Just be yourself…
It’s probably one of the worst well-intended pieces of advice out there.
For me personally, it seemed easy enough to be myself when I was a kid, but things changed drastically by the time I got to high school.
I felt ‘being myself’ just wasn’t good enough anymore. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, so how could I expect others to like what they saw when they were around me?
It’s easy to say ‘just be yourself’ when you’re already surrounded by the people who love you for who you are. However, the pressure to change is enormous when the very people you want to be loved by the most want nothing to do with you.
There is – of course – truth in the statement that ‘being yourself’ is often the best thing one can do.
It’s no secret that changing who you are to be liked by others might give you some results on the short term, but destroys meaningful relationship in the long term.
If it’s not who you truly are, it’s not sustainable.
However, just because it’s true, doesn’t mean it’s helpful. ‘Just be yourself’ implies it’s an easy feat to be yourself, but for many young people it isn’t.
Although this advice is given with the best intentions, it undermines the struggle that person is going through. Therefore, it is per definition unhelpful.
Better advice would be …
‘Be your best self’.
Discover what makes you unique, find out what you’re passionate about, double down on the things you have a natural talent for.
Embrace the things that make you different, but at the same time do whatever you can to change the things that make you feel unhappy about yourself.
Take back control and grow yourself into a better human being: be kind and forgiving towards others, and kind and forgiving towards yourself.
It’ll help you find the confidence to express yourself, your true self.
‘Just be yourself’ is not helpful.
‘Be your best self’ invites a person to take their destiny into their own hands and make a change for the better.
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