‘Be true to who you are.’, ‘Just be yourself.’, ‘You do you!’
We have all been given this advice, or something similar to it, at one point or another in our lives. This concept of being your true self seems to come up in situations where we lack confidence. It could be the nerves of a first date, the apprehension about tackling a challenging task at work, or the anxiety over making important life decisions. Self doubt is something we are all forced to deal with at some point in our lives – for most of us, our teenage years are especially poignant in this respect. I know I was awkward in my teens and had no idea what ‘be yourself’ was supposed to entail.
As a teenager, the ‘be yourself’ advice seemed so cliché. As an adult, while the phrasing can still seem cliché at times, I can recognize the power and significance in the message. Living life in a way that feels at discord with what you know in your heart is true to you as an individual can be demoralizing and draining. I recently caught up with a friend and she told me about a situation which perfectly illustrates this.
About 6 months ago, my friend had broken up with her partner of nearly 10 years. Now, with a few months hindsight, she had a clearer view of the situation. She had absolutely nothing negative to say about her ex-partner. She didn’t resent him in any way and told me that there was nothing he said or did that caused the breakup. In fact, there was nothing that he could have said or done to prevent it either. The reason she had to end it, she said, was that she slowly came to realize that she wasn’t able to be her true self in the relationship. In her words: “I knew that if I married him, and had kids with him, I would end up deeply unhappy because I knew in my heart and my gut that this wasn’t who I am meant to be.” She said that she has no regrets and feels like a lighter, happier person now that she is being true to who she is.
Such huge and life changing decisions are never easy to make. But when we do make them, we can often look back after some time has passed and recognize that some aspect of our true self was being pushed down. Every facet of our lives is a part of who we are and is an avenue for expressing our identity. Whether it is our relationships, our work, our environment, or any other part of our lives. My friend’s story is an example of a very big change and a very big decision, but smaller examples from every aspect of our lives can have a huge effect on us, mind, body and soul. So when we feel that there is something in our lives that prevents us from being our true selve, it might just be worth changing it.
It doesn’t have to be a major life change. If a project at work is making you feel like ‘this isn’t right for me’ ask to be reassigned to something else. If you’re not satisfied with what you’re spending your free time on, consider your interests and seek them out. Look at your ph360 advice on ‘Place’ and spend more time in environments right for you. Look at the ‘Talents’ section and try your hand at something you may naturally be good at. Use your ph360 to help you be your true self. Don’t be afraid to make a change. If something isn’t working for you, try making some little changes so you can live your life how it’s meant to be lived. Listen to your heart and your gut. Listen to that cliché advice from your teens – be yourself. But don’t just be yourself. Embrace yourself!
Have you ever felt like a part of your life was stifling you? Have you ever made a change that just felt ‘right’ for you? What do you do in your day-to-day life to embrace yourself? Let us know in the comments.