All the way from my 20s to my 30s, I had people telling me ‘just be yourself’.
They did this because I was actually pretty insecure and struggled with low self esteem.
'Be yourself' is just not that helpful
However this piece of advice, I’ve come to conclude, is actually one of the least helpful things to tell someone who’s feeling like this.
I say this because I know.
When I heard this I’d try really hard to be ‘who I really was’. And that was the problem.
I was trying.
Trying to be myself didn't work
In that trying I was judging and feeling bad about what I was experiencing - namely insecurity and a lack of self esteem.
I’d try to be someone who wasn’t insecure and lacking in self esteem, it’s what I was hearing they wanted.
I’d try to be more confident and bolder - and in trying to be myself would it more often than not didn’t work out very well.
Until I finally worked out to take that advice in a very different way.
Do what they say, not what they mean
Actually do what they’re saying, not what they seem to mean - which is to not have the self experience you’re having.
The real secret to ‘just being yourself’ is to feel and be exactly what you’re experiencing.
Embrace yourself exactly as you are
That means you need to embrace whatever you're feeling - perhaps insecure, inadequate, small or whatever experience you’re having of yourself.
The path to ‘being yourself’, actually starts with you feeling and facing exactly what it is you’re experiencing.
It may not be comfortable or desirable, but that’s the point. If it feels like it’s going to tear you apart to feel it, it’s not.
It’s actually the most powerful thing you could do.
In my journey, it was stopping trying to be myself that was at the core of a massive transformation - I started actually being myself rather than trying.
So try it, go in and feel your experience as deeply as you feel you can.
What can then happen is that there’s more room for you. More room to actually see and feel what’s really going.
Room to grow.
The secret to being yourself is not to dig down to find yourself, but just to embrace what you’re feeling right now in the moment.
(Of course if the shit totally hits the fan internally, you should get see someone who can help you through it. Get in touch if you want to talk to me about what I can do).