When I was younger, I used to try quite hard to fit in: not be too quick at answering when I was at school, so others didn’t think I was being a clever clogs; pretending to like other people’s musical tastes so I was ‘up-to-date’; dressing properly when I was a teacher; not saying anything when people were being racist. And I found it difficult because it didn’t fit me, and sometimes it was downright impossible.
By the time I got to my 30’s, I gave up on trying to fit in, and began to just be myself. Although sometimes it gives me difficult situations to deal with, generally it made my life a whole lot easier, because I don’t have to pretend or compromise my own values most of the time.
So what do I mean by ‘just be yourself’? I mean accept your characteristics, live by your own values, act in a way that matches your natural way of being, whether they fit with the norm or not. We are all individuals, unique and special, with our own particular quirks, and we need to nurture that in ourselves, even if it means we don’t please everyone else.
If we pretend to be something we’re not, it shows, because we slip up sometimes and show our true colours, or we come across as false.
Some of us are tidy, some of us aren’t; some of us like to dress up, some of us prefer to dress down; some of us prefer routine, some of us prefer variety; some of us are chatty, some of us are quiet. Whatever we’re like, there are others who are similar to us, if not the same, and we will find our ‘tribe’ if we are being who we really are.
And this doesn’t mean that we don’t bother to enhance our characteristics or behaviour. If we behave in ways that make us uncomfortable, then we want to improve that – not to please others or fit in, but to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.
I believe that our innate nature is good – we’re not born selfish or unpleasant or mean. But we are born as a unique individual, so just be yourself…