The “Be Yourself” Contention

No one sees us the way we see ourselves.

Like many people, I have given and likewise have been given, over and over again, the advice: “Be Yourself”.

Pondering about it now, I realized the advice was, in some way or another, unwise and ridiculous, to say the least, terrible!

Now, before you furrow your eyebrows in rage for that comment, hear me out on this, first: because if I were to be “myself,” I would never overcome my inability as an introvert to confront uncomfortable situations such as speaking in public or in front of large groups (which I occasionally do at work as an executive and at church as minister of service) or, most importantly, never would have come up with this beautiful blog site which by the way expresses and represents  thinking and ideologies that are still considered unconventional or “out-of-the-box” to many—a manifestation of sheer boldness to trample upon “untrodden grounds”, literally quite the opposite from the makings of a “shy” person.

Going back to the subject of “being yourself”, I understand that we are currently living in the “Age of Authenticity, where “be yourself” is the defining advice in life, love and career. Authenticity is defined as erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world. Simply put: “the choice to let our true selves be seen.” 

But, would you agree if I say that being authentic does not have to mean being a slave to your inner life; acting on every impulse, sharing every feeling you have, or not caring what impact you have on others? 

In light of that, there is, to my opinion, a kind of authenticity toward which we could all strive—the kind of authenticity that entails choosing to be the you that you envision being. Of course that doesn’t mean we should try to be someone else. But if we never consciously choose who we want to be, to what “self” will we be “true”?

These are the big questions we should be asking ourselves then: Do we have the idea what we mean when we talk about finding our “true self.”? So what are we talking about when we talk about being “yourself”? Because the “self” is a highly complex array of one’s innate perspectives and responses combined with a host of one’s acquired beliefs, values, and actions.

So what does it mean to be “true to yourself”? To what “self” would you like to be “true”? If you have a biological tendency to be shy, but you want to make a difference in the world and in order to do so, you need to effectively make presentations to large audiences, do you want to be “true” to A) your biological tendency to be shy, or to B) the difference you want to make in the world? Which “self” is your “authentic self”? If you choose option A, does that mean it is “inauthentic” for you to become an incredibly good public speaker? Well, that was just an analogy.

Here’s where the difference lies, we tend to believe that we have fixed, concrete personalities or characteristics. “I am shy” or “I am outgoing” become descriptions of what we come to think are essential elements of who we are—our “true self” or “authentic self.” But, I strongly believe, that there is NO “fixed essence” of who we must be, because if that’s the case, then we are putting limits to our personal growth!

Another thing is that, many believe that being “yourself” means being true to that fictional, “fixed self,” and I stand contrary to that. Because the “self” is not immutable, is not “fixed, and is up to each of us to create, and choosing who to be is a deeply authentic way to be.

So “be yourself,” but choose wisely the self you want to be 🙂

58 thoughts on “The “Be Yourself” Contention

    1. Thank you for dropping by and for leaving a wonderful comment. Yes, I’ll try to build on the subject probably on the coming posts.
      Your suggestion is well-noted 🙂 Have a nice day!

      Like

  1. It’s always a breath of air to pass by your brainchild here. It’s definitely a Thought Avenue, challenging the normal way people think about things… The statement that resonate most with me here is “choosing to be the you that you envision being” because I try to do this everyday.

    I’m glad to be part of the world who follows your writings, Andrei. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Liz! Glad to hear from you again ☺. I’m happy to know that you are striving to be the person you dream yourself being. It is undeniably noticeable how your blog has grown beautifully mature and has become a place of refuge and comfort for every warrior who faces their daily battles. It is an encouraging, invigorating and motivating place. Your blog is your representation – how you think and act as a person.
      I’m happy and grateful to have you in this very supportive community too. All the best to your blog, kapatid!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, thanks for that. I try to visit your blog as much as I can. You have so much wisdom. I also admire how much your blog has developed from the layout, categories, widgets. Everything is just getting better and better. I love it.

