Just Be Yourself.
Behind the cheesy ‘inspirational’ images and self congratulatory satisfaction of those who dole out it out as advice, lies a simple truth…. and that truth is that…. as far as advice goes, it’s pretty shit.
It’s a lazy, patronising platitude that offers no real help and raises more questions than it answers. But despite that, it presents a truth… honesty and authenticity are in fact appealing, however that is just scratching the surface. To get any real value from this, we need to dig a little deeper.
As far as I see it, there are three key aspects to being yourself:
1) A clear awareness, definition and understanding of yourself
2) The objective quality of that ‘self’
3) The confident and unapologetic expression of that ‘self’
Each of those deserve a post of their own, which they will get, but for now let’s explore why being yourself is so appealing.
The truth is that, in a world of false appearances and illusions, we are drawn to honesty and authenticity like moths to a flame, despite the fact that truth can often be confronting, hurtful and brutal.
So what is so appealing about it?
Part of the reason is that many of us aren’t freely expressing our true identities. We lie to ourselves and express those delusions outwardly. We let social pressures, expectations and our own anxieties get the better of us and end up as the embodiment of compromise. We often suppress our true desires & passions in order to ‘fit in’. In doing so we let our identities be shaped by the dominant social narratives and norms.
Evolutionarily speaking, this desire makes sense. In the days of tribes, being cast out from the social group was more or less a death sentence. Our pressure to fit in is then in some ways genetically linked to our survival, which explains the degree of power it has over us.
But with such a strong need for social acceptance, we often find ourselves dissolving into the vast middle ground of mediocrity, suppressing who we really are in favour of what is acceptable and ‘normal’. We construct a tapestry of half truths and placations to shield our real selves from society. We wear our social masks for so long that we lose touch with what lies beneath it.
The majority live in this realm of compromise and self delusion, but on the fringes we find the polarising figures, the ones who express their true selves confidently and courageously. In their characters, we see our own unexpressed desires, expressed freely without reservation and as such are drawn towards them, as if some of it will rub off on us.
We are drawn to authenticity we wish were our own.
And it can be your own, Just Be Yourself….
Which we could expand on as… Know Yourself, Accept Yourself and Express Yourself – confidently, courageously and unapologetically
Behind the vague platitudes of those three words we find something more practical and meaningful. Something that requires real effort, contemplation and action.
I’m curious to know your thoughts… Do you feel you really know yourself? Have you accepted that self? Do you feel you express yourself confidently, courageously and unapologetically?
Share your thoughts in the comments.