“Just be yourself”
We hear this golden advice over and over again. It’s the key to building healthy relationships, it’s the key to attracting the perfect job, it’s the key to our overall happiness.
But what does it really mean to “just be yourself?”
We’re in a world where everyone either tries hard to fit in, or goes out of their way to stand out. We spend so much time creating a persona of who we think we should be that we lose who we really are, or worse, we never discover our true self in the first place. We’re always told to be ourselves, but how do we know who we even are?
First, we need to let go of that image in our head of who we are trying to be. While it’s great to strive towards positive changes, such as being kinder, or more honest, we need to accept all of our qualities, good and bad. It’s possible to become a better person while still being true to your core.
One of the best ways to get in touch with our inner being is to journal. Take 10 minutes out of your day to sit with your thoughts. Think about what makes you happy. Think about what you’re doing that isn’t fulfilling. Write a list of all your burning aspirations and all of your wildest dreams. List all of your guilty pleasures and all of your deepest secrets. You might come to accept that yes, you love watching cartoons even if you should’ve outgrown them, and it turns out you hate going to parties even though you go every weekend. Readjust your schedule to do what you enjoy, not what you feel like you are supposed to enjoy to fit in.
Become aware of all of the things that give you pleasure- hobbies, music, fashion, whatever it may be. What’s holding you back from wearing what you want to wear? Is it the judgment of others? It’s normal to be insecure when you’re not following the norm; but you will never find happiness if you wear what you think you should be wearing and not what you want to be wearing. Listen to your heart and stop repressing what it is trying to tell you. Life is all the more worthwhile if you’re doing what you love. Live for yourself, not for others.
You might still be searching for who you truly are, and that’s okay too. You can begin the journey to find out just by being with your thoughts and trying new things. If there is something or someone that captures your interest, trust your gut. Engage in that activity and talk to new people. Find those who make you feel love. Go on adventures that leave you feeling inspired.
It’s easier said than done to not care what others think. Instead, what you should focus on is doing what makes you happy and what will help you reach your goals. You’ll find once you start doing what you love, you’ll become more optimistic and attract likeminded people into your life.