Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid to Be Yourself

Written by Demetra Szatkowski

Be yourself. How many times have you heard that phrase? It sounds so simple, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you haven't actually realized it's not. The problem with cliches is that they're so overused, they begin to lose their meaning. Until you examine yourself, it's easy to hear "be yourself" and shrug it off, thinking that you are yourself, because really, who else would you be? It's easy to picture a girl on a typical reality show and think that advice is meant for her instead. Because you're pretty mindful, you eat healthily, maybe you practice yoga…you aren't "fake." But guess what? You aren't above that advice. It is a very rare person who acts exactly the way they want to, all the time, without exception. I want you to consider what it means to be yourself, and to think about the things you do in your life that don't agree with that.

A friend's recent Facebook status was so refreshingly honest, I couldn't help but laugh. It read: "I have finally accepted that I'm not a party girl. I like going to bed early and I don't have fun with strangers. Sleeping is my priority."

I laughed, but that really resonated with me. It's not that I fully agree with it, but it made me realize it's okay to think that way. It's like in yoga class, when you're too wrapped up in your own ego, and then the person next to you takes a modification during a tough sequence and that somehow makes it okay for you to too. After years of getting drunk and going to clubs with rap music and black lights, acting like it was fun because everyone else thought it was, I too have realized I'm not a "party girl." And it was hard for me to just type that sentence! In a culture where the party girl is glorified, society makes you want to conform to that image. If you don't, you aren't fun. But I am willing to bet that there are many others like me out there, and I want you to admit to it! Don't be afraid of who you are. I love going out and meeting new people, but sometimes I would rather stay in, drink tea, and read. Does that make me any less "cool?" In the eyes of some people, it might. But why would I want to be friends with those people anyway?

That's just one example. This lesson applies to any and every area of your life, and I urge you to examine them. Are you staying with your boring job just because it makes a lot of money? Do you dress up when you go out in public for other people, or do you do it for yourself? Do you read every political article because you actually care, or do you feel like you need to sound informed? Do you like hot yoga? Why are you on that diet?

If there is anything in your life that is not truly benefitting you, I want you to cut it out. There are too many wonderful things in this world that you could be doing instead- things that make you happy, things that make you come alive. Question what you do, and why you do it. Whenever you're tired or annoyed, figure out what's making you feel that way, and change it. It's never because of other people, or situations- it's your reaction to them. Do what you want to do. You're amazing just the way you are. And you know what the best thing is? When you're fully yourself, you naturally encourage others to be too.

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