“Just be yourself.” Have you heard that before?
It sounds so simple, yet it often seems unattainable. You'd love to just be yourself if you knew exactly who that is.
We get so caught up trying to be somebody else, somebody better, that we lose ourselves in the process. Or never find ourselves at all.
Sometimes, what we think is our real self is just a facade we use to show off to the world or to cover our flaws.
So, how do we become our true and authentic selves?
How do we regain our sense of being in a world so engrossed by false idols and insincere personalities?
Let's talk about simple yet effective things you can do to become yourself again.
What does it mean to be yourself?
This is an important question since we are constantly changing and growing. Is there just one true self that's steadfast throughout your life journey, or does your true self evolve over time?
Maybe there isn't a self at all but rather an image of the self we create with our personalities, lifestyle, behaviors, words, and decisions.
Perhaps it's something in between. Through the process of living life and self-discovery, we uncover what feels authentic and real to us. Our journey is a process of separating the inauthentic from the genuine to uncover our true selves.
Being yourself means . . .
- Knowing what you value and living in alignment with your values.
- Accepting and embracing your appearance, intelligence, personality, and talents.
- Knowing your likes and dislikes and establishing boundaries accordingly.
- Defining your own personal operating system and beliefs.
- Taking personal responsibility for your choices and actions.
- Defining what integrity means to you and living up to that.
- Having your own opinions regardless of what others think.
- Letting down any masks, walls, or self-judgment you may be hiding behind.
Becoming one with yourself takes time, a lot of curiosity, and the willingness to let go of things that mask who you are or hope to be.
How to Be Yourself: 11 Practical Steps
1. Disconnect from the digital world.
Nowadays, everybody is connected through social media. And while these apps and websites can be beneficial to us, they can also cause huge harm and prevent us from being who we are.
Not only do we waste enormous amounts of time browsing these apps, but we also become addicted to the often unrealistic content that is served.
Before you begin the journey of self-discovery, try to spend some time alone with yourself.
Disconnect from social media, stop looking at what other people are doing, and focus on yourself instead.
It will shift your perspective about all you are missing in the real world and allow you to finally see your true personality.
2. Embrace your virtues and flaws.
Every one of us is multifaceted, complicated, and imperfect. We try to do our best, but we are perfectly imperfect. As humans, it's our virtues and flaws that make us who we are and help us grow.
Your weaknesses and flaws don’t determine who you are as a person, but they are a vital part of your personality.
If you’re searching for ways to be yourself, start by embracing yourself in your entirety — flaws and all.
No person is perfect, and our imperfections bond us with the rest of humanity. So, don’t be afraid to show yourself (and others) your true self.
When you acknowledge your flaws, you give yourself room to grow and discover more about yourself.
Acceptance is the key to unlocking our true potential.
3. Don’t let the past define you.
A lot of us tend to cling to our past mistakes and choices, preventing us from becoming who we truly are and who we want to be.
Remember — you are NOT defined by your past actions or lapses in judgment. There is so much more to you.
Life is unpredictable and we all slip every now and then.
But the opportunity to learn how to be yourself rests in learning from those mistakes and making new, better decisions in the future.
If we obsess over our past selves, we'll never embrace who we are now and who we want to become.
4. Don’t compare yourself to other people.
Humans are social beings. We thrive in communities, whether large or small. We want to feel included and accepted.
But sometimes this desire to fit in can have unfortunate consequences related to our sense of worth.
Because we want to be liked and validated, we are constantly searching for acceptance from others. This often leads to hiding our true selves for fear we won't be accepted as we are.
This longing for acceptance can make us put on a mask to hide our true selves and never allow others to see us for who we really are.
Once you get rid of the mask and lose the need to impress and compare yourself to others, you’ll gain the strength to be yourself once and for all.
5. Do what makes YOU happy.
Do you consider yourself a people-pleaser?
Do you often find yourself doing things you don’t particularly enjoy because your friends and family expect it from you?
It’s a recurring problem with so many of us, mainly because we don’t want to disappoint others, especially our loved ones.
We fear that if we let them down, they will let us go.
