The Power of Being Yourself
Have you ever felt discouraged, tired, and run-down when trying to produce positive change in your life? You might be overlooking the single, most important thing that you need to have the courage and energy to accomplish the changes you want. It’s called the power to be yourself.
This power is something that we are all born with. The problem is that we are encouraged from a very early age to snuff this power out as quickly as possible. Why? So we can fit in with the larger, uniform group called society.
These attempts at uniformity come at a very high cost to the individual. The result is that we each become very insecure and confused about who we are. We learn to be afraid to take risks. We come to believe that it’s safer to blend in with the crowd.
Do you remember being in school and having an intense need to dress like everyone else, as though your very survival depended on it? Why were you not encouraged to dress creatively in a way that expressed your own uniqueness? Why did it matter?
The message to wear the same clothes as everyone else, to conform to the same “popular” styles, is an insidious subliminal that says “Be like everyone else, if you want to be accepted by the group.”
If you don’t fit in, you risk rejection at best, or punishment at worst. You might have to leave the tribe and be on your own. This taps into a deeply primitive survival fear, and young people have learned to be expert intimidators at enforcing this belief among themselves.
The unfortunate thing is that this fear lingers into adulthood and ultimately becomes a permanent way of life, if you don’t do something to end it.
Why is Fitting-In a Problem?
The only way that creative individuals, such as we humans are, can comply with these group demands is by systematically shutting down whole parts of ourselves. This often results in shutting down exactly what makes you different and unique as a human being.
So why is this a problem? After all, isn’t the approval that one gets by shutting down and being a compliant person well worth the sacrifice? It might give you a temporary emotional boost related to a false sense of achievement, but at what cost?
The cost is high indeed. Fitting in comes at the cost of denying your very soul. It comes at the cost of turning against yourself. You have to judge whole parts of yourself as being worthless, bad, or unworthy of the approval of others. You have to see those parts of yourself as being a failure.
The other issue with conformity and suppression is that there may be entire parts of your character and talents that go completely undeveloped. After all, why develop something that you have decided is bad or unacceptable, simply because it is different? Better to bury it and try to forget it exists.
In a moment, we’ll talk about the joy that happens when you unbury it. But first, let’s discuss an additional issue that social compliance and repression produce.
Distraction and Ongoing Procrastination
This forced rejection of whole parts of yourself results in a deep, personal pain that you will not want to be reminded of. Thus ensues a compulsive need for ongoing distractions. Anything to take you away from feeling those parts of yourself that cry out for self-expression!
The other side of this unhappy coin is that without your whole self being available to you, you lose a great deal of self-confidence. You somehow feel inherently weak as a person and therefore lose trust in your ability to follow through.
This gives rise to an ongoing need to procrastinate. This is a condition where you wait to feel ready to do something different or expressive of your deeper self.
Of course that feeling of being ready never actually comes. It can’t. As long as you remain unwilling to release yourself from this self-imposed prison of conformity, as long as fitting in with others is your standard, you will remain at odds with the creative parts of yourself that you may need the most in order to express at your highest level.
You can therefore find yourself paralyzed and unable to change. You can find yourself unable to go forward and not knowing why.
You may live like a heroin addict, who will sacrifice your best life for the deadly drug of approval. Without approval, you fear that you can’t exist. You fear that you will be ejected from the tribe.
The Secret that Nobody Mentions
Here’s the great secret in this entire drama of self-rejection which claims that fitting in is what everyone craves.
It’s not. And I can prove it.
How many leaders have you known or heard about who attract people like bees to honey? How about all of them? Isn’t attracting people the very definition of a leader? If it was true that being different was such a liability, then such leaders who refuse to follow the herd would be immediately ousted from the group.
Instead they are admired. They are followed. They are looked up to in amazement!
Why is this? It’s because these people have done something that the rest of humanity is dying to do. These leaders have chosen to be themselves. Fitting in be damned!
Yes, they have probably been afraid at some point. But more than being afraid, they are passionate to express. They simply can’t live in a self-imposed prison. They are unwilling to be half-alive in order to please others.
So people look at them with awe and feel inspired. Such leaders may remind us of what we have individually sacrificed, but they also show us that we can reclaim ourselves.
The Natural Charisma of Being Yourself
Sometimes people look at leaders as special, charismatic individuals who were just born that way.
Charisma is not a gift, bestowed upon a lucky few. It is actually the result of refusing to engage in the repression of oneself. It’s what happens when you free yourself.
When we are willing to be ourselves, our light begins to shine. When we don’t suppress our natural selves, we turn instead to the love and joy of who we are. This light of love and joy is extremely magnetic and highly attractive. It serves as a reminder to everyone of how we each want to be.
Being Yourself Solves a Host of Problems!
The willingness to be yourself solves a host of previously intractable problems. Here are some ways that your life will dramatically improve when you choose to live wholly as yourself:
- Self-confidence – Your self-confidence will soar when you stop worrying about what others may think of you.
- Personal Empowerment – Once you choose to stop living only halfway and embrace every part of yourself with love, you suddenly find that all of your energy is available again. You begin to feel truly empowered.
- Clarity – When you lift the repression and free yourself from your internal prison, you discover that you have all of your faculties available to you again. The synergy of your whole self affords you a level of clarity that was previously unavailable.
- Creativity – Do you ever feel stumped about coming up with answers or new ideas? Being yourself allows for an amazing flow of creative new thought. You will be free to come up with answers and ideas that you previously would not allow yourself to think.
- Accelerated, Positive Change – One of the things that makes change difficult is when you have to keep certain parts of your authentic self under wraps. Embrace all of you, and there will be nothing left to hold you back.
- Improved Relationships – Authentic self-expression lets people know who you really are. This way you avoid relationship mistakes and misunderstandings. You will be able to attract people who are a good match for you, because you won’t be pretending to be someone you’re not.
- Freedom and Joy – The joy of being yourself is second to none. This is the ultimate freedom!
What Should I Do Now?
If these ideas inspire you, then take some time to look within and review your life overall. Where in your life did you compromise for the sake of other’s approval? Why did you stop loving yourself as you are?
Begin a process of reclaiming those parts of yourself that you have been denying for years. Welcome them with open arms, and then forgive yourself for having imprisoned what might be the best parts of you for the sake of other people’s opinions.
It’s never too late to change. It is merely a decision. In this case, it’s a decision to be whole again and to vow to love every part of you, no matter what others may think.
And the final step is to gently begin giving expression to those formerly unwanted parts of self. Let those parts of you live again. Let them see the sun! Protect and love all of you. Vow to be your own best friend.
Leave me a comment and share your thoughts on this topic. Are there parts of yourself that have been repressed for years, for the sake of others? How do you think it would feel to be totally free to be you?