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Why Being Yourself is Harder Than You Think

Jenny is confident about herself. She is a hybrid between an introvert and outgoing. She loves travel and food.


Are you, you?

It may seem strange to be asked this question but if we really stop for a moment and contemplate, this seemingly ridiculous question actually asks for answers that go deeper than what we usually allow ourselves to admit. Yes, I know it doesn't make sense because who else are you gonna be than yourself, right? But how much do you know yourself and how much do people around you know the real you? Are you consistent in all the facets of your life? Or do you sometimes behave and show a different side of you in different circumstances and different people?

You see, as far as society and our environment go, we all wear masks that somehow conceal a part of us that we don't want other people to see. We have to. We need to. Our society is not fair. We live in a world where people strive to be normal and what's normal is usually dictated by the norms in the society. This is the reason why whenever we are out in public like social gatherings (not the intimate ones we do with friends and family), we never hear people talk about themselves on a deeper level. People talk about general things like sports, weather, travels, lifestyle and fashion. They don't talk about private things like family feud, heartbreak, financial problems and the likes.

Why is that? Well, society is judgmental. Very few people actually do care about you that's why we don't open up to just anybody. In public, we try to behave like everyone else because that is what's acceptable. Does it make you who you are? Not really because you are restricted somehow. You can't always do what you want. You can't even say what you want especially nowadays because you might offend or hurt people. You need to be careful with everything you say because it will be used against you. Even without the intention of being racist, some people are being ridiculed just because of the words they used. Even dressing up in certain ways in public is not tolerated, so no, it doesn't make it easy for you to be yourself when out in public and that's fine. You don't owe it to society, you owe it to yourself to be you.


Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken

— Oscar Wilde

You and your inner circle

Your inner circle is basically your family and closest friends. These are the people whom we all expect to know who we are on a deeper level because they are the people we practically grew up with, decided to spend our life with, and whom we shared most of our happy times and difficult moments with. Our inner circle is the closest to our hearts and therefore it is natural for us to open up to them. But to what extent?

Your Family:

Have you kept or do you still keep any secrets from your parents and siblings? Yes, of course. They probably still have no idea how crazy you were back in college. They probably don't know how many people you went out with because you didn't introduce all of them. Did you make trips with your friends they didn't know of? Most probably. These are petty things that you did when you were young and you didn't want to be grounded or scolded so you hid it from your family. These are the things that your closest friends know about you but your family probably don't. Does it mean that your parents don't know the real you? Well, it probably doesn't matter but your past is a part of you and unless you tell them everything, there will still be some parts of your past that your parents and siblings wouldn't know about. You still probably keep some things to them until now or especially now that you are older and wiser. There are things we like to keep to ourselves because we are supposed to handle them ourselves. I get it, they can't know everything because you are not always together 100% of the time. They still love you no matter what but still there are some things we keep to ourselves.

Your best friends:

Are you completely honest with your best friends? Some of us feel 100% comfortable with our best friends that we really tell them everything. We tell them even the deepest secrets we have and even things that are really private. For us, it is normal because we know they will never judge us. It is easier to be completely honest with our bestfriends than with our family because with friends, we don't have to live up to some expectations. Friends understand us, friends accept us for who we are. They are as crazy so being yourself is not at all difficult. If you have that kind of friendship, cherish it because it is real and special. Not everyone can be totally themselves even in front of their best buddies.

There are some situations however, where bestfriends grow apart. You both start a life of your own and you somehow got caught up in life and you lose contact. Even when you see each other again, the bond will still be there but there will already be some limits to what you want to say or do in front of them. Even when catching up is still so easy there are still things that can hamper your honesty to your best buddy. Like for example, You don't like your best friend's new partner, or his/her partner tried to hit on you and you want to tell your best friend but don't know how to. This will surely put a gap between you and your bestfriend and your tendency is to avoid the situation because you don't want to ruin their relationship. Or maybe, your bestfriend told you about something he/she did and you find it stupid but you don't want to be condescending by being brutally honest. Sometimes, when a friend is vulnerable, we just can't help but be understanding even when we really want to scream at them for not listening. That can come at a later time...The point is, if there is another person besides yourself who you can be yourself totally, it will have to be your bestfriend and you are lucky if your bestfriend is also your partner in life...

