Recently I was getting nervous about job interviews and starting a new job. Kind and supportive friends said to me ‘just be yourself’. This is great advice which I wholeheartedly agree with. I both give and live this advice as much as possible.
As a ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of person, I struggle to fake being something I’m not. The inner tension created by that kind of inauthenticity is too much for me to bear. But, I do fall into the trap sometimes. We all do and it’s because of one simple thing:
We believe that ‘being ourselves’ is not enough
Just be yourself really is enough
If we knew deep down that being ourselves, that who we really are is enough (and it is), we wouldn’t feel the need to be something else.
But, we live in a society that reminds us every day that who we are is not enough. That’s why we amend photos with filters and Photoshop, because apparently our real face and body is not enough. We pretend that we know or do more than we actually do, because our real achievements aren’t enough. We get in to debt so we can show that we have more stuff than we can really afford. We hide or change our interests, our relationships or our personality quirks, because who we are and what we choose is not enough. None of it is enough, according to some arbitrary standard and other people’s opinions.
If we knew that we were enough, we would freely be ourselves. And that sounds like an amazing way to live!
The only time we put on a show is when we want something…
And, we don’t believe that who we really are is good enough to get it.
It could be that we want love, acceptance, praise and approval. Maybe we want that job, status, client or money. We want the followers, the likes, shares and comments. We want friends, partners and popularity. The only reason we fake it is to get the stuff that we think we are not capable or deserving of, just as we are.
Ironically, the opposite is true
At the risk of sounding very utopian and romantic, the most amazing things in life and all the things you want, only happen when you are being your true, authentic self. I say that through experience, the best opportunities, fulfilling experiences and the most wonderful people and relationships all happened when I was being 100% me. On the contrary, whenever I have tried to be like other people I have fallen flat on my face. Which hurts. Especially on the inside.
‘I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not’ – Kurt Cobain
No one wants to be hated, but do you really want to be loved for a costume you wear as opposed to who you really are? How long can you keep wearing that costume anyway? Different people will like you in different costumes – how many can you fit in your wardrobe? And how many can you wear at once? It’s like being an actor 24/7, surely that’s going to get tiresome and at some point you might slip up. Then what? At some point, the costumes naturally degrade. Then what? What will you do when you have no energy left to pretend and you are faced with your true self?
‘Tear off the mask. Your face is glorious’ – Rumi
I hope, that when this happens (and you can choose to make it happen, now) you will taste freedom. You will taste authenticity. You will find that those who love and accept you, do it because they really do love and accept YOU. Those who hire you, pay you and hang out with you, do it because they value YOU. Everything you experience will be much more long lasting, real and meaningful.
Imagine if we could all experience this. Imagine a world where ‘just be yourself’ doesn’t even exist as a piece of advice because, everyone’s already doing it.
About the author: To find out more about Pinky Jangra, please click here.