self confidence

How To Always Be Yourself

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde

The real you is the person you are when nobody is watching. But when other people enter the picture, things can change. You can change.

How To Not Be Yourself In Three Easy Steps

  1. You see a person or a group of people.
  2. You analyze their personality, preferences, and relationship to you.
  3. You change based on how you wish to be perceived by the person/group.

It’s how a rough-around-the-edges guy becomes prince charming to get a girl. It’s how a shy high schooler with no prior interest in drugs starts doing them to fit in. It’s how a jokester acts serious around serious people so as not to offend anyone or get embarrassed.

It’s why some people like to keep friend groups separate, because they use a different identity with each group.

There are benefits to altering yourself (such as fitting in nearly anywhere), but the consequence is that every time you do it, the real you is hidden, and with enough repetition, you can lose yourself in a pile of masks. It will never feel quite right either, because the real you is the only version that feels completely natural.

I read a story on Reddit about a guy who used a fake Australian accent one day. His convincingness impressed quite a few people and he got a kick out of it. Eleven years later, this American is still believed to be Australian – complete with a fake history he made up – because he never stopped pretending. He said his whole life feels like a lie and he doesn’t know how to get out of it.

How To Always Be Yourself

To be yourself, don’t worry about yourself. It’s only when you analyze how you come across to others and what others are thinking about you that behavior modification seems appealing. When you look at others with yourself in mind, it’s like using them as a mirror – you try to see yourself through their eyes and adjust the image accordingly.

When you’re by yourself, however, there’s nobody around to impress; no one to analyze. It’s just you, and because of that, you don’t focus on yourself, but on what you’re doing. It’s the answer to how to be yourself all the time. Shut down your inner clamoring for approval and focus on being present in the external world. You’ll have a lot more fun.

Four Benefits Of Being Yourself

1. You instantly become a better listener. In the times I’ve not been a good listener, it was because I was thinking about myself or what I wanted to say. In the times I’ve listened well, I was present in the moment and tuned into the conversation, rather than worrying about myself.

2. You will be less manipulative. When you’re trying to adjust your hair in the mirror, you might look at it from different angles, try a few styles, and even tilt the mirror. Similarly, when you try to adjust your image through the eyes of another person, it often results in subtle manipulation to get them to see you in a different way, and people hate being manipulated for obvious reasons. If you’re being yourself, the real you is the person they see, and they’ll subconsciously appreciate your straight-forward identity; of course, people will still misinterpret who you are, but that will happen no matter what you do.

3. Many people will like you more. When you act like yourself compared to managing your image, some people will like you more and some will like you less, and that’s the way it should be. People pleasers are often the ones who aren’t themselves, because they want to be liked by everyone, even though that is impossible with nearly 7 billion unique personalities and value systems. Be yourself and the people who naturally like your personality, will really like you for being genuine, and that’s worth it.

4. You’ll feel more relaxed. Managing an image takes a lot of effort because you have to stifle your natural tendencies, analyze the environment, and fabricate a suitable image. But being yourself takes no effort at all – you react and live from the heart, so to speak. It’s relaxing to know that you don’t have to put on a front because you’re comfortable in your own skin!

Be Yourself Guidelines

  1. Do not aim to please. if you have to aim, you’re not being yourself. Even in situations of courtesy, you can act from your value of being courteous, rather than from wanting to appear courteous – let it come from within.
  2. Focus on being fully present in your external environment (rather than in your own internal world); react and create without over-analyzing.
  3. Do not worry about how others see you, or it will unnaturally alter your behavior and probably make you seem insecure.
  4. Get to know yourself. Take time to reflect on your values and how you really want to live.
  5. Learn to appreciate who you are now – faults and merits – and others will too.
  6. If you wish to change who you are, first develop your focus skill. Then, I recommend staying focused on changing one big area or perhaps two small areas at a time (whatever your willpower will allow, which typically isn’t much).

Do you want to change yourself but feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to begin? If so, or if you want to learn more about what it takes to focus, I recommend reading the articles here. If you can focus, you can change your life. If you can’t focus, you can’t change your life. It is that simple and that important.

More focus articles are coming to Deep Existence. Click here to be informed when they arrive.

Until next time,
Stephen Guise

  • http://relationship-consciousness.webs.com/ Claude Lagang

    The moment I saw the title of this blog, I immediately clicked it. I NEED this. Thank you so much whoever you are. :)

    Love
    Claude
    http://www.beaconorganisationaldevelopment.com

    • http://deepexistence.com Stephen Guise

      Hi Claude,

      You’re welcome! I’m Stephen. I’m glad this connected with you. Cheers! :-)

  • cmcoto

    Hi Stephen,

    Loved your post! The guidelines are fantastic! I specially liked number 3, behavior changes in an instant, and you don´t see the change for yourself, until some time passes.. and sometimes, that is too late.

    Thanks for your post!

    • http://deepexistence.com Stephen Guise

      Hi cmcoto! Thank you.

      Sometimes the behavior comes from mimicking someone else too. I did this as a child with my best friend, even changing my laugh to be more like his. I did it because I didn’t know who I was at the time. We’ve got to know who we are to be ourselves.

      I agree #3 is important – if you can do that, your only remaining option is to be yourself.

  • http://deepexistence.com Stephen Guise

    I have a note to add. Someone asked me something to the effect of “What if you’re a jerk? Then should you be yourself?” He probably meant it as a joke, but here is a real answer…

    If you’re naturally a jerk, that’s ok in a way. There are other “jerks” and people with that type of personality out there who you can get along with and be yourself around.

