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‘Be yourself everyone else is already taken’ Oscar Wilde
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what it means to be yourself. I often comment that I am not feeling myself today, but what do I mean when I say that?
I think sometimes we have this idea that there are people who don’t care what people think of them, experience complete freedom in thought, word and deed, never experience anxiety or worry. This idea that there are people who can go through life, day by day, unaffected by the comments of others or their own analysis of situations.
I think this is a myth.
Deep down, we do care about others opinions of us, despite our protestations to the contrary. We are relational beings, as much as we may strive for independence and to do it all alone. We can’t.
We need other people, each other, relationship.
The thing is, because of this need for relationship we often spend our time trying to craft ourselves into the person we think others want us to be. We have a created ideal.
I need to appear strong, not too needy. I shouldn’t talk about myself too much and make sure I listen. I mustn’t appear too grumpy or angry, but on the overhand, I need to ensure I am not overly emotional. Being classified as emotional is close to be written off in our strange, created ideal.
Where do these ideals come from and why do we insist on maintaining them? Why do we have a natural bent towards criticism rather than encouragement? Judgement rather than grace? Fault finding rather than recognition of strength?
We need to start with ourselves, accepting who we are, what being ourselves means for us.
So I am going to tell you who I am, what being myself is for me.
I am emotional. I have highs and lows. In the highs, I experience euphoria and am able to take on most things that are thrown on me, I can give and give and give and feel no effect. In the lows, I feel lethargic, begin to second guess everything and everyone. I misread situations and withdraw.
I experience stress, anger and frustration. I can be very vocal about how I am feeling and my default expression of emotion is tears. When I am happy, sad, angry, frustrated, tired, I cry.
I love to spend time with people, but I can be affected by the moods and attitudes of others. I worry about what people think, my appearance, finances, health and the future.
I expect the best of myself all of the time and will often beat myself up about the slightest of errors. If I speak out of turn, I replay the moment continuously and cringe at my behaviour.
I giggle a lot, sing at every opportunity and find any opportunity I can to smile.
The authentic me is the person I have described above. I don’t think she sounds too bad actually.
What about the authentic you? What does being yourself mean for you?
Leave a comment, tell me who you are, let’s start destroying the myth and start enjoying being ourselves.
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