On “Being Yourself”

I’m quite certain that every one has been offered the advice to “be yourself” at one point in their life. Usually, at the point in which this advice is given, it is also the most useless piece of advice you could ever hope not to receive. “Who the hell is ‘myself’??” teenage you wonders. 

How are you supposed to be yourself, if you don’t know who you are, really? 

Being yourself is incredibly difficult when you aren’t sure who precisely that is. There are so many pressures from peers and society that it is easy to lose “yourself” and become what others expect or want you to be instead of what everyone keeps telling you to be (yourself).

Somewhere in the last couple years of college, and even more so now, in the Real World, I stopped asking myself this question. Because I know who I am. I don’t have words to define it, really. I could provide a long list of adjectives that are probably more flattering than I really deserve, but that’s not really adequate. 

Anyway, my point is that it’s funny how hard I once tried to fit in, and to be the kind of person I thought other people would want to be friends with, when I’m so much happier now than I was then and I don’t try nearly as hard. Because despite how meaningless the advice seems when you are young, it really is the best suggestion out there. It might take a while before you learn who you are, when you do, it’s the only way to be.

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