“Just be yourself.” Sounds like great advice, right? We are offered this nugget of wisdom when we go for a job interview, or to meet a date for the first time. The problem with these three little words is that most of us have no idea who “we” are. How can we be authentic if we don’t know ourselves?
Think of how much time and energy we spend on managing our image. We get up in the morning and do our hair, choose a certain style of clothing for whatever we are doing that day, put on one face for our kids and another for our boss. It’s exhausting, when you think about it.
Most people don’t intentionally try to be inauthentic. We don’t even know we are doing it sometimes. In our desire to be liked, accepted, and successful, we conform to societal norms.
How many times have you put on a suit or heels, when you really just wanted to wear your softest T-shirt and jeans? Or said one thing, when you wanted to say something else, but you didn’t because you didn’t think it would go over well. We’ve all done it.
When was the last time you judged someone for speaking their mind, or wearing whatever the hell they wanted? We’ve all done that, too.
Every day that we choose fitting in over being authentic, we are denying ourselves an opportunity to become a little more self-aware. We also suppress our creativity and our right to express ourselves in a way that is in alignment with our best and highest good.
We rob ourselves of happiness.
I’m not suggesting that you completely remove all verbal filters and say everything that you are thinking, or walk around naked in public because you are more comfortable that way. When we live in a community, we do need to conform and compromise at least a little.
What I am suggesting, is to spend some time every day just being “you.” Wear the clothes you like, say what you feel, and give yourself opportunities to get to know yourself outside of the personas that you’ve created to fit in.
You might find that you like this more honest version of “you,” and it that it doesn’t matter as much what other people think of it. You might also find that you inspire other people to do the same.
We all do “human” in our own unique and beautiful way.
Barbara Buck is a Foundational Reconnective Healing Practitioner, writer, and teacher. For more information about her, please visit her website at www.theomancollective.com. Check her out on the Happy Empaths Twitter feed @the_empath.