“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde.
“I’d rather be a first rate version of myself than a second rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland.
We hear a lot about authenticity. It’s the new buzz word.
“To thine ownself be true,” Shakespeare said.
Who Is the Real ‘You’?
But what does it really mean to be you? What if you’re not sure who ‘you’ actually are?
So often, we grow up to become a version of ourselves that our parents and other people expect us to be.
“Be a good girl”
“Nice girls don’t do that”
“Don’t be a show off”
“Who does she think she is?”
Maybe we show a different persona depending on who we are with.
But which one is the real you? Any of them?
It’s confusing. And exhausting.
Which ‘mask’ to wear today?
No wonder so many of us feel like we don’t know who we are anymore.
We all wear a lot of different hats.
Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. Aunt. Friend. Colleague. Business Owner. The list goes on.
Permission to be Who We Are
What if we gave ourselves permission to simply be who we really are? What if we showed the same ‘face’ to everybody?
What if we stood up to be counted?
What if we said: “This is me. This is what I stand for. Take it or leave it.”
Not just with our words and deeds. But with who we are being.
‘Showing up’ fully as ourselves. Without apology.
Worrying about who we might upset. Who might not approve of the ‘real’, uncensored us. Who we might offend.
It’s true. It is a risk. Being ‘you’ might upset or offend some people. Especially if they are used to a watered down version.
They may not like it. They may tell you so in no uncertain terms. (Don’t worry, that’s about them and their insecurities, not you!)
Such people may decide you’re no longer their cup of tea.
The Real Deal or the Fake Version?
But do you want people in your life who prefer a ‘fake’ version of you?
Or do you want those who will love and accept you for who you really are?
When you are being your true self you will attract the people who resonate with the ‘real’ you. They are your ‘tribe’.
You will repel the ones who don’t. And that’s okay.
Who do you want to attract?
Getting in Touch with Your True Self
So, how do you get to the ‘real’ you?
Here are some pointers:
- Identify your core values. What values and qualities are most important to you and why? Values are those intangible things you place the most importance on that shape who you are. Some examples of mine include: Honesty. Integrity. Freedom. Nature. Music. Beauty. Humour.
- Narrow it down to your Top Five. Start by brainstorming a list of everything you value. Then identify your Top Five – the ones that are non-negotiable and most important in this phase of your life.
- Score your Top Five values out of 10. Ask yourself how much you are currently really living them on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being not at all, 10 completely)?
Look at your scores. What surprises you about them?
- Identify any actions you want to take. For any values that scored low, look at the reasons why. Consider whether any of those values are being compromised. For example, are any of your values being repeatedly trampled on by somebody in your life? What are you tolerating? And what is that compromise costing you?
- Look at how you can you live your values more fully right now. Often we think we can’t have more of what we crave until we achieve a certain goal – more money, bigger house, better job, etc.
That’s simply not true.
For example, if adventure is a core value, you may think you can only fulfil it by going on that expensive African safari holiday you dream of. While that can definitely be a goal to work towards, there is nothing to stop you planning ‘mini’ adventures in your life whereever you are right now.
- Write down a list of 10 ways you can more fully express yourself and your values in the next month.
Finding Your Voice; Taking a Stand
When you have a clear understanding of your inherent nature, of what makes you who you are, you understand what’s most important. What really matters to you.
From there it becomes easier to find your voice.
To decide what you stand for and how you want to communicate and live that.
It becomes easier to set and uphold clear boundaries.
To say No when something isn’t right for you. And feel good about it instead of feeling guilty.
The most important job you will ever have is showing up fully in your own life as YOU. That is enough. You are enough.
What does ‘giving yourself permission to be you’ mean for you? I’d love to hear in the comments below.