How many times have you been told to just be yourself? That is pretty much standard issue advice from parents or best friends to people going on a job interview or a first date.
It’s great advice if you are well-groomed, well-read, well-mannered, and witty. If you are timid, ill-tempered, unkempt, and socially awkward it is the worst advice you could ever receive.
The Good: Freedom to be Who You Are
It is never wise and never worth it to put on a front for anyone.
My wife and I both came to a point in our single again years where we had enough of playing games. We were comfortable enough with who we were that we had no interest in changing for anyone. We summed up our attitudes with one sentence. You can love me or you can hate me, but do it based on who I really am.
At that point, neither of us was interested in putting on a mask to please someone else. Each of us could honestly say this is who I am. If you can love this person, great. If you cannot love this person, that’s great too. Better to find that out early in the process.
That’s Not Who I Married!
What good is it to have someone fall in love with some persona you adopt to attract them? Are you going to keep up that charade through months of dating, months of engagement, and decades of marriage? I’m thinking it might just change your relationship when a few years down the line your spouse finds out you are not the person they married.
Put that shoe on the other foot. How would you feel if the person you married turned out to be someone different from the person you dated? Actually, some of us have been down that road. It is no fun to wake up one day and realize you are not married to who you thought you married.
If you want to thrive as a single and be successful at being yourself, first, know who you are. What do you stand for? Who are you at your very core? Are you introverted, artsy, outgoing, organized, spiritual, a nature lover, a modern urbanite, a cat lover, a dog person? Are you a Christian? The first step in being yourself is to figure out precisely who you are.
The second step is to figure out what you like and dislike about yourself. Then change what needs changing. None of us are perfect. We all have areas where we need to grow. We all have things to learn and put into practice. This should come from a careful self-examination or the advice of a trusted friend. It should not stem from trying to please someone you want to attract.
The Thing is, growth is a process. It will take time. It will take effort. The object is to become the person you really want to be. As long as we are alive, we should be growing, learning, and becoming.
No Matter What
Once you have figured out who you are and started growing into who you want to be, don’t change your core for anybody. It is never worth losing who you are to gain a new love interest. If they do not love who you are, what is the point? Just keep being you. Sooner or later you will find someone who loves you for exactly who you are.
Few things are more attractive than confidence. Having the confidence to be who you are, no matter whose company you are enjoying, is very sexy. Confidence comes from figuring out who you are at your core, becoming the best you you can be, then being that person in all circumstances.
Once you know yourself, grow yourself, and become that person you should be, just be yourself is the very best advice you can receive. But, and this is a huge but, that is contingent on you first becoming the very best you you can be.
The Bad: An Excuse to Remain What You Have Been
Then, there is the flip side of just be yourself. This is the side that says I am what I am and I cannot change. Basically, it is permission to not deal with your problem areas. It is acceptance of the status quo. It means not even trying to change – because that’s just who I am.
We’re going to a really nice restaurant, why are you wearing that old dirty shirt?
Dressing up just isn’t my thing, this is who I am.
How did you forget your mom’s birthday?
Well, I’m forgetful, that’s just who I am.
Why didn’t you even try to be there on time?
I’m always late, that’s just who I am.
Advising you to just be yourself while in that frame of mind is the worst possible advice you could be given. It is permission to procrastinate, underachieve, and never grow into that person you could be.
Instead, someone should lovingly tell you that you need to grow beyond what you are now. Do the work of becoming a better you first, then when you are that better, more attractive you, you can just be yourself.
In conclusion, if people tell you to just be yourself, what you should do depends on the source of that advice. If it comes from someone who is trying to spare your feelings or someone who is not well liked themselves, ignore it. Go find better advice from better sources.
If, however, the advice comes from someone you absolutely trust, believe them. When trusted people keep saying you need to work on something, work on it. Whether it’s bettering your personality, better grooming habits, or whatever loving advice they give you, work on it. Let them help you become the most attractive person you can be.
Just Be Yourself
But, if people you trust keep telling you that you are a good catch and you just need to be yourself, then it is good advice. Believe it. Just be yourself.
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