You’ve probably been told to just “be yourself” or that “people should accept you for who you are.”
If you believe either of those statements, I have bad news for you.
That’s terrible advice.
Yes, you need to be true to yourself. You need to understand who you are, and you shouldn’t put on an act to conform with society just for the heck of it.
But don’t just be yourself.
Be the best version of yourself.
Find ways to grow. Look for things that make you uncomfortable. Identify the things that make you feel alive, and do more of that.
If you look back a year for now, and you’re the exact same person you were at this moment, you’ve failed.
Life is about growth. It’s the journey towards being the best you can be.
Pay attention to how people respond to you.
If one person is rude, fine. But if it starts to be a pattern, maybe it says something about how you come across.
Don’t listen to people who tell you that you should just accept your faults, or that you can’t work on your weaknesses.
Those are excuses and lies that will hold you back.
If I decided to “be myself,” I would have no friends and everyone I met would think I’m a self-centered jerk.
From birth through most of college, my natural inclination was to keep to myself. When I went to parties, or was in the classroom, I went out of my way to avoid conversations.
I thought it was fine. I used to tell myself that I was just an introvert.
But I’ve grown a lot since then.
I’m still an introvert – I love spending time alone with a book, or getting lost in a workout.
But now I go out of my way to make connections with others. I find time to reach out to old friends to see how things are going.
Because that’s what makes life rich for me. I’ve found great joy in meeting new people and learning from their unique life experiences.
But none of this is natural. You could say that I’m not being myself.
And that’s ok.
Some of the most rewarding work we can do in life isn’t natural.
Going out of your way to help others isn’t natural.
Pushing yourself physically until you almost throw up isn’t natural.
Looking for the best in strangers isn’t natural.