How To Be Yourself


It’s a good idea to be yourself, not only because everybody else is taken, but because trying to be anything else doesn’t usually get you very far.

But how do you do it?

First, you have to understand what you have unlearned about yourself. This process can be disheartening, as you remember past decisions where you had the chance to be yourself but instead chose to be something different.

Since trying to be anyone other than yourself is usually ineffective, why not begin by deciding to do only what is true to your own inner compass? If you did it for just one day, what would that day look like?

There are a few schools of thought that say you are incapable of making good decisions on your own; that you are inherently evil and must continuously struggle against your true nature. You are destined to lose without some kind of intervention.

But what if your true nature were good? Sure, you’ve screwed up with the best of them, but that doesn’t mean you are destined to make bad decisions. Aren’t you capable of being true to what you believe in? Aren’t you capable of being a good self?

We all know at least one bitter, negative person. My theory is that most bitter people are not being true to themselves. My guess is that somewhere along the way, they took a wrong turn they’ve always regretted, and they take out their disappointment on others. You know how there’s always ONE GUY who tells you you’re stupid for not knowing how to do something? To be yourself, you have to be able to ignore that guy.

The last thing you want is to be bitter, but the second-last thing you want is regret. To avoid regret, you have to make active decisions. I think moving forward is better than remaining stationary. And I also think you have to show people you care about them—merely thinking nice things doesn’t help anyone.

Being yourself is risky. Something could go wrong, and then whose fault would it be? (This is another reason why it can be easier to let other people make your decisions—then you can blame them when it doesn’t work out.)

But in the long-run, you know you’re capable of being a good self. You know you’re capable of taking the risk. Even if some people don’t understand, you can find a way to pursue the life and work you’ve always wanted.

And you can be yourself, whoever you are, today.


Image: LJM

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  • Chris (another one) says:

    It is interesting that being myself has been one of my best keys to success in my life and especially my job.

    I stick to who I am and it continually pays off and makes the small differences that change things big time in the long run!

    So amen to being yourself!

  • Rholyn says:

    I must admit I am a boxed person. It’s a milestone for me to take the big leap… I’m just starting to crack the nutshell. Thanks for additional inspiration!

  • Gillian says:

    I always wonder why those bitter, angry people would CHOOSE to live a life that way? When THIS is so much easier! I also wonder why it took me so long to start living who I am b/c this is so much easier too than I thought it would ever be.

  • Miles says:

    How would you feel if woke up 50 years from now and your realized you lived somebody else’s life?
    What could you have done if only you trusted yourself?
    I hope you never have to ask these questions!

  • Brett Kunsch says:

    I’m not sure why we are all afraid of ourselves – perhaps it’s the constant seeking of approval that drives us away from our authentic selves because we never think we’re good enough. Of course, trying to please others only leaves you bitter.

    Because of messages like yours, Chris, I continually strive to tap into that good self on a daily basis. I strongly believe we’re all born with pens in our hands to create a life that we want, and we don’t have to pass it off to others to edit as they see fit. Perhaps one of the best ways to start tapping into our true core is to just take out a piece of paper and write for as long as we can the whole stream of consciousness that passes through our mind.

  • Masa says:

    My favorite Japanese artist, Taro Okamoto has an interesting view – being yourself is overrated and that’s a safe way to go about things; instead of trying to be yourself, be a human, live and create like a human.

    You are being yourself 24 hours a day. Even if you fake who you are, the way you fake it… probably has something distinctive of you. You are not showing up as who you are and not presenting your true self, but you are still you.

    Well, maybe you are not faking yourself, but you are striving to be yourself. But then, again, you are being yourself by definition – you don’t have to strive to be yourself at all.

    The question I have is – is it really *enough* to be myself, because I am already myself. It’s not that I want to be someone else, but I want to go further than being myself. I want to break this self and get closer to my better self. Who I am today is perhaps someone between my old self and my ideal self.

    I am changing… and keep evolving!

  • Hugh says:

    When we’re young, it’s often tempting to emulate others or try to be someone we’re not. As we grow older and wiser, we realize that being ourselves and following our own dreams is the only path to true happiness and fulfillment.

  • Lauie Ann says:

    I spent most of my earlier years trying to please both myself and my conservative family. Do you know what I learned. That you can’t move very far, very fast from the straddle position!

