At some point in your life, you have noticed yourself breathing, eating, moving, talking and busy with work or play. The first awareness of yourself may start as early as 2 years of age but angst over finding out who the person occupying your body really is will continue for a lifetime. How to be yourself is a challenging endeavor. In the movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s companions learned that the traits they wanted to have to feel authentic and complete were already inside them waiting for the right circumstances to be revealed. Dorothy herself discovered that there is really – no place like home. How to be yourself is akin to these findings: your authentic self is always there with you waiting its turn and being authentic feels like being at home with yourself.
Coming to life with the courage to address a need to be yourself is a timeless adventure. Each of us is writing our own story as we go through life. Just as Lewis and Clark set sail for unknown lands, how to be yourself is bound to be a journey enshrined with mysteries, filled with mishaps and concluding with a meticulous map of who we are. A trip into the unknown and ever-changing world of our authentic selves can be a daunting quest. What is more arresting is that it is not likely to be accomplished in just one expedition.
Time and circumstances change us. Enough has been discussed and written about the consequences of sacrificing what we truly want to do what is truly necessary during a portion of our lives. Looking backward across the good and bad times may leave sections like an mismatched quilt that somehow need to be aligned and stitched together to determine a life that is as authentic as possible. Everything even good can be done to excess. Trying to be authentic every given minute would be excruciating to attempt and hurtful to receive by those around us. One only needs to recall Jim Carey in Liar, Liar to realize that too much authenticity can be both harmful and hilarious.
How to be yourself requires bridging the gap between life circumstances and how we address them using the best idea of what would be most valuable to us. The first aspect is having self-awareness and knowing your strengths and shortcomings and how each create the real you. With better self-awareness comes an improved coping skill to handle life circumstances without losing your identity. Acting with the best intent during challenges helps bring out your values and fueling your authenticity. How to be yourself through reflection and value based decision-making is also about minimizing stilted assumptions and ideas about the perfect you. Looking at the journey through life, hills and valleys both, and defining them less as failures and more as life experiences creates more of the authentic you.
How to be yourself is coming to life with a view that your authentic self is less a rigid, once-built structure and more like a container of Legos that is fit together, broke apart and build anew into surprising satisfying ways.