        P.S. I was legit surprised that you can speak in Filipino, and it was great. I think I assumed you were Malaysian or Taiwanese, I don’t know why. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved…. this one. Particularly those few lines in bold, right there at the end. After reading this blog, a general conclusion popped up, that this person is not less than a philosopher. You blog deserves many many more followers… simply superb, ya!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I’d be happy to be flooded with thousand more followers! Well, who wouldn’t?! I’d be fooling both of us if I tell you I don’t want that! Haha. But, I’d still be as happy with just a few, so long as I’m achieving my blog’s goal to inspire, provoke and motivate others.
      Most of the ideas I know and write about are all basics of life, as you are learning from my perspective so am I from the perspective of your poems. Sometimes we just learn those ideologies much easier, even find them delightable, when they’re written by someone else other than ourselves, haha.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Question, since you speak on the ‘ age of authenticity’ do you think that this whole ‘ being yourself’ is just a trend?I sometimes think that people now a days (especially the younger crowd) have outlandish behavior and personalities like it seems to be a bit rehearsed, like some of those people try so hard to be unique but end up just being apart of a trend. just want to see what you think… this is a great topic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is “being yourself” just a trend? Interesting question you got there 
      Taking into consideration what is meant by “age of authenticity” as — living in a world (age) where, one way or another, the truth will emerge. It has somewhat become an established notion that a certain person must find his own place in this world and define himself — that is, become what he WANTS to be. Now, is this “authenticity” thing becoming a trend? Considering the real and deeper sense of the phrase “finding yourself” or “being yourself” categorically puts the issue outside the limits of branding (or “trend”, if you will). For me, a person finds his true “being” or strives to become his “authentic self” FOR himself alone and not in consideration of others, hence, whether it follows a trend or not, will not be the issue.
      Considering your observation about how the youth acts nowadays, now, that’s trend (fashion, behavioral and social trends). I’ve noticed that too. But if we’ll just view “finding your true self” as part of the trend, somewhere along the way it certainly will depreciate the real meaning and purpose of it.
      Quoting from my post: Authenticity is “the choice to let our true selves be seen”. If a certain person is becoming his true self by following the trend (and he knows from deep within that it is his true self) then that makes it who he is 

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s so very true I definitely agree, It’s good to think of it that way, I guess what I see sometimes are people claiming something they truly are not.However, it’s VERY true ! Someone can follow a trend and truly find themselves.
        It gives me a whole new outlook on that topic, I always believe in finding yourself and when you get to that moment where you feel the need to, it’s beautiful!
        But, what are your views on those who follow a trend but deep down know it’s not them? Would their authenticity be questioned then?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. To quote from my post again, “the ‘self’ is not immutable, it is not ‘fixed’…thereby, choosing what self to be (in that process alone) is deeply an AUTHENTIC way to be.”
          I believe that we get to chose what we want to be and that we think is beneficial to us at a certain time and can come out authentic.
          For me, nobody else can question your authenticity besides your own self, because you are the only one who really know if your truly being you or you’re just going with the flow :)🙂
          (Sorry I misplaced my reply somewhere else 🙂 )

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrei, a very well written article, and it’s true I agree. Be yourself .. which self? The real self or the improved person we wish to become. Thank you for putting it in perspective. Sometimes we don’t stop to think what the meanings are behind them and take them as literal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Sobia! Yes. When it comes to finding our true self, for most, we always are befaced by this challenge. It’s not just deciding at a certain point in life and simply say “I need to be ME” without giving careful thought of who that ME you really want to be.
      Your choices will always be simple ones yet you need to chose wisely for the choice you make will truly define the outcome of your life.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the heartwarming comment, Pranitha! I was thinking about this idea for a long time now. “Being yourself” or finding the “thing” that really makes you, you, has always gotten me facing a wall (metaphorically speaking) with words written on it: who you really want to be?
    Yeah. A lot of thought have been put into this post and I’m glad you do concur with the ideas 🙂 Thank you ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This is another one of your posts that has a lot of thought put into it, Andrei!
    We all have some factors that will remain a constant but the rest of what we are keeps learning, keeps picking up another lesson from an experience or another person. I could so relate to the ‘shy’ and ‘introvert’ bit and I understand it takes a lot to come out of your shell and be what you aim to be and even then without losing out on who you really are.
    A very insightful post, I must confess, a thought that has never crossed my mind. Thank you, Andrei!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Exactly the point! 🙂 We must all strive to develop our own selves. Thank you for sharing the YouTube link, it truly relates with my post in a way that (given our contemporary conventions) we should be all the more focused on the growth mindset rather than the fixed mindset; otherwise we’ll get stuck towards achieving progress.
      Glad to hear from your Awesomeness! 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Nina! Very well-said! 👍
    I definitely agree that we all evolve in many aspects of our self as time passes. I like what you’ve said that our values and ideals mustn’t be jeopardized along the way. They must become our guiding principles thru our efforts to improve ourselves. Awesome points you got here too 😊
    Pleasure to have you again here 😃

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post Andrei! You’ve made such very good points on this post. I agree with you that the “self” is not fixed. We can be this person today, but days or months or years from now we could be different…We are constantly being influenced by our environment and we also continue learning so we always evolve. I guess being yourself to me means striving to be the person that you want to be without sacrificing your own values and ideals.

    Liked by 3 people

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