Most of us have been told our entire lives to “Be yourself!”. Those words were plastered on our kindergarten classroom walls and whispered to us by loving parents as they sent us off to middle school. Those that are older and wiser often speak of reaching an age where they finally embraced their true self, and how much earlier they wish they had. Even so, we might still question: is being myself REALLY the answer?
Let me solve that mystery for you right now–yes. Yes it is.
Well, depending on the question you’re asking. If your question is, “How can I guarantee that everyone will like me and offer me unconditional approval?”, then being yourself absolutely isn’t the answer. Try again. And this time ask a better question.
If your question is, “How can I form real relationships, build confidence, and obtain respect from myself and others?”, NOW you’ve got my attention.
Think back to those you’ve encountered who live life boldly in their own way, whatever that meant to them. Now narrow that down to someone who you honestly…didn’t…LIKE that much. Not because they were a horrible person or did anything wrong per-say, you just didn’t mesh well.
How did you feel when you saw them doing their thing? Cracking jokes in class without shame, unapologetically talking way too loud, or wearing an outfit nobody else liked with the utmost confidence. Do you recall being a little bit in awe of them because they were outlandishly themselves? Maybe you even unconsciously respected them. Perhaps, though you didn’t care for this person, you secretly envied them for their ability to show up as themselves each day, no matter what others would think. Even if their WHOLE persona wasn’t your cup of tea, the sentiment behind it was captivating. The very thing that might have caused you to “not like” them was also the thing that drew your attention to them: authenticity.
People cannot help but be drawn to someone who is truly being authentic to themselves. It’s magnetic. It’s attractive. Now, this doesn’t guarantee the attention is always positive. But our goal in life is not to be liked by everyone, but rather to BE.
Your greatest asset is not something external you have yet to acquire. It’s already inside of you. It just might need a little nudge to emerge.