When trying to discover how to be yourself, the biggest trick is figuring out who that self is — but at the end of the day, who else are you going to be? Polite society and pop culture mandate generic behaviors and images. This can make us lose sight of the fact that we are all individuals, uniquely carved from generations of genetic material and influence. If you are feeling lost in the fray or are having a bit of an identity crisis, keep reading for ideas to help you get back to your beautiful self.
Live from your gut
We are all born with instinct. Who we are motivates the choices we make and the behaviors we choose. A simple example of this is wardrobe choice. Are you wearing a lot of black and beige because you’ve seen too many pictures of Angelina Jolie? Is your inner rock star — who wants to be bathed in all colors of the rainbow — screaming each time you reach for that black top? This same principle applies to decisions. Step off the merry-go-round for a second and listen to your instinct. It’s there for a reason. Soliciting the advice and feedback of others is OK, but remember to apply only the outside input that jives with what your gut says.
Have convictions and stand by them
This isn’t about forming unwavering opinions and being closed-minded. Sometimes, we form opinions without all the necessary information, and we see things differently as time goes on. Each one of us, however, has innate principles that make sense to us. Stand up for those and stick by them. They are part of what makes you who you are. Remember the old saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
Avoid dual personalities
There’s having a filter, which is socially appropriate, and then there is catering to whoever is standing in front of you for the sake of being agreeable. For example, there is a difference between not telling an offensive joke in front of your grandmother (the filter approach), and nodding and smiling at everything your boss says even though you don’t agree with a single word (the catering approach). This is a delicate balance, and most don’t have it mastered. Diplomacy is how we manage to be non-confrontational while still saying what’s on our minds.
Develop your own interests
Expose yourself to everything, and see what sticks. Read lots of books and magazines to get ideas. Try everything (except illegal/harmful activities) at least once. This is how we determine what our skills are. Once you’ve figured that out, honing those skills is just you being you, but better.
Make time for hobbies
Being creative is a therapeutic process that can be best described through experience. We all have gifts. What are yours? Are you a brilliant knitter? Can you design quilts that make a Monet look like a kindergarten project? Can you craft jewelry that makes the wearer feel like a Greek goddess? Sadly, fear of rejection can stunt our artistic and creative endeavors. Be brave and be you. The people who were meant to enjoy your talents will, and the ones who won’t will enjoy someone else’s talents. This makes the creative world go round.