  • Chris C says:

    Corporate America is filled with people who are not themselves on a daily basis. It takes a supremely self-confident individual to break that cycle. I believe that in most cases, people who are true to themselves most of the time will shine within a strong organization, but reaching the top tiers of management is difficult without taking on another persona at some point. That is where the corporate culture fails most individuals. Therefore, the only way to truly rise to the top and be yourself (all the time) is to work for yourself.

  • Mike says:

    “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy.

    I saw this article, moments after reading that quote and I felt it fits the mood.

  • Jermaine Lane says:

    Hey Chris, great post. I know for myself, there have been times I’ve tried to be the person I thought people expected me to be. I think when we are ourselves, we give other people permission to do the same, to step out of the mold and be free. I think being yourself is freeing, being like everyone else is restrictive and frankly, too much work.

  • Vanessa says:

    Amen to this post. Many thoughts: I felt like I lost myself through university – a time I spent following everyone else’s advice, even though it literally gave me digestion problems and I felt sick all the time. I got hired at a Fortune 100 company as a result, and within 8-10 months, realized that being myself was detrimental to my progress at the organization. Once I realized that, I wanted to BE ME all the way. I thought it was ridiculous and a couple months ago, I quit because it was a soul killing experience.
    That being said, I’m 24, which isn’t an excuse, but because I drifted far from my car, I’ve been trying to discover my passion and pursue that during my time off, and it is more difficult than I thought. But I’m going to keep trying things, asking questions, reading books until I find the secret sauce.

  • Brad says:

    Awesome post! An entire book could be written on this singular subject.

  • Bridget says:

    Regret is fueled by the notion that somehow we can do everything perfectly, and that the goal is to do everything perfectly. Who set that goal? What would it mean to get to the end and say “I did it all perfectly?” What a weird game to play.

    I find that the more I be myself, the more people accept me, which is counter-intuitive to cultural norming, which is part of the pull we feel to not be ourselves.

    And what a gift we give when we make space for people as they are.

    Thanks Chris, for settling me back into myself before a day of interviews.

  • Linda says:

    Interesting take on the selves, Chris. A goal of a healthy ego (self-esteem) is to integrate the bad parts of oneself with the good. Sadly, I have worked with many who spend years living with bitterness, resentment, and regret.

    Often when I see clients the ‘bad’ self (or dark self, which we all possess) so intrinsically believes the automatic and negative thoughts. It’s initially very difficult to convince that reality does not support their destructive core beliefs.

    I believe the majority of people in the world are intrinsically good. One thing that helps me build trust and credibility is to remind the person sitting across from me that ‘you are the expert on your life.’

    Acceptance comes through reconciling the ugly, and trusting that authenticity is a beautiful thing. Living in the moment helps, too :).

  • MagicalMadge says:

    We’ve corresponded in the past and I appreciate all you do. Your post today really hits home.

    My husband and I are being ourselves and following our passions and you, my friend, helped give me the courage to do so in myself and to encourage my husband’s voice!

    Please go visit our website and read closely the repercussions we have felt from being ourselves in the recent days. Although it has struck a bitter chord for a very small few, the positive influx of comments and interest to our Delta Bohemian site has been….well….overwhelming!

    Thank you, again, for your encouraging words.

  • Dwayne Thompson says:

    I am learning everyday how to express the goodness of being true to myself has been. The rewards are almost unexplainable, it is in taking deep breathe, and acceptance. A poor is a mind — refuses to see options and truth, then act accordingly.

  • Sue says:

    My sense is that people are conditioned to not be themselves, not think for themselves and not tune into their inner wisdom from grade school onwards. It takes courage to continue to be authentically one’s self in the face of the dissuading pressures we get. I can’t be out of alignment with my true self for very long or I literally start to feel discouraged (dis-heartened). As one of your other commenters points out, it’s too much work trying to be someone other than yourself.

    I hope you’re enjoying your cross-Canada trek and you had a great time in the Maritime provinces. Newfoundland and P.E.I. are the only two provinces I haven’t visited. I haven’t visited our three territories, either, but I’m not a fan of cold weather, so that’s by choice.

  • Joshua says:

    A friend once told me, “They can’t compare to you either.” Remembering that no one else can offer what I can helps me whenever I’m doing something I’m afraid of.

  • Leah says:

    Great post!