But, if we’re constantly trying to please other people, we’ll never be free to please ourselves. If we continue prioritizing what makes others happy, we will never experience internal happiness.
Being yourself means embracing the things that make you fulfilled, regardless of how others perceive them.
It also means accepting that not everyone will like your choices, but the people who truly care about you will respect you for them.
6. Learn to express yourself.
Do you have a unique fashion style? Do you love wearing makeup? Or maybe you like to sing or dance?
Whatever you enjoy doing in your free time, allow yourself to become immersed in it.
You don’t have to be a fashion designer to create authentic outfits, just like you don’t need to be Picasso in order to make a beautiful painting.
Once you feel comfortable expressing yourself in ways that make you feel good, you’ll come closer to being yourself — whoever that is.
Expressing your individuality allows you to hone into your natural personality traits and show yourself and others who you were always meant to be rather than who you think you should be.
7. Choose your surroundings carefully.
To become yourself, you first need to let yourself grow.
Just like a flower thrives in sunlight and rain, people grow best when surrounded by people and things that empower them.
Choosing your environment carefully doesn’t just mean ditching the noise of the city and enjoying life in the great outdoors.
If you want to learn how to be yourself, surround yourself with other individuals who inspire and motivate you to be authentic and creative.
People who spend their lives in groups of disingenuous and toxic people, eventually become the same.
Choose your friends and associates carefully, keeping in mind you want to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and accept you for who you are.
8. Stand up for what you believe in.
We all have values that drive us. But what are values worth if we don’t actively represent them?
Standing up for what you believe and living in alignment with your values is crucial to being yourself.
This doesn’t necessarily mean gathering for protest rallies or calling someone out every time they have an opposing view from yours.
Nor does it mean you must try to get others to adopt your values and beliefs.
Your beliefs and values are YOUR guiding principles, so never sacrifice them in order to fit in the masses.
Or they allow others to cross their boundaries because they feel too uncomfortable speaking up.
Not only is this behavior unhealthy, but it can also be the very thing stopping you from becoming who you really are.
9. Get out of your comfort zone.
This is a tough one. We all live in a bubble of some kind. We are all used to certain comforts and routines that make life easier and hassle-free.
But if you want to know how to be yourself, you’ll need to break off these chains and shake up your life a bit.
Sometimes, getting out of your comfort zone means doing something as simple as changing your daily routine and taking the road less traveled.
However, more often than not, it means making some drastic changes in your life and pushing yourself in situations you’d normally avoid.
Not only can this help you gain more confidence, but also it can be a wonderful learning tool that allows you to discover a different side of yourself.
10. Utilize your skills.
Be honest, are you making the most of your skills? Are you employing them correctly?
This doesn't just mean trading your hard skills for profit. Are you utilizing all of your natural skills to your advantage in every area of your life?
People often make the mistake of thinking that skills are just abilities you gain or learn through a training course or in school.
Our skills include much more than that. We are all born with different natural skills, and to be ourselves, we need to take advantage of them.
Look inside you, what comes naturally to you?
- Are you a social butterfly?
- Are you persuasive?
- Do you have a knack for writing or maybe crafting?
- Are you a good decision-maker?
Once you learn what you’re good at, try to focus on it for a while to test the waters — and maybe to unlock your full potential.
It’s where the essence of your being lies.
11. Listen to your intuition.
Often your subconscious mind will give you clues when we are straying from being yourself.
Have you ever found yourself making a statement that you know doesn't reflect who you are?
Or maybe you've pretended to be the life of the party even though you're an introvert.
In situations like these, your intuition is often screaming at you that things are off, but you have to pay attention.
If you have a gut feeling about something that seems off, take a few minutes to check in with yourself. Ask yourself, “Will I be myself if I do this (or say this or act this way)?”
If your instinct says, “No,” then back off.
Becoming Yourself Is a Work in Progress
It is not easy nor straightforward.
It’s a journey of self-discovery that requires time, patience and most importantly effort.
If you want to know how to really be yourself or be the best possible version of yourself, start implementing these little steps in your life.
This is a rewarding process in which you’ll discover new opportunities, potential, and greatness you never knew you possessed.
Move forward with confidence and look forward to each new possibility.