“Be yourself, everyone else is taken”
Do you spend lots of time analyzing what others think of you and comparing yourself to those around you? Do you have self doubt and anxieties? In the past I have thought a lot about how I think I ‘should’ be. Am I the sort of person who likes wild parties or early nights, being with a crowd of people or being on my own, adventure holidays or relaxing in the sun? Sometimes it can be quite difficult to know who the real you is, as it is easy to be influenced by those around you, or the circumstances you are in, to the point where you lose track of what is core to you. Depending on who you are with, you may want them to see you in a certain way and change your behavior based on how you want to be perceived or to fit into your current situation.
A good example of this is that I know that I prefer going for a nice dinner and a few drinks and home for midnight to get a good nights sleep, than I do a wild night of partying, but due to my current circumstances seem to have found myself doing the latter more and more. It’s much more circumstantial than a true preference.
Being comfortable being Mel, is what I am looking to achieve. Knowing what I like, what I don’t like and how I want to behave and spend my time and being content with those choices. I spend a lot of time analyzing other people and my relationship with others and I definitely care a lot about other people’s perceptions of me, so sometimes I am aware that I change my behavior based on how I want other people to view me. There are benefits to being flexible and fitting in to different situations, but not to the extent that you forget who the real you is.
The difference between your true self and the best version of yourself
I’ve spent much time considering what ‘being yourself’ means. People have said to me if I want to be happy ‘being Mel’, then why am I constantly embarking on all these self development ideas to improve myself. I think the point of being yourself is that you are not impacted by what other people think. It’s the real you beyond all of those conditioned beliefs and ways of thinking accumulated throughout your life. You can still strive to develop yourself and be the best you can be, but based on who you are, not on what you think other people would like to see. This doesn’t include changing major things about yourself. I’ll give you an example. I don’t like art galleries but I think I should. I think its the sort of thing I think I should enjoy, I’m not sure why, I just do. I also don’t like watching sport on TV (except for Wimbledon – I love Wimbledon!) So I have learnt to be happy with these things. I don’t go to art galleries as I know I will not enjoy it and I don’t watch sport on TV. Lots of my friends love watching sport, it’s just not for me. I don’t need to try and like it just because my friends do.
I do like exercising though, it makes me feel good, but sometimes I don’t exercise. Being the best version of myself is forming the habit to regularly exercise, being myself is not going to art galleries as I don’t enjoy it.
I want to be content being Mel, but I also want to be the best version of Mel.
“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.”
How to be your true self
It can be tricky to know which parts of you are core to you, and which parts are who you think you should be. If you want to be the real you try the following hints and tips:
1. Act like you were when you were a child
Children care very little what other people think of them, they are free and happy in the moment. They haven’t been socialized to fit in yet, so they don’t analyse how others perceive them. If you want to be yourself, free from the judgment of others, get in touch with your inner child. Play, have fun, enjoy the moment, don’t worry what others think of you. If you find yourself worrying about being judged, think back to how children act and learn from this free thinking behavior.
2. Be mindful of your thoughts
If you stop to analyse it you may be shocked by the number of thoughts that run through your mind each day about how you should act. After a while your reality can become shaped by your thoughts and if these are based on beliefs you have collected over time, based on others influence, it may impact your behaviour. You can learn to become more aware of your thinking by practicing mindfulness meditation. This can then be extended into your everyday life, by becoming mindful of the thoughts you have and allowing them to come and go without getting attached to them. This way you can be less impacted by your thoughts and be more present.
3. Follow your intuition.
Rather than considering what you should do, follow your gut. It can sometimes be very easy to ignore your feelings in favour of what you can perceive to be the easier option. If you have a good feeling about something, it’s probably right. If you have a bad feeling about something you should avoid it. If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s probably not.
If you get into the habit of listening to your intuition with small things, it will make it easier to follow it for the big things.
4. Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Identifying what you’re good at, is a good first step at figuring out what you like spending your time doing. You can then compare your strengths and weaknesses against what you enjoy. This step is really important, as it does not always go hand in hand that you enjoy what you are good at and some people fall into this trap. You might be great at running long distance, but if you hate every moment of it, you probably don’t want to be spending your time doing it.
5. Be in charge of your own life
You are the boss of your own life. You are in charge of your decisions and how you spend your time. You are responsible for your reactions to every situation. If you accept you are in charge of your life, you can make decisions based on what you think, rather than worrying what other people think.
6. Self confidence
Self confidence is defined as ‘a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment’. This means knowing your true self and true desires and having the courage to be yourself. It’s stopping any pretense of who you think you should be, knowing what you want from life and how you should act and being confident to be the real you.
7. Act as if no one is watching
Try to imagine what you would do and how you would behave if no one was watching. Rather than modifying your behaviour in order to be accepted by others, behave as you would if no one was there.
8. Treasure your mind, body and spirit
Looking after your mind, body and spirit are all equally important. If you exercise, eat healthily, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and take care of yourself, you will feel healthy and you are taking care of your body. If you spend time on things that you feel passionate about and make you feel positive about the way you’re living your life you’re looking after your mind. Yoga, meditation, walking in the fresh air and good old laughter can help create a positive spirit.
Treasuring your mind, body and spirit can help you to become more comfortable being yourself.
You are 100% responsible for all outcomes involving your decisions. If life does not work, then you are not making it work for you, there’s no one else to blame. All previous outcomes were the result of your own choices. Taking responsibility means you are making careful choices and will stand behind them. If you accept that you are responsible for yourself, your choices and how your life is playing out, you can make decisions you want to make for your life to be as you want it to be.
So, only when you get to the bottom of who the real you is, can you become confident in being your true self. I’d love to hear in the comments below whether you are comfortable being yourself and any advice you have on how to achieve this.