Learn to Be Yourself: 3 Steps to Understanding Your Identity
The art of being yourself takes a big dose of courage. After all, we live in a society determined to make us all the same where getting out of the mold sometimes means being pointed at.
Throughout the first part of our life, we are guided by other people who set out our path for us. It’s been like that for all of us: when we’re little, we’re taught right from wrong.
When we reach adolescence and young adulthood, we compare ourselves to our peers and want to be accepted and recognized. Not looking a certain way or following set norms often means rejection.
Some way or another, we all go through hard times in our lives. We all experience moments when we aren’t ourselves anymore, but rather what other people expect us to be.
However, the time always comes when we stop and ask ourselves the essential question: Who really am I?
Far from being a “useless philosophical” question, it’s an important question that deserves attention.
When you find out who you really are, you realize that many of the things and people around you don’t fit anymore. They’re not in sync with you, there’s no balance. This will be the time to start making changes.
We suggest reflecting on this by going through these 3 steps.
1. Being yourself is accepting your own identity
Being yourself is like having a beautiful, special, yet fragile part in your heart. When you aren’t faithful to it, it’s wounded. Remember:
- Your identity is not made up of external, temporary things. In other words, if you’re unemployed, you should not integrate being “a failure” into my inner self.
- Likewise, if you’ve recently gone through a breakup, that doesn’t mean that you “don’t deserve to be loved.”
Being yourself means nourishing yourself from the root, from everything you’ve gone through and felt in order to form your own perspective of things in a positive and holistic way.
Above all, remember: When you discover your true identity, you should be faithful to the principles that define it.
So why do we sometimes break this agreement with ourselves?
- We prioritize pleasing others and being what others want us to be.
- Out of fear. Sometimes, we’re afraid to completely and fully be ourselves, afraid of disappointing others, or of not being what they expect.
- Some people don’t like themselves how they are. Not accepting yourself physically and emotionally is, no doubt, a dangerous source of frustration.
2. The labels others assign us don’t matter
The society we live in has a certain defect: it condemns, judges, and labels.
Human beings have a need to label and judge in order to feel like they have control over others. If we label this person as awkward and ridiculous, they’ll believe it and we’ll have more power over them.
It could be that at first we let ourselves be controlled by the unwarranted judgments people make about us. However, we need to take the step and see it for what it is: just noise and empty words.
What others say or think about you is their problem. It’s their own little world. It shouldn’t affect you because the only thing that will make you happy is feeling free and proud of yourself.
3. Being yourself means making changes
Getting comfortable with your own identity doesn’t mean it is fixed or unchangeable. After all, anyone who refuses to change an aspect of themselves won’t be able to grow. Nor will they be able to adapt well to their environment.
Carl Rogers was one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century. His humanistic approach has an unusual focus based on a few essential ideas:
- People develop their personalities in order to achieve their life goals.
- When we accept ourselves, we allow ourselves to change in order to fulfill our dreams.
This idea may seem somewhat contradictory to you. However, just think about this little example:
You’re in a very complicated relationship. Finally, you decide to take the step to end it. You do it because you know what you want and don’t want. You want to “be yourself” and not settle for a substitute for happiness and a relationship where you are not good for each other. When you leave this person, you make a change in your inner self. You become stronger. Even if you still loved the person, you remembered what you deserve.
Changing means allowing ourselves to grow in order to stay true to ourselves.
The art of being who we really want to be first and foremost requires accepting ourselves. Later, we move forward with every victory and every mistake in order to keep building our own identity.
Always try to face every day with happiness and the goal of being a better person.
Will you put this into practice?