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Illustration by Dan Gibson

Illustration by Dan Gibson

Don't chase after people. The ones who don't care about you will never accept you and the ones who really love you don't need you to prove your worth. If you constantly find yourself trying to prove your worth to someone, you are with the wrong person.

Your partner in life:

Your partner in life can also be your bestfriend. This bond you share with your partner is one of the deepest bonds you can make in your life. It is stronger than the bond you share with your parents (that's why when you marry, your partner becomes your innermost circle) but not as strong as the bond you will have with your kids. When it comes to being yourself, there should be no difficulty being who you are with your partner. In fact, they say that if you can truly become yourself in front of someone and he/she still accepts you and loves you, marry that person. In an ideal world, yes you can be 100% your self in front of your partner. You can fart, burp, curse and be messy in the morning and your partner won't love you less. But in real world, things are a lot more complicated than that. Bad habits are not just farting and burping. Bad habits can actually ruin a marriage. Small things pile up and patience run out. If you give in to yourself 100% of the time, your partner will be neglected that is why you need to learn a bit of compromise. It is good to be able to speak up and express yourself, but you still need to express it in a way your partner will understand. You can't just do anything you want, not anymore. If you are married and with kids, you cannot always hang out with your friends. Not all the time like you used to. Some people even believe that when you get too comfortable, you tend to be lazy and just don't force yourself with anything anymore and that usually leads to boredom in some relationships resulting in separation. This means that there's still a part of you that you need to keep to yourself. A part of you that you need to constantly be aware of. If you tend to say hurtful words when you are angry or if you tend to throw things and shout to prove a point, if you like pointing fingers, you need to change it. You can say that it is what makes you who you are but if you keep doing that, you will push the people away even the ones you believe are the right people for you.

You and Yourself

They say the best relationship you can ever have is with yourself. You know who you are, you know what you want, your fears, your strengths, your weaknesses, your dreams and your failures. You know all these things because these are what define you. You have your own principles and goals. You should know yourself better than anyone around you.

Embrace yourself and be who you are. The truth is, it is easier said than done. To be who you are, you need to know who you are. To be yourself, you need to accept your flaws, your negative traits and everything that makes you want to be somebody else. This means that you have to accept that you have a crappy job, that you are not the popular type of person, that you don't have that perfect body shape you see on others, that you don't have as much money as other people, that you came from a broken family, or that you and your partner is not working out, etc.. etc. It is not easy to accept the things that we want to change about ourselves but if you want to be able to fully embrace yourself, you have to accept all your flaws and be able to change the things that you can change. You can't be yourself unless you make peace with yourself. Now, I said, you can better accept yourself if you change for the better but how can you be yourself if you keep changing?


In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.

You and change

If you change, does it make you less of who you are? No. Change is a part of life so it is a part of all of us. We all change a part of us on a daily basis. The decisions we make everyday shape us into who we are at the moment. We are constantly evolving and adapting to our society and that's life. Being yourself at this day and age means not losing all that you are just to fit in. It is okay to change but be the change you need for yourself not because you want people to accept you. Do not live a life of pretense in the company of people who don't really care about you. No matter what you do, you will simply not belong with them. Your own crowd, on the other hand, will appreciate you for who you are and that's where you belong.

How much of yourself can you truly be?

There are many versions of you and they are all you. You can be a strict boss in your workplace, and be the most affectionate parent at home or the craziest friend. The world we live in requires us to behave in certain ways and that's fine. Sometimes, we need to show a different part of our self even though it goes against our current emotional and physical state. What matters is at the end of the day, we know where we are and we accept the life we have. There is no perfect life so let us not be affected by what we see online or on TV. Being yourself means not forcing your life to go where you think it should be. Being yourself means embracing your life with all its imperfections and beauty. Who you were and who you will become depends on who you are today.

Happiness is loving yourself and being less concerned with approval of others

— Karina Barton

© 2019 Jennifer Gonzales

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