“Being yourself” is a message that has been around for a long time. We see it in books, films, the media, and across other facets of pop culture.
Many welcome the idea of being one’s self because it indicates freedom, self-worth, and confidence. Someone who has experienced true self-acceptance has a high sense of self-awareness, does not seek approval from others, and is optimistic about life.
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A Common Misconception about Being Yourself
While self-acceptance is a great quality to have, a lot of wrong messages about it abound in society.
The problem lies in the fact that many take the phrase “be yourself” too literally. Across society, it is easy to come across several redundant versions of the phrase, “be yourself”, such as “you’re perfect just the way you are”, “you don’t need to change for anyone”, “you don’t have to change a thing about yourself”, and more. However, these versions detract from the true message of self-acceptance which is to be your BEST self.
For instance, let’s say you had a friend who was finding it difficult to land a job due to certain character flaws. Would you tell them “you’re perfect the way you are; you don’t need to change for anyone?” Apparently not. Instead, you would give them practical advice to work on these flaws so that they can create a good impression on recruiters and increase their chances of getting a job.
Unfortunately, a lot of people take the wrong approach to self-acceptance. They stay within the confines of their comfort zone, evade challenges, and keep on believing that as long as they accept themselves, life will turn out just fine. However, this mindset only serves to stunt growth and leads to a life of setbacks and disappointments.
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Now that we’ve thrown light on this misconception, let us look at what it really means to be one’s self.
What does it Mean to Be Yourself?
True self-acceptance comes from the knowledge that you’re a flawed human like everyone else but you’re also a work in progress. You accept yourself as a versatile being who can always improve in any area of your life. You’re not hard on yourself and you don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards. Instead, you’re self-aware, understand that imperfections are a part of life, and are willing to mould yourself into the best version of yourself.
This is the mindset that has driven many successful people over the years from Aliko Dangote to Oprah and Bill Gates. They grasped this concept early on and this is why they worked so hard to become the best in their fields. To get the most out of life, you must start working to be your best self.
How to be yourself?
- Pay Attention to Your Internal Dialogue
First things first. You have to gain confidence in the present “you” before you can succeed in crafting the best version of yourself. One great inhibitor of self-confidence is negative thoughts. Start being vigilant of the things you tell yourself. Are they rational? Uplifting? Positive? When you take care of your internal dialogue, you can start working towards a better you.
- Face Your Fears
Are your fears stopping you from doing the things that will make you a better “you”? Start tackling these fears today. Decide to face something that scares you every day. Start small until you’re able to tackle the things that scare you the most. Although you might be intimidated by the idea of facing your fears, you can motivate yourself by realising the rewards of doing so – a bolder you leads to a better you.
- Seek Out Mentors
As humans, we tend to lose ourselves – our values, self-worth, and even goals. This calls for the need for someone who can keep us accountable and help us get back on track when we fall.
A good mentor should be knowledgeable, nonjudgmental, value diversity of perspectives, a good listener, and honest. In the absence of a mentor, read books, follow social media pages, and online platforms of great minds and people you admire.
- Surround Yourself with Positive People
No matter who you are, you would always thrive when you’re surrounded by the right people. Build a supportive network of people who inspire you to be better, put yourself out there, and are non-judgmental.
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