Sunday, May 11, 2008

What "Be Yourself" Really Means

The Traditional Definition

You've probably heard it. You've probably told someone at some point: "be yourself".

Whenever I was told that, I didn't have a clue what it really meant. The more I heard it, the more useless it became. Do what you normally do right? But that's an infinite loop, because you don't know what you normally do. That's why you asked whatever you asked in the first place, but you were simply told to be yourself. Besides, "self" is a complex word. Allison Mack wonderfully explains it (I didn't plan to start reading any celebrity's blog, but this one has some deep posts that captured my attention). You takes on a new definition around every person, and possibly even different when combinations of people are present.

My Definition

Someone on Yahoo Answers asked a question about copying her friend's style and I figured I just had to tell her my thoughts on being herself, because a lot of the answers were "be yourself" with no real explanation. I've had this philosophy for quite a while now, probably since the last few months of Grade 12 but I've never explained it or shared it with anyone. The more I think of my explanation, the more it seems to be the perfect way to share it.
Sounds like a topic that should be left for the women here, but I'll answer anyway.

"Be yourself" doesn't do it justice. Whenever I was told that, it didn't really help me, nor did I really understand what I was supposed to do in order to "be myself".

Here's my take: Do what you want, only if it's because you want to do it. Don't do anything that you think others would want you to do.

Applying it to this, if you're changing your style because *you* really like that style, or *you* think it will make you better, go for it. If it's because you *think* *other people* will think you look better, then you have the wrong reasons.

And to emphasize the first point, do it if you like that particular style. You'll find that you wont really be copying her. You'll just be going for a style you love. If you're only doing it because this girl is popular or whatever and you want to be like her, then don't. That would be copying. You can tell this is the case if you think you "like" her style whenever she changes it.

I don't know if that makes sense. But in a nutshell, do it if YOU want it and you have YOUR OWN reasons. Don't consider what other people might think. And don't copy. It's completely different from adopting a style you like that happens to already be used by someone else.
-2Perfect, Yahoo! Answers
Like I said, this might be hard to make sense out of, but if you really try to understand it, I think it will really be helpful.

Few examples?

If you like a girl, don't change the way you act and look because you think she'll like it. She probably wont. However, if you find a style you really love and you think it fits you, go for it. Indirectly, you're still reaching the same goal: Making yourself better. Only one is in the eyes of others, and you're not even certain if they actually think you're now better. The second is in your own eyes, which you're obviously sure of.

If you're not doing great in school or something, don't improve your marks for your parents. In a good way, parents will never be satisfied until you are perfect. They want their children to be the best they can be. Which means if you go from 50s to 60s, they'll now be looking for 70s. If you go from 80s to 90s, they'll look for 100s. So if you want to improve your marks, do it for yourself. If it would make you feel better, if it would make you feel smarter, more confident in yourself. If it would make you feel more useful, etc. I mean at a young age, if you followed this, you obviously don't care much about what you want past the next couple days, so this wont work. But at high school then University, it's all up to you. Don't do it for your parents. Do it for you.