    What I see as the biggest challenge for many folks is actually being tuned into their own inner-compass. In so many ways we are taught to ignore it…and to not follow our own guidance. This is one of the key things I had to work on, and I see the same issue with all the non-conforming souls that I work with.

    I think this can be especially hard for non-conformists because we have spent so much of our lives not wanting the box that the mainstream is offering…and feeling someway wrong in what we do want because people are always telling us we can’t have it. It creates an internal conflict that can end up looking a lot like defensiveness and crankiness. It is not so fun to feel like you can’t have what you want and be who you are.

    Thanks for being such a great example!

  • Gwyn says:

    Being myself is the biggest challenge. I spent so many years pretending at things that my true self is sometimes difficult to access. I like what Masa wrote about accepting what I am, human, and striving to be better at it. I believe the purpose in life is growth, and as long as I continue to grow for the better it is a self I can live with. On the other hand being true to ones self is knowing when to say I don’t know, allowing that to be the lesson. My best self or true self is the one that is honest and always willing to learn.
    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  • Debbie says:

    I wish I could agree with you 100%, Chris. People are inherently self-centered. Just watch a toddler for a while. He will do everything with the mind set that he is the center of the world and will continue to do so until he’s taught that other people matter. We have to LEARN the good stuff. Then we have to be true to the person we WANT to be. We don’t find ourselves, we create ourselves.

  • Bernice says:

    I think it is so important to learn to be yourself as being someone else can be exhausting. I am having to learn this in my 40s. I have to think that life would be so much easier if young people are taught this principle much earlier. many don’t have the wisdom at that age to see it, but many do!

  • catherine s chhina says:

    oh thank you so much for this. It came to me at exactly the right moment in the middle of a VERY challenging week. AONC rocks hard.

  • Stephen Zawodzinski says:

    Thank you for this post! It brightened my day and it is really true. Being true to yourself is so important. It makes the world your’s and allows you to find out who you are and what you want out of life.

  • Mike T Nelson says:

    I like to be responsible for myself — I succeed, yeah for me! I fail, oops, time to learn and try again. Either way the rate limiting step in the process and responsibility falls on me.

    “Be true to yourself and you will never fall” –The Beastie Boys.

  • Peter Mis says:

    Life is all about authenticity. People get so caught up in becoming what they think the world wants them to be that they simply forget their real selves. That stems from not believing that you are already good enough, strong enough, perfect enough as you already are. We are all good enough, strong enough, perfect enough exactly the way we already are.

    We just have to reconnect with our own real authentic selves, and the magic will happen.

  • Gibson Goff says:

    That’s a great post, Chris!

    I’m amazed at how much we are bombarded every day with crap that we have to be hip, and young, and ‘in-the-know’. We have to fit the mold (that BTW nobody can actually identify) or we’re stupid, has-beens, even diseased. You either have to be very, very strong, or stubborn to not play along. Or maybe both.

    And I’m also amazed, and saddened at how much we, as a culture buy into it.

    The Army doesn’t say “Be all that guy can be”. A Russian philosopher named Vinocurov said “There is no ache as great as that of trying to be yourself”.

    I’d rather ache than submit.

  • Sheila says:

    Lately I’ve thought about giving myself 30 days to fail spectacularly over and over again. Just to take the damned edge off of it. Really, when you look failure in the face, it runs the other way.

    So, so far I have singing, dancing and public speaking lined up 🙂 I think I’ll add stand up comedy.

    Life…it should be fun!

  • Joyia says:

    This is something I’ve been struggling with for a while. I’ve always valued being myself but when I do so there’s usually someone to try to get me to compromise myself, saying that I’m being unreasonable. Is following one’s own reason unreasonable in our culture. Mostly I tend to have the most problem with authority figures who find it there business to lead students along the paths they perceive as being viable. I’m a college senior and am getting tired of bring told to take the safe route and get an MFA for job security just in case I fail at my creative endeavors. I always marvel a how those who are older think that just because they have lived longer they somehow know about the world when in this age the world is changing too fast for anyone to make heads or tails of it. I am realizing that just because someone has lived longer that doesn’t mean that they have truly learned from their years besides how to play it safe.

  • Katie Warner says:

    Great post, having one of those days and really needed to read this today! Hope you’re doing well Chris, your ninjas in Austin miss you!

