Just be yourself – words we’ve heard millions of times.
Hellooooo… But how?
It’s not like anyone actually teaches us how, is it?!
We spend our youth paying homage to the high school hierarchy; fit in, or get the crap beaten out of you.
And after that it’s freak out about the future time; not a bloody clue – let’s just look what everyone else is doing, eh.
Oooh, then it’s onto the proverbial box ticking: career, relationship, marriage, babies, mortgages – and if we’re not there yet*, we don’t half go hard on ourselves with the shitty end of the stick, do we?
*before our friends / before 30 / when our families expect us to / when think we really should have our shit together.
It becomes a huge rat race, a race to someone else’s finish. The more we push towards it, the more disconnected we feel from who we really are – and we wonder why we’re acting a little bat shit cray cray.
I 100% believe that this is what makes us feel lost, confused and insecure as well as fueling the ‘oh so friendly’ fire of anxiety and depression. Especially seeing as we try to look like we’ve all got our shit together.
According to Martin Seligman, an American Psychologist dude, major depression is seen in 10 times more in people born after 1945 than in those born before. Seeing as we don’t tend to evolve THAT quickly as a species, maybe, just maybe, the root cause of most depression isn’t just a chemical imbalance?
And, to highlight that point a wickle bit more, the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) reports that the number of people diagnosed with depression has increased by 450% since 1987.
Could it be that simply pursuing someone else’s path in the modern age is actually making us unhappy?
I would like to share some insights from my own experience with depression – I had zero self confidence growing up, ‘shoulding’ my way into a life that was at least two sizes too small, feeling utterly lost, anxious and terribly unhappy. I’ve also included heaps of awesome blogs and content by other people which I think you will enjoy.
I know it’s a cliché but I learnt that it took truly going inside to find joy, inner peace, self-confidence, have better relationships and lead a life you really do love.
Looking outside didn’t work, well, not for me anyway.
Knowing and being yourself lesson no1:
People like you more.
I know this totes sounds counter intuitive – getting people to like you, but the fact is, you’re not getting them to do anything. You don’t have to work at it. Woohoo!
If you think about how flowers just attract bees without ever really trying; none of this getting fake petals or slagging off the snowdrops – they just grow and do their thing. The point I’m trying to make here is that by being you, in all your shiny awesome youness will attract your tribe – you don’t have to be anything other than who you are and the right people will find you.
By dropping the mask you will save yourself some precious energy and you will be more present, which means being a much better friend.
By the way, this whole getting to know yourself helps in the finding your soul mate department too.
Being yourself = all round relationship upgrades.
Knowing and being yourself lesson no2:
You like you more.
I think we can all agree that the feeling of being ‘not enough’ in any situation sucks big hairy donkey dick. When you start knowing yourself and hanging around more with people who really value you, something awesome happens. You start to notice your strengths instead of where you don’t quite cut it. Suddenly you appreciate yourself a heck of a lot more and your self-worth goes up a notch or two! Aaaand when you know what you’re good at and you feel good about yourself, you’re not actually that bothered about what you’re not so good at any more.
The negative self-talk eventually pipes down and you realize that comparison can fuck right off, to put it mildly.
Being yourself = hello self-confidence!
Knowing and being yourself lesson no3:
Fewer fucks given.
When you knock the old incessant mind chatter and comparisonitis on the head, something utterly awesome happens – you’ll find yourself with a whole heap of clarity and headspace.
Shutting the inner headcunt up makes way for the tiny voice deep inside us to step up and seem a little louder than before – you know, the one with the answers, the one that just knows what to do. Yep that’s right, you’ll step out of your head for long enough to get back in touch with your intuition, your gut feeling, the connection to you really are.
Suddenly the word should becomes a word you laugh at. There’s a freedom in that.
Being yourself = a sense of inner peace, ommmmmmm.
Knowing and being yourself lesson no4:
You know who is driving the bus.
Feelings can be fucking scary man, it’s no wonder we end up blotting some of them out – particularly the ‘bad’ ones. But carry on for long enough and you end up not feeling anything. Yep, that’s right, you numb out completely until you don’t really feel anything any more.
You have no enjoyment in things, you can’t be bothered and everything seems like such a huge effort. You might even start acting like a dick and blowing up about all sorts on inane crap.
But this is what happens when you live your life for other people. Something’s got to give, eventually. If you open up and learn to feel the full range of emotions, life becomes better, fuller, and more dynamic. You can’t have the good without the bad. To feel pure joy, you have to let yourself feel sadness – cutting one off completely will only mute the other.
Once you become aware of your emotions, you can then be a better person, partner and parent – you know what sets you off, you can drive the bus instead of your emotions.
Being yourself = Living the fullest of lives.
Knowing and being yourself lesson no5:
Superhero life skills.
It takes a heap of courage to step out, drop the mask and be vulnerable. It’s like being naked all of a sudden – it doesn’t half tickle your shame switch. It’s totally no wonder why a lot of people opt for the easier option of ‘not going there’ but as Anais Nin once wrote:
Which I read as: you’ll only come out of your shell when you’re utterly exhausted from your own bullshit.
But once you dare to do it, you feel a sense of power – and not the Donald Trump kinda ‘power’, it’s a real life force energy coming from within. It’s like someone turned the volume up on life – you really will shine like a fucking star.
Just like she says:
In a way, you’ll become a leader, giving others permission to do the same – to take control of their lives and live life to the full, their version of full.
Now not everyone will like this and it can hurt when old friends ghost you but you’ll start to care less, you’ll be happier in your own company, you’ll meet your own tribe, you’ll have more strength to say no to what isn’t right for you and you’ll be able to handle the toxic energy vampires in your life.
You won’t fear new experiences and you’ll be able to see your past in a new light. But I think the best thing about it all is developing what I call “bouncebackability” – true resilience, because life will still throw shit at you, you’ll still have wanky days – you just wont fight them, you’ll let them flow, knowing you have the strength to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on all shiny and awesome and shit.
Being yourself = Realising just how fucking strong you are.
Now I know sometimes people don’t want to go there – what if you find out you’re a massive knob? Maybe you’ll really see that you’re not really that special?
All of us find things we don’t like at first and I’d be lying to you if I said that wasn’t a kick in the teeth. Nobody smiles at the thought of being jealous, angry and competitive but as the author of this post says “when you can remain standing when you feel your weakest, then you are truly stronger than you think.”