Who should you be? Probably, you know the answer, immediately! Who should you be? The only person who isn’t taken. YOU! :-)
On the surface, this sounds obvious, but many of us are often not trying to be the “only person who isn’t taken.“ The people who are trying to not be themselves are fighting against themselves. They are literally living a lie. This is a lie that can only be corrected when they are true to themselves.
Ok, so let’s assume you agree that you should be yourself. How do you do it? How many times in the past have you had the opportunity to be yourself and instead, chose to be something different? For example, perhaps you wanted to impress someone by pretending you had a lot of experience that you didn’t really have. Maybe you purposefully implied that you knew something that you didn’t know in order to make a favorable impression. In order to be yourself, you will have to “unlearn” all of these parts of you that have been misrepresented.
Is it risky to be yourself? As you unlearn the parts of you that aren’t the real you, you will have to take risks. Most likely, the main reason you were not yourself in the past is due to not wanting to risk your self-esteem. Yes, being yourself involves risk. But, not being yourself often results in living a lie. And, living a lie is often risky because you have to be concerned/worried about others discovering the truth. In other words, there is risk involved no matter which route you take – trying to be yourself or someone else. So, why not be your true self?
So, again, how do you do it? What are some techniques that you can use - other than unlearning the parts that aren’t really you? One technique is to try being yourself for just one day. For one day, do only what your inner-self “tells” you to do. Forget or unlearn what isn’t the real you and do what you think reflects what your inner-self thinks you should do.
Another important consideration when trying to be yourself is the need to express yourself – to show the world who you really are. This need is demonstrated in many ways. Some examples of this need expressed, at different age levels, are: an infant’s cry, a teenager’s stylish expression and an adult’s need to display maturity. It’s natural to want to express yourself and it’s important to make sure the “person you are expressing” is YOU!
We all have a deep psychological drive to be “present in the present.” In other words, we all have needs that can only be satisfied in the present. The greatest of these needs is to make clear to the world that “I am!” This is closely related to the identity statement of, “I am me” or “I am who I am.” The point is that you are who you are and not someone else. It is natural/normal for you to want your presence recognized and valued by others. It is much more difficult for that to happen when you are trying to not be yourself.
In summary: trying to be yourself, doing what your inner-self tells you to do and satisfying the need to express yourself, leaves you with only one true path to follow in life – your path. Perhaps, Shakespeare said it best in his play, Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.“