  • Ana says:

    Great post. I always look forward to your posts because they always make me feel better. Always.

  • s.b.Lyngo says:

    I love this post. I strive to live my highest self daily and am surprised often by the humorous ways in which I fail. All the same, there is only one of me and that definitely gives me the edge in achieving my highest self. I think any of us can grow bitter, or be bitter for a moment in response to witnessing some of the cruel and sad events that take place in our world. Ultimately it’s not good for the liver, kidney, spleen or lower back much less your complexion or the community. Avoid bitter. One Love and more life, light and laughter to you Chris.

  • Matthew says:

    I really enjoyed your article. It serves as a reminder that I have to be vigilant about being myself. It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to fit in. The cost of doing that is always a loss of self. We contribute the most to the world by being our unique selves.

  • Contrarian says:

    Great article, Chris! You hit the nail on the head! What you write about here is exactly what contrarianism is all about.

    Most view (the art of) non-conformity as being frequently against the majority, living an unconventional lifestyle, or opposing everything and anything that is popular. Wrong wrong wrong!

    Being a contrarian is about you being you and using your own God given mind to think for yourself. It’s a rare person who actually does this which by definition makes them contrarian!

    Contrarianism’s primary concern is not with what you think, but who is doing the thinking? If there was just one thing that contrarianism emphatically insists upon is that you form your own well reasoned independent opinions, and not simply rent space in someone else’s head!

  • Marlon says:

    You have been writing a lot about your stance about how “moving forward is better than staying stationary” and I wanted to share a quote from a great book The Time Paradox that supports it:

    Remember that people are more likely to regret actions not taken than actions taken, regardless of outcome. For example, a woman who wants to become a Hollywood star is more likely to regret not moving to Los Angeles and trying to get a part in a movie, than to regret moving to Los Angeles and failing to become a star.

  • Beatriz Cervantes Zijlstra says:

    Guess what my new 2011 bumper sticker i bought says:

    “I do not SUFFER from insanity
    I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

    That’s ME, weird is a compliment.

    Thanks for freeing me up, I do love Jesus Christ, and have learned many lessons from the Bible, especially the Fruite of Spirit in Galations: “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Perseverance and Self-Control, but the greatest of these is Love” However, going about getting to the place where you can actually simulate those characteristics is not entirely clear, so God places people like you to guide the way for others, who can heal and grow, and then guide the way for others, and viola, we are all loving eachother and being the best that we can be before u know it!

  • Roy says:

    Yes, I believe we only find happiness when we are able to be our best selves. And that involves bringing out the best in others as well.

  • Effy says:

    This gave me a big ‘ol happy. I am on this mission – have been all my life and I can vouch for it being sweet, sweet, sweet.

  • Chuck Cammarata says:

    Great post! I am a pastor and spend a lot of time counseling people who lives are in varying degrees of disrepair or outright disaster. One primary cause of the problems people face is that they do not know how to be themselves, or even who they are anymore. Life has a way of robbing us of our unique, and I would say, God given, identities. One aspect of the great journey – even adventure of life – is the journey to refinding the core of yourself. I appreciate that others see this need as well. Thanks for being you.

  • Kelly says:

    I’m such a mess, I have to laugh at myself.

    I find it nearly impossible to be myself. Somewhere back in high school a few things happened that gave me a glimpse of myself, and I didn’t like it. I spent the next few years trying to figure out how to become someone I did like. Failing that, I tried to figure out how to be something other people would like.

    I’ve pretty much failed that too. But I don’t even know who the real me is or was anymore.

    I’m so messed up that I didn’t want to post here cuz I don’t feel like I fit in very well with the whole AONC feel. That, and I figured the last thing anyone wanted was to read about some other schmuck on the internet whining about his problems…

    But I guess I am at least doing something not so expected of me… /shrug

  • Helena says:

    This is true. I used to be one of those bitter people. I finally woke up and now there is no turning back! I just thrive on being myself and if for any reason I start to go down the “do something to please others and not according to who I am” path, I know right away. My body tells me. I feel a knot around my chest area and my breathing becomes shallow. This is the time I shift into myself again. Thank you so much for this post Chris!

  • Roman says:

    “There are a few schools of thought that say you are incapable of making good decisions on your own; that you are inherently evil and must continuously struggle against your true nature. You are destined to lose without some kind of intervention.

