Just Be Yourself, Honey.
That line moved me to tears in the premiere screening of Love Punch, a British comedy with Emma Thompson at the Toronto Film Festival 2014. Just be yourself, Emma Thompson was telling her daughter as the ultimate parting advice before she drives off to college to start a new era of life.
Just Be Yourself. It sounds simple, sweet, grounding and reassuring. Right? But what does it mean to be yourself? How can you be anyone but yourself when you possess one mind, one body, and if you choose to believe (as I do), one unique beautiful soul?
Sure, you can be a lesser version of yourself or the absolute best version, and you can switch it up given different circumstances, but they are all variations of who you are and how you feel at the time.
There is no one way to be yourself. There are many ways. Your outward demeanor stems from your internal compass. So perhaps a better way to look at it is how to always be true to the best version of yourself.
Being true to (the best version of) yourself is not a one time event. It is a constant decision you make every day, or even every hour. Sometimes you make good decisions. Sometimes you learn. Sometimes you are true to yourself. Sometimes you betray your true self.
Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up, don’t berate yourself, and don’t forget that it takes courage to be true to who you are in a world that is in such a hurry to measure you up and judge you at every turn. But also know this: whoever you are, you have got that courage. You can agree or argue with me on that – that doesn’t change the fact that deep down, you can muster the courage to be your true self if you make up your mind to do so.
6 Examples of Not Being True to Who You Are
Let’s start by defining what it’s like not being true to yourself. If you can relate to these, then think about other similar behaviors you exhibit that are clear signs you are not being true to yourself.
1. Laughing at something that’s not funny just to be polite: We’ve all done it at least once, but the more you do it, the harder it becomes to be genuine, because you have to act along with all else that follows that fake laugh. There is a reason you don’t naturally find something amusing about someone and being insincere is not a pretty thing.
2. Complimenting someone when you don’t mean it: Don’t flaunt empty praise just to be liked. The hurt you inflict when the truth comes out is far worse than any good a fake compliment could bring about. Be silent instead and hold your compliments for what you find real praise-worthy. Be true to your likes and dislikes.
3. Lying about something just to please others: Why do this? Keep silent instead. Or disagree politely. Never lie. One lie leads to another and before you know it, you are in a web of lies, and can’t remember them all to keep everything straight.
4. Acting happy when you are miserable, or vice versa, among others: You are not that good an actor and sooner or later, you’ll get fed up and be your (angry frustrated) self! There is a better way. How about limiting people and activities that cause you misery and surrounding yourself with only the people who make you happy?
5. Hiding your true opinion for the sake of popularity: Fitting in – it’s the worse disease and it starts in high school and seems to never end. Let it go. Fit in yourself. Don’t fit into some box. If you think differently, then so be it. Sometimes your opinions are popular, sometimes they are radical, other times they are conservative. Forget what’s in vogue today. Be true to your own values.
6. Forcing yourself to do things you don’t like, saying things you don’t mean, and going places you don’t care to go, in a relationship: Enough said! If you are doing that in your relationship, then, well, stop. It’s time to move on. It really is that easy because staying guarantees your future misery.
Lying isn’t you. Pretending is not you either. Making up nonsense and hiding your true self, none of that is you. These is not stuff that make up your identity. Your true self is made up of beautiful qualities. You can choose to shine a light on them, or hide them, but you are made of good stuff regardless.
10 Signs that You ARE Being True to Yourself
1. You feel good. Simple and pure.
2. You feel comfortable in your own skin.
3. Your inner voice goes quiet and stops badgering you.
4. You manage situations easier – no need to keep track of lies and pretenses.
5. You don’t have to think hard to act a part. You innately know how to be yourself.
6. You are not trying to impress anyone.
7. You are not worried about being judged or singled out.
8. Your muscles relax, you breathe easy.
9. You concentrate better on the task at hand.
10. You make confident decisions without second guessing your every move.
May I point out the irony here?
Being true to yourself is what your heart and soul yearn for. Being true to yourself is the only way to achieve inner peace. Being true to yourself sets you free and floods you with joy and happiness.
If given the choice, you would not want to abandon your true self to be someone else – you would feel lost and confused being anyone else but yourself, no matter how wealthy, how “lucky” or how popular they may be. Of course there is no way to prove this, so would you want to bet your happiness on something you can never have? Would you want to give up your own well of joy and bliss by pining after an empty desire?
Confidence Paves the Path to Your True Self
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