What does it mean to you when someone says “just be yourself”?
When you hear that do you know exactly what that looks looks and feels like or does it leave you feeling confused? What do they mean? What do they really want me to be?
As humans we are wired for connection and as a result we seek to be accepted and validated by others so we can experience a sense of belonging with each other.
What is interesting to observe however is that we are often drawn to people that are comfortable in their own skin. Those people that are unapologetic for who they are and consistently stay true to their beliefs with seemingly no fear around what other people think.
Many of us overly concern ourselves with thoughts around what other people think which limits the opportunity to discover the truth of who we are.
Living in the eastern suburbs of Sydney I see this all too clearly - clones of beautiful people, looking the same, dressing the same, acting the same - all seeking to fit the mould of the environment around them.
Through the coaching work I do, I see clients who are desperate to be themselves but don’t know how to do that with confidence. Many of them certain that if they were just themselves that they wouldn’t get very far in life.
What I’ve seen over and over again is that life teaches us to unleash the truth of who we are. With more and more people finding themselves deeply unhappy trying to keep up the facade of being and doing things they believe others want.
Social media whilst a wonderful avenue for opening up the world to us has also impacted how people see themselves.
With more and more beautiful photos and perfect lives on display it leaves many feeling inadequate about the life they are living, questioning whether being themselves is really enough.
The older I get and the wiser I become, the more I see how necessary it is for us to embrace the truth of who we are. We each have unique gifts and talents to share with the world and the absence of understanding ourselves means we are less likely to discover them and make the impact each of us has the potential to.
With mental health illnesses on the rise it’s important to take note what is happening with society around us because the truth is that we each have a role to play and a human obligation to help each other see that we are enough just as we are.
So next time you wonder about '“just being yourself” consider if you’ve given yourself the chance to know who that really is or whether that is something you actually need to discover for yourself.
Because until you do, you can’t show others how to discover the same.