    But what if your true nature were good?”

    By asking this, it also asks “But what if your true nature were evil?” Should they then subscribe to those schools of thought for the better of everyone* or be themselves and unleash evil**?

    *Thus making them inherently good…?

    **Thus making your point to be yourself…what is this? A catch-22? Or am I failing logic forever? Hmm…maybe there’s a third option.

  • rob white says:

    Realizing there is no “Us” versus “them” (the angry, bitter people) is huge step to be able to express ourselves freely. We are all part of one universal whole. Looking at all people with compassion and non-judgment allows our naturally soaring spirit to shine through in any situation.

  • Doug says:

    Great article. Being Bitter is the worst thing.

  • Trish says:

    I agree with the idea of being true to oneself, but my question is: How do I find out what is truly ‘me’?

    How does one go about discovering one’s ‘true’ self? How do you recognize what is ‘you’ versus what are values unconsciously absorbed in childhood or young adulthood? The unknowingly-learned social class restrictions? The sub-text suffusing the internet (and media in general) of the importance of being thought cool?

    Is that sense of fear I feel telling me I’m approaching something I should be doing? Or something I should NOT be doing? How can I tell the difference?

    Do I hestitate to put out the effort to achieve something because the achievement wouldn’t be ‘me’, or because I fear the consequences, or because I’m just too lazy and find ‘comfort’ is more ‘me’ than hard work?

    And when you say ‘yourself,’ are you talking about a higher self, in the sense of Neil Fiore’s book, Awaken Your Strongest Self, or of something else? (NA)

    Thank you for your blog.

  • Ryan says:

    Rock on! Being yourself is where it’s at. In the end, if you’re not, the veil will always be lifted.

    I found that traveling often allows you to discover things you never knew about yourself. Sorta like a truth serum that teaches you what’s important to YOU and the person YOU want to be.

    Good work Chris!

  • Jean Burman says:

    Well said Chris. I like your down to earth conversational writing style. It suits you… it IS you [and is working very well for you]

    This world needs way more authentic people in it. People who are not afraid to be themselves. To be the odd man/woman out. It’s the odd one out that [stands out]… and makes the biggest difference.

    “The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself” – Lao Tzu

  • Jo says:

    It can be very easy to invest a lot of time in trying to be the person we think everyone else expects us to be – being and doing what we think we ‘should’. Letting go of that and just being ourselves is very liberating. Some people don’t understand the decisions we make for ourselves, but it’s strange how we put their opinions above our own.

    Thanks Chris – an inspiring post to wake up to on a Friday morning!

  • Jean Burman says:

    I just wanted to reply to KELLY [six posts up from here]

    Kelly… you DO belong here. And deep down you know it. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

    To find out who you are… push yourself out there. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you’re scared. Even when you don’t know exactly what it is you want [or need] to do. Stay open to [life] opportunities… say yes when you might otherwise say no… say no and see what happens… learn. Learn something new. Anything. But get in the swim.

    The one exception to the rule of always being yourself is when you don’t really KNOW who you are [and it’s essential to find out because getting to know your self will be the best thing you ever did for yourself and the world] Try out some different scenarios. Live life as if you are the person you might want to be. See what fits. Before long you will know exactly who you are [and what you want]. Chin up! 🙂

  • Andi says:

    Life is too short to be bitter and unhappy! I’m so grateful that I can wake up with a smile on my face every day. 🙂

  • Irene says:

    Your blog is great!

    My personal mission is to help others feel valued.

    To me, being myself is shirking off society’s values and being the person that I want to be.

    I have met a few people who were not what I wanted to become. One was a cranky, demanding old woman. Another was a man who did whatever he thought he could get away with.

    I have met or read about people who were what I wanted to become. Mother Teresa saw that there were people in India literally dieing on the sidewalk. She took them in and cared for them. My grandmother insisted that the relatives that were willing to take one of her children, after her husband died, should help her keep the family together.

  • Maggie says:

    I try not to have regrets, but can’t help but regret points in my life where I’ve tried to change who I am because someone I cared about didn’t like or appreciate something about me. So now I’m so fiercely true to myself I have a hard time NOT being myself. Gets me in trouble sometimes, but at the end of the day if someone is rubbed the wrong way by who I am, they aren’t really worth having in my life. . . (because I’m pretty sure my true self is not evil. just maybe not everyone’s cup o’ tea. 😉 )

  • wilson usman says:

    Dude trying to be someone else is hard, I tried that when I was in high school and it sucked…lol

    It’s definitely better just to follow your gut and run with it. Of course you’ll find books and people that will shape you a bit, but you can still be yourself and add your own decisions.

