our hair color. When we stop pretending, when we take off the masks, only then do we find true joy and fulfillment. Therein lies the magic power of being yourself.