Tag Archives: being yourself
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sifting through our video archive – boy, is it huge! almost 3,000 interview clips; can you believe it? – and in the process I’ve noticed one piece of advice keeps coming up again and again when people are asked to share their wisdom with younger generations: “be yourself.” If you’re true to yourself and do what makes you happy and feels right for you, everything will work out in the end just like magic. That sounds great, right? Unfortunately, “being yourself” is one of those things that falls squarely into the “easier said than done” category. It’s a message we hear all the time and we understand that, yes, of course it would be awesome to be ourselves, but what if you’re not even sure who “yourself” really is? Uh-oh!
When I was in middle school, I was desperate for everyone to like me. I believe I spent most of eighth grade on the carpet in the fetal position pleading for acceptance from my peers, only abandoning my groveling to eat the occasional pudding cup at lunchtime. Needless to say, I was not that cool. Despite my efforts to buy the “right” sneakers (Skechers, at the time–does that make me seem extremely old?), watch the “right” movies, have the “right” friends and always, always say the “right” thing, I was still solidly a weirdo. No matter what I did, I never quite fit in with any of the popular groups. I didn’t want to believe it, but my own weirdness was inescapable. At the time, I was unable to see that I possessed my own unique “self”, and that to be that “self” was actually valid and valuable. When people told me I was “unique,” I equated it with being told I had leprosy. I saw my weirdness as a flaw and a hindrance, something keeping me down. I wanted so badly to be something different from what I was that I couldn’t even fathom that the person I was “naturally” could be worth anything. I see a lot of young struggling with this today, and all I can say is: “I SURE AM GLAD I’M OVER THAT!” Except of course I’m not entirely, because learning to accept yourself and be true to yourself is a lifelong process. Maybe you can tell that I’ve been reflecting on this quite a bit lately, but my soul-searching turns out to be in your benefit, because I’ve thought up a few suggestions for how to ease into “being yourself.” For my beloved readers just beginning to unfurl your freak flags in preparation to let them fly, this is for you….
1. Realize that you have something special to offer the world. You are the only “you” out there, with your own unique stories, opinions, and talents. Whether you like it or not, you’re an individual! Rather than fight it, why not embrace it? It’s incredible when you think about it: You’re absolutely the only person on this earth right now who can be you and give the world that special something you have to offer. Whether it’s a piece of art you’ve made, an original idea for building a Mountain Dew-powered motor-scooter, or a new formula for squirrel shampoo, it’s up to you to get it out there and into the world, because no one else can do it like you can. Once you understand that you’re amazing and capable of extraordinarily “you” things, you can move on to step #2….
2. Don’t worry so much about pleasing other people! It may surprise you to learn that although your friends and parents and people on TV may have a lot of opinions about what you should do with your life, you’re the only one living that life and therefore the only one who has any right to decide how it should be lived. It’s nice to make other people happy, but it’s impossible to do so all the time and you absolutely can’t let other people’s happiness take precedence over your own. Be confident in yourself and your ability to steer your own ship, so to speak. That said, don’t hesitate to ask others for advice when you need it! To bring in another nautical idiom, “no man is an island.”
3. Set goals for yourself and stick to them. Even if you’re not totally sure who you are, if you sat down for a few hours you could probably come up with a list of things you want out of life, right? An example: “I would like a pony.” Clearly this is not the most profound or lofty of life goals, but it will do for a start. So, what do you need to do to accomplish your goal of having a pony? Start thinking about it and then, once you’ve got your pony-procurement plan, don’t let anyone or anything get in your way. Repeat to yourself, “I WILL HAVE THAT PONY; IT IS MY DESTINY. I AM UNSTOPPABLE.” Having clear goals, ambitions and dreams and pursuing them with passion and determination is a critical part of “being true to yourself.” Don’t be afraid to go after what you want!
Obviously the process of “becoming yourself” is different for everyone, but it seems to me that these three guidelines should apply more or less across the board. Just remember: I think you’re special. I really do! You deserve to be yourself, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. If they do, give me a call and I’ll track ‘em down and give them a good talking-to….
Aurora C., editor & her own weird//wacky self, thank-you-very-much!
P.S. Check out this kid on Toddlers & Tiaras! I adore her. She is 100% her own baby, and absolutely perfect. In other news, Toddlers & Tiaras has always been and will always be my #1 favorite show on TV.