    Oh and about the negative bitter people (forgetboutit!)

  • Hannah says:

    I’ve used the quote in your photo as my email signature for years ;-). It would seem that much of life is about letting go of what your parents and friends convinced you to be like…and discovering you already had (and have, and are) everything you need.

    That has been much of my life path, as well as friends and clients. We each explore that at our own pace. Every year I become more of who I am, and happier as a result.

  • Christopher M. Johnston says:

    I have recently made a decision but feel awful about it. I’ve felt that same way in the past but have chosen to keep going and it always ended bad. This time I’m not going to do it. I’m changing course now and staying true to myself and not pursuing dollars again.

  • Jessica says:

    Rock on, Chris! Staying true to yourself is so important. You are the only one who knows how to be you. Be authentic and live your life. It’s not as satisfying to pretend to be people you are not and live a life based on other people’s choices from you.

  • Nicole says:

    I hope I’m not alone here but I think the “you are inherently evil” thinking pool is just a bit confused with the whole ‘original sin’ thing. I know it’s not the point of this blog or post, but I believe that people’s hearts are inherently GOOD, regardless of our tendency to sin as humans. Anyway, another great post Chris, thanks!

  • Erika says:

    Bitter people can be incredibly frustrating but I find that it often tends to be jealousy, in the form of bitterness. So… we continue to lead by example. It’s the best way to encourage others and spur them towards positive change!

  • Sage says:

    This is especially true for writers (bloggers). You really get no where with a schtick, or falling prey to the temptation to think about “market viability” in the long run. Once you listen to your compass, expression and words (art of any sort) comes so much easier. It can feel like lightning striking, when you realize what your voice is. Suddenly all your other zany ideas seem so contrived and forced.

  • Spooky says:

    I think it’s a message that bears repeating. I certainly need to hear it sometimes. I feel like I really lost touch with myself starting in my early teenage years and I’m still struggling to find my way back. It’s definitely a challenge when it seems like everything you need to do for college or work requires you to humbly roll over and conform.

  • Christopher Jones says:

    This is such a relevant post for me. Genpo Roshi recently tweeted, “There’s nothing more esoteric than being ordinary. Just be true to yourself. That’s as ordinary and extraordinary as you can get.” Truer words are hardly spoken aloud. Human being need to realize that every limitation they think they have is simply a thought, and can be dismissed as such, thereby releasing the hidden magnificent power within each and every one of them. That said…100 push ups, here I come! b(^-^)d

  • Marwa says:

    I feel really happy to know that there are more people think the same way I do .
    I always be myself and I am used to hear phrases like ” you’re strange…” ” how do you do that…” or ” .. you are so free!! I can’t be like you”… but you know what,
    they don’t know that it is easier this way, to act like yourself ..
    The decision to be myself , I made it last year, and it was the most right of all my life. I started to live openly and my confidence and everything changed to the best. I hope that someday people will realize how important it is to be yourself and act the way you are before it’s too late.
    Still, I hear a lot of comments but I don’t feel sad about it, instead, I feel sorry for them. Because they don’t know the true meaning of living the life the way you are.

  • Liz says:

    Excellent post!

    I would only add that it is essential we also respect other people as they work to be authentic selves. In a world where everyone tunes into their inner compass, we will still have clashes of values and opinions. Learning to respect your brother’s way of being in the world will lead to an understanding of how all people have a right to be in the world.

  • Miguel Marfori says:

    Awesome post, Chris. I know this already but reading it over and over again, on different forms, ways and in this one, makes me believe: I rock being myself!

    The part about bitter, angry people can apply as well to other annoying types of people: the critics, the gatekeepers, the mediocrity-ish people, the parent who THINKS what’s best for you, the friend who thinks ideas are nothing but garbage, the guy who wanted to be something in his youth but got pressured by parents…
    They all tell you the same thing: You SHOULD do this. You SHOULD follow your parents. You SHOULD follow their advice.

