• Tahlia Asinate

Why You Shouldn't 'Just Be Yourself'

It's likely that at some point in life, you’ve received the advice to just be yourself. And while this is usually shared by well-meaning loved ones, at times, it can confuse more than it helps.

This was certainly the case in my early twenties when I heard this daily. At the time, I was trying to understand who I was while also trying to figure out my place in the world. This was confusing, to say the least, as life as I knew it had changed, and I didn’t know what being myself entailed.

However, this experience led to me realising that I’d been asking myself the wrong question. Where, instead of contemplating who I was, I should have been asking, who do I want to become?

Until that point, I believed we were born a specific person with predetermined characteristics. Yet, I came to realise that we are ever-changing, where with new insights and life experiences, we adjust and grow. Because, the fact is, you don’t have to stagnate and stay the same; you can change, evolve and become whoever you want.

Yet, doing so requires a mindset shift where instead of focusing on who you are, you begin defining who you want to be. While it may not seem like much, the difference lies in your self-perception. Because, instead of viewing yourself as lost, fixed and unchangeable, you realise you can evolve to become whoever you desire.

Becoming is better than being. — Carol Dweck

Now, once you’ve clarified who your ideal self is, you need to then identify the actions, habits and thoughts they would take part in. Where you reverse engineer your goal by understanding the steps required to achieve it — and set about implementing those steps accordingly.

Initially, these changes may feel foreign; you might have to change your environment, the things you do and the people you surround yourself with. However, these are necessary adjustments to become your desired self and are simply part of your metamorphosis.

What is imperative is staying consistent in those actions and implementing them until they become habitual. Because by doing so, you bridge the gap between your current and desired self where those actions become second nature. At which point, being yourself is the right course of action.

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. - James Clear

At the end of the day, the authentic you want to evolve, change and grow. It’s part of who you are and why you’re here. Remember, who you are right now isn’t final it’s simply the result of your previous decisions and who you’ve taught yourself to be.

Therefore, if you find your actions and thoughts haven’t produced the results you want, don’t limit yourself by staying the same. Instead, define who you want to be, identify the actions necessary to achieve that and take action until you bridge the gap between your current and desired self.

Now, I want to hear from you! What do you think of the advice to 'just be yourself'? Let me know in the comments below.