Just be yourself Thibaut!
How often have you been told these 3 words? They are unhelpful at best and piss you off at worst.
Being authentic is a key part of experiencing more joy, better relationships, and an increase in overall success in your life. Due to social pressure and conditioning, however, being your true self is far from easy! “Just be yourself”? Forget it. It sounds great, but it’s too simplistic.
In this article I’m going to share what I feel are crucial parts of genuinely being yourself.
1. Expressing your thoughts and emotions unapologetically
If you want to be yourself, you have to be able to say what you think and feel without apologizing for yourself.
This is difficult for most of us. We’re often too busy trying to please others, fearing rejection, or worrying about hurting people’s feelings that we hide what we feel inside.
Mr. Nice Guy is a typical example of someone who isn’t being himself. When he’s interested in someone, he’s so focused on making her like him that he doesn’t show her who he really is. Instead, he pretends to like what she likes and agree with the things she says, even if it conflicts with his true likes, dislikes, and opinions. In many cases, a conversation with a friend would reveal that he hates most of the things he wants her to think he loves. Authenticity is definitely not his strong suit, and people tend to be turned-off by those they consider fake or dishonest in some way. That’s one of the reasons women will often go for an asshole who’s honest about who he is, what he wants, and how he feels than a so-called nice guy who isn’t genuine.
You don’t need to apologize for not liking a certain food or movie, and you definitely don’t need to apologize for feeling the way you feel. People can argue with you about what you think, but they can’t really argue about the way you feel.
What about you? How often do you express your true thoughts, feelings, and emotions in your day-to-day conversations?
2. Becoming Comfortable with Vulnerability
Being yourself means being willing to show your vulnerable side to others. It’s easier to be stoic and pretend that everything is fine than it is to share weaknesses and problems with your family or friends. Pretending to be strong doesn’t take much courage, but opening up requires a tremendous amount.
I’ve noticed that those who are willing to be authentic and share more of themselves tend to create deeper and more satisfying relationships with people around them. Their willingness to be vulnerable gives the people in their lives permission to be themselves as well. Naturally, this encourages stronger bonds and more meaningful connections.
Why not open up a little and work on creating more meaningful relationships with people around you?
3. Embracing your masculine or feminine side
Many people try to conform to the gender stereotypes of their society. They tailor themselves to what they think a man or woman is supposed to be, even if it’s not in line with their personality and preferences. For instance, men may think that being a “real” man means having big muscles, dominating those around them, and hiding their emotions. Women, on the other hand, might feel that they’re obligated to marry, have children, and be nice and sweet no matter how they’re being treated.
While some of these things aren’t inherently bad (there’s nothing wrong with wanting a family or becoming a fitness buff), none of them are good if they are out of line with who you really are. Regardless of your gender, I think that the root of being yourself comes down to the following: Doing what you truly want to do no matter what other people think of you.
If you are a man who feels like taking Pilates classes and wearing pink clothes, do it. I’m actually a pretty big fan of the color pink. As for Pilates classes, why not? If you feel like crying, then do that, too. If you’re a woman who wants a high-powered career, you aren’t ready to settle down, and you have no desire to have children, then go with that. There’s no activity that is strictly for men or women. So if you get the urge to do something, do it. As long as you aren’t hurting yourself or anyone else, there’s nothing to feel bad about.
Men who pretend to be strong but can’t express their emotions, wear what they want, or do what they truly want for fear of what others may think are not “alphas” or “real men”. The guy who takes Pilates classes and wears pink without feeling like less of a man, on the other hand, now that’s a “real” man. And no, I’m not talking about myself here :-p.
4. Thinking less and being more
Most of us spend too much time in our heads and not enough time listening to our intuition. Thinking will not help you become more authentic. You don’t need to think to be yourself. Remember, we’re talking about being yourself, not thinking about yourself. In that context, the phrase “Just be yourself” makes a lot more sense.
To truly be yourself, however, you must eliminate most of what you’ve learned regarding who you should be, what you should think, or how you should behave. In fact, you’ll need to eliminate a whole host of “shoulds” from your life.
Fortunately, listening to your intuition, devoting some time to meditation, and learning to stay present makes it much easier to do these things.
Knowing yourself is probably one of life’s most difficult tasks, so think twice before telling someone to just be themselves. Chances are, they’re still trying to figure out who they are.
- 10 Tips to Know Yourself Better and Get What You Want From Life
- What is the Ego?
- Be Yourself – Not Who You Think You Should Be
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Glad you enjoyed the article 😉
Very good exploration of a complex subject Meurisse! And it does make you think twice before saying that simplistic statement.
Thanks a lot for your comment. It comes from my personal experience 🙂 Who hasn’t been told “just be yourself” after all?
This article blew my socks off! I have been on the Authenticity journey for the last year or so and everything you stated rang true to what I myself have discovered along the way. My tool of choice to help me along the way is Mindful Meditation. Keep inspiring the world Thibaut!
Thanks for the comment Leittia. Great to hear that you also are on your journey to discover your true self 😉 Mindfulness is great indeed! Sure, I’ll keep writing.