At what age do we understand what the phrase “just be yourself” means? I do not know. But, I do know that we are frequently faced with strenuous situations that can shake our beliefs and make us question who we are over and over again. So, when someone says the phrase “just be yourself”, it can be easy to feel pressured or just confused… It can be hard to be ourselves when our surroundings are constantly changing, and unfortunately, sometimes we give ‘change’ the power to change who we authentically are.
Lately, I’ve been going through a bit of unwanted change, (as we all have been due to this virus), and although I know I’m not alone in this stage of my life, these situations have led me to really sit and think about who I genuinely am.
Because I’m a Christian, I know I’m someone who’s called and commissioned to bless others and make a positive impact on the world around me. I know am treasured, loved, and created to be someone great (We all are). Even so, that’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes. Funny, it’s as if I don’t want to be loved or can’t accept that very well. Because of this, it’s often hard to “be myself” or live authentically according to the person who I am meant to be.
It’s helpful to have friends that go through similar things. (: Alexis, one of my soul sisters, is a person whom I appreciate simply because we think very similarly on matters of the heart. Whenever I fall into a whirlwind of dark emotions, she helps me recollect myself and echoes words of reassurance. This helps soothe my anxious thoughts, self-abasement, and fear. Anyhow, she sent me an article once when we were having one of our venting/encouragement sessions that I really wanted to re-share. (Here’s the article, https://advice.shinetext.com/articles/how-to-stop-playing-a-part-and-uncover-your-authentic-self/).
While reading it, a couple things stood out to me. One: growing up, you recognize who your parents wish you to become, you learn about the potential your teachers believe you have as well as who they envision you to be, and you find out about the person your friends believe you will grow into. But, “being yourself, or living authentically, according to author and researcher Dr. Brené Brown, “is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.” Our individual uniqueness is a beautiful thing! Two: the article mentioned how we often showcase a “better version” of ourselves when we’re around certain people or to simply get through the day, but isn’t that draining? I know, being yourself can be easier said than done, but isn’t it exhausting to not be?
Sometimes, we hide parts of ourselves because we’re afraid of rejection. Other times, we shelter our true emotions from the world because we want to be accepted or feel important to those we care about. Other times, we are just terrified of feeling like an inconvenience to others. But, I hope we’re able to remember that the quirks we frequently hide, the “weird” things we do, are sometimes the most beautiful components of ourselves.
To help maintain authenticity, the article suggests protecting what makes you unique. Our individual mannerisms, hobbies, vernacular, and ways of doing things shouldn’t be things we’re embarrassed about. Just because we may feel like we’re different from others and want to be perceived in a likable way, doesn’t mean we should resort to disliking the things that make us, us. You see, some of us find ourselves becoming more attached to other people, while others are more detached individuals. Some of us feel things at a deeper more empathetic level; meanwhile, others love people without needing much. Some people deal well with change and others simply cannot. Nonetheless, let’s treat ourselves with compassion. Wouldn’t it be nice to embrace parts of ourselves that we’re uncomfortable with in a healthy way? “Embracing who you are is about digging deep inside of yourself and honoring your wants, desires, thoughts, and feelings—regardless of outside factors and people.”
Embracing who I am gives me peace. Creating a safe space for myself helps me to take one day at a time, and spending time doing my favorite things reminds me that I have a peculiar God-given purpose: to be a reflective light to others and myself.
Venetian Blue Sandwiches