    There’s a key distinguisher here though – are you a jerk because your personality comes across that way or because you’re malicious? If it’s your personality, then you just need to find people who “get” you and won’t be offended when you don’t mean them to be. People show others they care in strange ways sometimes. Some people will insult or make fun of the people they like the most.

    If you’re just malicious in nature, then you’re probably not interested in personal growth or “being yourself.” Maliciousness is a choice and a reflection of your values. If you’re malicious and you don’t want to be, change yourself so that you can be yourself without hurting other people.

    The world is accepting of nearly any personality, except those that insist on harming others for their own gain. For 99% of us, of course, this isn’t an issue.

  • kulls

    Great tips. People try to please others which results in dissatisfaction. A good listener is everyone’s favorite
    http://www.letsnurture.com

    • http://deepexistence.com Stephen Guise

      That’s very true! Good listeners are well-liked.

  • J.Smith

    Easier said than done….

    http://possiblydepressed.blogspot.com/

    • http://deepexistence.com Stephen Guise

      Like most good things in life, it’s challenging, but possible.

  • Lisa

    Thank you for your post. I have been struggling with this issue and this post seems like good advice to me. I feel fairly confident about the morals and values that I try to represent in my own actions, my main problems currently are when my environment and people that I have known do not seem to be reflecting these morals in their actions like they used to. I find myself avoiding these people but when they are my family and closest friends this has left me more isolated and anti-social which does not reflect my personality or the values that I want for myself and my environment. Do you have any advice about how to deal with either being surrounded by others who don’t reflect these morals in their environment versus becoming more and more isolated? It seems that good advice would be to change my peer group but it has seemed more like that would mean my spouse, all my family, and most of my friends. When I chose these people to have in my life, they did reflect the morals that I wanted, now they don’t most often.

    • http://deepexistence.com Stephen Guise

      Their values clearly don’t align with yours, so it could be a matter of social incompatibility. They might have conversations that you would literally have nothing to say about.

      I think a lot of this is about your spouse though. I think it’s best to openly communicate with your spouse about this issue, rather than secretly plan to find new friends or something. This has the potential to increase understanding on both sides, which would prove very helpful.

      You probably feel severely outnumbered though, which is intimidating. So instead of joining in and either not being yourself to fit in or standing out in disagreement, you avoid it altogether. And why shouldn’t you? If you’re not having a good time, why fake it?

      You can still love someone while disagreeing with their lifestyle and value system. You can even be courteous, but it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to spend time with them (your spouse is the exception to this rule).

      Honestly, if you could find another peer group, you’d be much happier. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – you just might spend a little more time with the people you relate with. Otherwise, you’re trying to force it or isolating yourself.

      Since you asked, my advice would be to open the communication with your spouse first, and your family/friends next (but this could cause them to not be themselves around you in fear of judgment, so be careful how you approach it). Second, I would start to look for another social outlet – maybe using Meetup.com to find a similar interest group.

      The important thing is you don’t have to think of it in all or nothing terms. Try to work with your family and friends and try to expand your social web to include people you really connect with. You don’t necessarily have to ditch anyone.

      I hope that helps.

  • Jackie Mendoza

    Thank you for a thought provoking post, Stephen, it’s so important to remind ourselves of the need to just be ourselves! I was interested in point 2 you made under the Be Yourself Guidelines: “focus on being fully present in your external environment (rather than in your internal world)” The reason I was interested is because I personally found, in order to discover my true self, I absolutely had to be more present in/to my own internal world ie I had to come face to face with the fears and limiting beliefs that were driving my need to be someone other than myself. Only then, once I had the courage to face my internal world and transform the fears etc did I then have the courage and real ability to be fully present as I am in my external environment.

    What are your thoughts on that? Perhaps there could be a balance between the two?

    http://www.jackiemendoza.com

    • http://deepexistence.com Stephen Guise

      I agree with that process, Jackie. It helps to understand what fears/beliefs drive you away from being yourself.

      As for the quote – “focus on being fully present in your external environment (rather than in your internal world)”

      It seems that there are two different ways to focus on your internal world – one is from self-centeredness and the other one is the one you mentioned, learning about yourself. Learning about yourself, your fears, and such is very important (#4). I was talking about the other kind, where you’re set on feeling a certain way (superior, accepted, etc) and manipulate yourself and others to achieve that goal. In that case, all of your thoughts and experiences are altered by your internal preoccupation.

      It’s my belief that when you’re yourself, you’ll reach those goals of being accepted and feeling good about yourself much easier, be better liked, and act more naturally.

      What do you think?

      • Jackie Mendoza

        Yes, I totally agree with you Stephen, and thank you for clarifying. In the past, before I committed to being more honest with myself and what was really going on for me, there were times when I’d get so wrapped up in my own internal world worrying about what might and might not be going through other people’s minds that I’d often run myself ragged and end up reacting to the external world according to what I thought other people were thinking (rightly or wrongly) and “expecting” of me.

        It was only when I did my NLP Practitioner that I realised my responses to and experience of the external world were totally down to my own perceptions! After all, it’s never about the other person, is it, it’s about ourselves. That’s when I finally embraced being authentic!

  • leman yakubova

    nothing is helping, how do i truley be myself when all i want to do is impress everyone. i dont even talk that much anymore, in fear of saying something stupid and giving the wrong impression of me. i try to be myself but i dont even know who i am, or i dont even like myself, everyone is either funny, cute, intresting, pretty, or flirty and sexy. i dont know how to be any of that, and it is killing me and i hate myself for it