The Paradox of ‘Be Yourself’
“Be yourself — not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” — Henry David Thoreau
Our society tells you: “Be yourself.”
But what does that mean?
We want to be authentic, even if we don’t know what it is. That’s the paradox of the modern version of ‘be yourself.’ Rather than searching within, people are trying to match what ‘authentic’ means to others.
We’ve turned inner exploration into a guessing game.
Being yourself is not about standing out or being different from others. Being authentic is following your path, not comparing to others. When you try to be ‘different,’ you disconnect from what you want.
When being yourself becomes the new fad, self-development is no longer a meaningful journey. The mandate to become different turns you into anything but authentic.
Authenticity is about staying true to what you believe, not about your image— to be brave to express your genuine feelings and opinions.
“Free yourself from the inauthenticity and disempowerment of your story.” — Steve Maraboli
Being authentic doesn’t mean being static. Your interests change through time, so should your identity. Changing your mind is okay. Don’t get stuck in your own story.
Is not what you are but who you become that matters. You are your choices, as I wrote here. Your identity is not fixed, and it’s not just what inherited. Your personal decisions shape who you are.
When you stick to who you are, your identity becomes a fortress rather than something that sets you free. Nothing last forever, embrace a ‘Maybe mindset.’
Experiment. Free yourself from the paradox of ‘Be Yourself.’