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There is a lot of talk these days on being yourself – everyone says it is their top advice – “Just be you and you will nail it!” But what does that mean and how do I do it?
I was wondering why this is so hard for us to understand how to do in practice. I think its because when we are being ourselves there is no reference point – we haven’t seen anyone else do it, we don’t know if it will be acceptable to the outside world – we don’t know what other people’s reactions will be and perhaps most of all – we don’t know if we are right!
When we are being fully ourselves we are by default not being like anyone else and so we are in unchartered territory – we are called to be vulnerable and it feels scary .
1. Try staying with the uncomfortable feeling a bit longer. Be aware that you will feel uncertain so try to avoid the pull to run away from this feeling into safer territory where you are more certain and can use others as a reference point. The more we learn to accept the uncomfortable, the more we are able to be ourselves.
2. Keep gathering data on your individuality. Learn as much as you can about yourself – your nuances, the qualities that you value and the qualities you don’t, your natural abilities and your preferred ways of doing things, ask other people for feedback on what they value you for most. The more you know yourself, the easier it is to be yourself.
3. Practice sharing your voice – perhaps in a journal for yourself to begin with, then with friends or family – share what you think even though it is different to others – start small and keep practicing and growing your confidence in your own thinking. We don’t become ourselves overnight, it takes small steps and practice.
4. Educate others in how to help you to be yourself – Share with the people you care about what you need most from them. I need people to believe in me as a person even when I say and do the wrong things at times. I also want people to challenge me to do things I don’t know if I am capable of by setting the challenge they are showing they believe I can. The more we tell others what we need, the more we give ourselves permission.
5. Start to figure out your unique contribution – what can you contribute in your work, your school, your friendship group, your family etc Often contribution is about How you are with other people and How you go about your work and life. If you have this as an inquiry you will start to notice what is important to you and what makes you unique.
6. Create environments for yourself that honour your individuality eg people that believe in you, places that make you feel you matter and inspire you, activities that feed your passions in life. The more you spend time being you the easier it gets to Be Yourself.
What else have you tried that has helped you to be yourself?