    I’d like to shout some profanity (but I won’t. Don’t worry, Chris. I won’t. I have my journal for that). Being myself is the one of the great lessons in life. It’s being able to keep at it that’s going to be challenge. I’ll take the risk. 😉

  • Luinae says:

    Being yourself is such an interesting concept, because, as a high school student, I notice that so few people do it.

    Inner introspection is obviously the best way to start.

  • Austin L. Church says:

    Thomas Merton observed, “Becoming a saint is becoming yourself.” Granted, he was speaking from the perspective that we are inherently depraved and rebellious, a perspective that I share, but his words still speak of a path that even non-Catholics and non-Christians could endorse. Honesty leads to authenticity, and authenticity, to fulfillment.

    Bitterness and negativity are dead ends.

  • kyle says:

    Thanks Chris for your comments. I have been myself for a while now but only recently decided to pursue what I feel like I am supposed to do to create income (versus what others think I should). Sometimes it seems like too much to deal with but I have found if you work toward a goal everyday it helps keep my grounded and focused. A few little steps at a time.

  • Ali Dark says:

    Great thread. Reading through your responses is quite inspiring. Almost every comment is heartfelt and reminds me that this world is full of so many beautiful souls.

    If I can add anything, it’s that I be myself through the process of elimination. That is, if not not actively trying to be something I’m not, or someone else, then I’m being myself.

    And by my higher definition of self, that isn’t really it, but it’ll do for now. In the ephemeral world we do/are ephemeral things.

  • monika hardy says:

    Nice Chris. thank you.

    HS students have spent the last 2 years redefining school. this is what they came up with. be you.

    It’s very exciting really, watching it unfold. they’re calling it detox — a means to help us all get back to ourselves and the natural process of learning, inquiry, and imagination.

  • Wyletter Whaley says:

    I enjoyed your post. Being yourself is an interesting concept that seems to present a challenge for so many. I have never understood why some people are willing to invest so much time, effort and energy into being who or what they think that they should be rather than investing that time, effort and energy into being who they really are.

  • Maria says:

    I seriously LOVE this.

  • Cathleen says:

    This is awesome. I definitely agree.. Thanks for sharing.

  • Linda S says:

    As a child I was taught that how I looked was more important than how I felt. I never became me. I’ve been depressed for most of my 63 years and have just recently figured out it’s because I’ve spent my life trying to be someone not me. My blog and other writings are the ony places I am me and I get wonderful feedback there. I still don’t know how to become an everyday me without losing my husband of 44 years. All you young folks pay attention NOW to how important that is, please.

  • Zanne says:

    Nice reminder, Chris. Even though I’ve been doing just that (consciously) for most of my adult life, I still feel that little twinge of “omg, they won’t like if I don’t do/do x.” I think it’s like any practice, it doesn’t get easier per se, you just move through it more effectively because you’re willing to live with the outcomes/consequences. Kinda like that TED vid, you pointed to, forgot his name, where he said you gotta think about failure AND recovery, when addressing your fears.

    On the other side of the river if you’re yourself and people like you, well then you know they like YOU, not an impostor.

  • Tony Lam says:

    Being yourself, it seemed to be something very easy to say and so hard to accomplish. Most of us are subject to others direction, rules, customs, being accepted, parents or anything-else. I’ve been trying to be myself for a long time and rather to be accepted, loved, wanted by others. It will more easier to be yourself if we allowed ourselves to live, accept, do, create, work or anything-else.You will be less stressful, not afraid to fail, continue to live your life your way, less dependent, happy and very controllable life. To be yourself. Hopefully, someday, we all can be ourselves and not restricted by the rules of others of how we can or have to behave in our life. I am what I am. I love being myself. I respect other’s point of view so respect mine.We can share or exchange the thoughts, being open-minded, help each other without any expectations.
    You’re be blessed and more peaceful with yourself.

  • Justin Hamlin says:

    My goal in life to be myself is to never look back and say “what if…”

    Always take the road less traveled, always follow your heart, your gut, and never be afraid because something is different.

  • malakhabbak says:

    This topic is so relevant to so many people, myself included. Thank you!

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  • Diamantebox says:

    I like the points you made, they are indeed very true, this tends to be the biggest issue most people struggle with in life and I’m just learning to love myself and embrace myself the way I am now.

    Check out my vids for more tips on the subject:

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