“Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken”. Oscar Wilde
In recent conversations, the theme “be you” came up several times. And when themes emerge, I always like to seek the lesson for myself and eventually share it with you. If you feel like sometimes you struggle with saying what you mean, doing what you love or relaxing around certain people, then this week’s topic is especially for you. Yet even if you are confident and sure that you are comfortable being “you,” there is often room to go a little deeper – an opportunity to uncover another layer of authenticity and free yourself to unapologetically be you.
Not being at ease with yourself just as you are is exhausting. You might not even realize the amount of energy is drained keeping up appearances, attempting to be perfect, pleasing other people and trying to make yourself fit in, in situations that simply are not you. The notion of “being yourself” can feel a little vague, so this week, I have five practical strategies that will help you be yourself and maximize your best you:
1. Say what you need to say.
Are you beating around the bush? Too afraid to speak up? Have you found yourself telling a “little lie” to avoid embarrassment or telling the truth? That’s a clear sign you are not being you. Identify at least one situation in which you have not said what you need to say. When you finish reading this, go to who you need to go to and just say it. If you can’t say it now, then mark your calendar for the day and time when you will. Authenticity means being forthright, so you don’t waste precious energy pretending all is well when it isn’t.
2. Wear what makes you feel your best.
It may seem superficial, but it’s not. Clothing is a language all its own. What does yours say about you? And is that message consistent with who you truly are. When I transitioned from running a public relations firm that focused on corporate clients, to my current work in personal and spiritual growth, I changed my daily wardrobe. Out with the suits (which I thought made me look more mature and credible since I was in my 20s then) and in with a more relaxed, fun look. But truth be told, I could have been more relaxed and fun, yet professional back then. Be creative to dress in a way that makes you feel good, even when your choices are restricted for professional reasons.
3. Do what you know is right.
There is nothing more authentic than living your values. When your actions don’t line up with your beliefs, inner turmoil is sure to follow. Do what’s right and you’ll have a sense of peace about your decisions and actions.
4. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.
Most of the time, when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, it is because we haven’t given ourselves permission to be human. In other words: permission to be imperfect. When you relax, you enjoy yourself more. When you value the journey as much, if not more, than the destination, you embrace the fact that there will be bumps along the road – but they don’t have to keep you from reaching your destination.
Anytime you feel yourself getting anxious, feeling tempted to step away from just being you, take a deep breath. Breathe and get centered again. It’s such a simple concept – just like being yourself.
My challenge to you this week:
When are you most likely to not be yourself? What are you afraid will happen if you are the real you? What do you do specifically that does not really represent who you really are? When will you stop doing that? Will you try today? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!