– Involves Curiosity, Vulnerability and Letting Go
Being yourself is the answer not the problem. Trouble is, we seem to have so much time and energy invested in an old idea of ourselves we seem pretty much unable to let go, be vulnerable, and see who shows up next…
[Last updated: June, 2016 – post summary]
Being Yourself Introduction – It’s Not What You Think!
This happens to be both the world’s worst AND world’s best dating advice.
It’s what all the self-help books talk about, too, when you peel away the layers.
And as for books on spirituality – and getting past the ‘who is the self you’re trying to be’ bit – these books point to the power of being yourself too.
Great! Let’s crack on, then, and just be ourselves…
(Sound of tumbleweed blowing by, aka an ‘uncomfortable silence’.)
Hmm, apparently this ‘being yourself’ is a lot easier said than done.
Tell you what I’ll do, then, to help you with this! I’m going to summarise what I think being yourself actually means, and what it looks like, and then you’ll see why so few people actually do it.
(By the way, I’ve pretty much dedicated my life to fully understanding (and embodying) what it takes to ‘be yourself’. And as my understand deepens, so the words I use change. But, remember, it’s NEVER about the words, but what the words point to.)
How To Be Yourself – What I Think It Means
Basically, being yourself boils down to this (probably not exhaustive) list of challenges:
- (A) Think your own thoughtsQuestion things you don’t understand, and then make your own mind up (so never hide your ignorance, always be curious)
- (B) Feel ALL of your feelingsIf you feel happy, feel happy; if you feel sad, feel sad; if you feel ashamed, feel ashamed; if you feel angry, feel angry… Whatever you feel, feel it (never hide from your feelings, always be curious)
Which pretty much can be summed up by this challenge:
- DON’T pretend to be what you’re not (in the moment)!Never hide from who you are, and what you think in the moment (remain curious about yourself)
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Why Being Yourself Is Hard, Then!
Now in a world of people that ISN’T doing this, that’s full of people pretending and not feeling, it’s going to be hard for you to stand out.
(A) For as soon as you stand for something that others don’t (a consequence of having your own thoughts) then some will ridicule you, while others will champion you.
(Think of any great leader – Nelson Mandela,
Mother Teresa, Barack Obama, Margaret Thatcher,
Mahatma Gandhi… – and you’ll find many that love
and admire that leader, and others that equally hate
and despise them.)
So being yourself means not everyone’s going to like you!
Which is fine, because even when you pretend to be like everyone else, not everyone’s going to like you! (And you know that’s true, don’t you!)
(B) And as soon as you start to feel ALL of your feelings then you’re going to start to feel those painful feelings you’ve been avoiding so doggedly, too.
So being yourself means that YOU’RE not going to like you, sometimes – until you learn to forgive and accept your imperfections, that is; until you learn to be okay with ALL of who you are.
How To Be Yourself – What It Looks Like, Then!
So it follows, then, that when you are truly being yourself you are NOT living from fear:
- You do things because they feel good for you to do them (not so people will like you, not so you’ll be a success, not so you’ll become rich…)
- You are okay making mistakes, getting it wrong
- You are okay being wrong, looking foolish
- You know you are enough, in yourself, and so you enjoy the love and affection of others because it feels good, and NOT because you NEED the feeling…
(I could go on, I’m sure. These are just words, after all, and – importantly! – ‘being yourself’ comes from ‘letting go’ rather than from attaining…)
This being yourself is not as easy as it sounds. Clearly. Because if it was, why then we’d all be doing it.
BUT, I think it’s definitely a worthwhile pursuit, I really do, hence why I’m writing about it here. And also hence why I offer transformative coaching conversations about how you can get out of your way to allow your true self to shine through.