“I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.”
That quote is from actress Emma Stone, and it’s true, although it’s easy to have a comeback response such as “I am myself.”
But are you? It is easy to think we are being ourselves. It takes courage, the ability to know who you are, to go against what others might think or want and having clear boundaries to be ourselves.
As I sit with clients, I hear their struggle to be themselves. Often we have grown up with messages of “think of others first,” “don’t be so selfish,” “don’t feel that way,” “that’s stupid.”
It is very important to think of others, but most of the time not at the cost of yourself.
So what does it mean to be yourself?
- Be Authentic. This is about honoring what is important to you, what your thoughts are and how you feel. Many of us might relate to how we have compromised ourselves to appease others. It sure is easier to go along with something rather than speak our own authentic truth. So being authentic means being brave enough to speak our truth, act our truth and stand up for your truth no matter how scary that is.
- Be Transparent. Show people who you are. If something hurts your feelings, tell them, if you need something from someone, ask them. This might mean being vulnerable with the chance of being rejected. Rejection is better than not being yourself.
- Be Congruent. Make sure your words, your morals and values, goals and actions all match. It is surprising sometimes to really look at how incongruent we can be. Sometimes we will choose what is easy over what is congruent for us.
- Be Current. Make sure we do not leave things undone. This costs us emotionally when we are not congruent. This is extremely important when it comes to relationships. If you start to feel resentment with someone, it means you are not being current with that person.
- Know your edges, values and morals. Values and morals are so important. When people live their values and morals they are much happier.
- Loving boundaries. Being yourself also means being able to say no to what does not work for you. I call it loving boundaries, because we need to set boundaries from a place of kindness. For example, instead of saying “NO, I’m not doing that,” we can reword it with “Gosh, sorry that does not work for me.” We hold the relationship with setting boundaries that way.
- Keep working towards being the best version of yourself. Always grow. Keep being better.
- Self compassion. This is so important. Understand we will not be perfect; we are always working at all of the above.
When I was completing my doctorate program, I had a course on aging where I researched how to live to be 101. Part of this meant interviewing people over the age of 75. One of the themes that kept coming up was the importance of not being afraid to be yourself. Don’t worry about what others think. One comment that really stuck with me was “Always be yourself and you will never have to watch your back or have regrets.”
I hear this often from clients as they age about how important it is to just be yourself.
So go ahead, be beautiful in the world, show up as yourself.
Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at DrZavala.com or [email protected].