What does that even mean?

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The advice everyone keeps rambling.

A piece of advice offered in plenty as if it is your one-stop solution to the shitty life you or someone might be leading.

Be yourself, and everything will fall in place. Whatsoever, you might be.

I love the advice. It is reassuring, and confidence shot straight to your ego. The chest swells, and spring in your step now, you have the key to unlock potentially everything, cleaning the mess your life is.

The thing is, the only nemesis of our lives seems to be- not being good enough. For most average Joe’s like me, not being good enough is one aspect they would love to change. Find me, one person, not wishing to change anything about themselves. Frankly, everybody detests something or the other about themselves and are willing to change or tweak something all the time. And yet, society tells us through various ways and wisdom bytes, just “be yourself.” Which self, if I may ask?

What does it mean, and is it as easy as society makes of it?

Let’s see this.

“If you’re annoyed, be mad. If you’re angry, express it.” 

That’s being true to our moods and situations, but where do we draw the line and control it. 

Being yourself seems rational on the face of it, but when it comes to being true to our thoughts and desires, where do we put the tab? 

It’s like if you feel like killing someone, do you do it?

I have had this advice of being yourself on countless occasions in life- Parents, friends, and teachers alike. The thing is, do we know what being yourself is?

Armed with the belief of just being me, I have seldom found myself struggling with the idea. If only the idea of being myself has done me more damage than help.

The idea of self is skewed and confusing because what others want us to be is different from what we are. 

Before you decide to ‘be yourself.”

What “self” are we talking?

Do you know who you are? 

Is being yourself your excuse to be whatever you find comfortable?

For some, it may be an excuse to let it all flow as it is. It’s easier to hide behind the garb of self-image and let things pass or make excuses for your behaviors.

The critical part is- know thyself.

Your current self is a reflection of your past. It reflects the things that have made you into who you are. Identifying with the self is a critical aspect of creating any room for improvement and growth as an individual. While we may love our current self due to an inherent comfort, we should know ourselves to be the best version of what we can be. 

The guiding principles

What defines you? 

We are all living in a certain way, and some principles guide all of us. Frankly, there are a set of values each works upon. Knowing your values and then living a life based on them is something we should work upon. Let’s call it the philosophy of life one has. 

Recently I came across the book Emotional Agility by Dr. Susan David. It gives us an interesting perspective on values and how to identify them.  

Ask yourselves the following questions for your values, and how is it that you be your best self?

What matters to me?

What kind of relationships do I want to build?

How do I generally?

What would I do if my life is devoid of stress, and how would I live my life?

What defines my life?

The above questions can provide a philosophy and help you define your life. Once you answer these, you can gauge the values representing your life. It also gives you principles and a meaning that describes you as a person.

Once you understand what makes you and what you represent in life, you are being yourself without even knowing it.

The idea is to be your best self.

Thanks for reading.

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