With the rise of mental health problems, it’s accompanied by a plethora of slogans, motivational, and self-improvement quotes preached to the public.
Be proud of who you are.
Just be you.
But who am I? How do I ‘be myself’? What is being myself? How do I get there?
No one really has the answer to that question. And no one can really answer that question truthfully.
Not an attention-seeker
Photo by De’Andre Bush on Unsplash
But I am also…
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I think many times in life, especially in our childhood and adolescent days, we’re taught to suppress the negative parts of ourselves.
It’s looked down upon by society.
People don’t want to see the ugly.
Don’t throw a tantrum in public! You’ll make me lose face.
Don’t cry. It’s a sign of weakness.
No one wants to deal with your vulnerability.
Don’t be weird.
Hush! You’re so loud. Calm down, will ya?
We forget one very important thing.
We are human. And that means we embody the good AND the bad. We are made up of the positive and the negative. These make us who we are. We can’t be just one or the other. It’s never just the hero and the villain.
We are both the hero and the villain.
We are both strong and weak.
We are both brave and scared.
And to grow as a person and to be ourselves, we have to learn to be okay with that.
Being ourselves is not just accepting the quirky parts of ourselves that society deems as weird. Being ourselves is accepting all that we are — parts that we love about ourselves, parts that we hate about ourselves, and parts that we think society isn’t able to accept.
We’ve created a societal construct for ourselves that has become extreme and oversensitive. At the same time, there’s been a rise in people teaching others how to be themselves and how to live their lives. But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula. We’re all different. We each process these things differently depending on our life situations and our personalities.
And to be ourselves, that’s something we have to unlearn and rediscover on our own. It will and forever be part of our life’s journey. It isn’t as easy or simple as saying the line. At the same time, it could also be that easy for some of us. We just need to stop complicating things for ourselves and learn to tame our egos. We need to learn to filter out the noise and stop caring about every single thing anyone says. Just the ones that matter.
We also have to unlearn what we were taught in childhood, and relearn parts of ourselves that were suppressed and how we can manage the weaker or ‘bad’ side of ourselves. To learn to accept our weaknesses in our character and talents. It’s only through acceptance are we able to work through our weaknesses and grow from there.
No one’s perfect. We are all flawed beings. And life is about growing. Not about careers, numbers, statistics, status or money. It’s about being the best person you can be and leaving imprints of different sizes in the world. One may feel insignificant but no one truly is.
And when someone is truly being themselves, are you able to accept them for who they are in that moment in whatever situation you’re in? I think we should all ask ourselves that question. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. But we have to decide if we should choose to push or brush the negative away or learn to deal with it head-on.
Instead of saying ‘don’t do this’ or ‘you’re being this’ or ‘stop being this way’, instead of being accusatory, why not dig deeper? There’s always something more going on behind the negative parts of ourselves. How did we develop this part of ourselves? What was the root of these internal issues? How do I talk to my inner child? How do I deal with this so that I can move on and evolve?
I think we have to stop flippantly using this phrase without truly understanding what it means. We always tell others to be themselves, but when they truly are, how many of us are willing to accept it without condemning or judging them?
And when we finally understand the heart of this expression, I think that’s when the world will finally and truly start to change from its societal core.
Then we’ll finally see our humanity flourish in unimaginable ways.
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This post was previously published on medium.com.
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