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How to Be Yourself

Find yourself and define yourself on your terms. Oscar Wilde once said with his usual wit: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. As humorous as this might seem, it's a basic summation of the truth. Yet, you can't be yourself if you don't know, understand, and accept yourself first. It should be your primary goal to find this out.
  • Find the time to learn upon what you value and take time to consider what makes up the essence of who you are. As part of this, contemplate your life and choices. Try to think about what kinds of things you would or wouldn't like to do, and act accordingly; finding out through trial and error helps more than you might think it does.
  • You can even take personality tests, but be careful to only take what you want from them so that you do not let such tests define you. Instead, ensure that the defining you do is based on your own terms and is something you feel absolutely comfortable with. You may feel self-conscious, but over time if you are around the right type of people for you, they will accept you for who you are.
In finding your values, don't be surprised if some of them seem to conflict. This is a natural result of taking on broad values from a variety of sources, including culture, religion, mentors, inspiring people, educational sources, etc. What does matter is that you continue working through these conflicts to resolve what values feel most true to yourself.
  • Just because your values seem to conflict doesn't mean you necessarily have to abandon them. Consider it all a part of a dynamic you. You cannot be shoved into any box or pegged. You have values for all different aspects of your life, so it's natural they be different.
Avoid fixating on the past and not letting yourself grow. One of the most unhealthy approaches to being oneself is to make a decision that who you are is defined by a moment or period of time, after which you spend the rest of your life trying to still be that person from the past rather than someone who is still you but grows with the passing of each season and decade. Allow yourself this space to grow, to improve, to become wiser.
  • Allow yourself to forgive past errors and past behaviors you're not so proud of. Work on accepting mistakes and choices you've made; they're done and in the past. You had your reasons for them and the decision made sense at the time, so instead of harnessing yourself to past mistakes, allow yourself to learn their lessons and continue to grow.
  • Look for people around you who proudly proclaim they are no different than they were the day they turned 16 or 26 or 36, or whatever. Do these people seem flexible, easygoing, happy people? Often they are not because they are so busy insisting that nothing has changed for them ever, that they're incapable of taking on new ideas, learning from others, or growing. Growth into every new age and stage of our lives is an essential part of being true to ourselves and to being emotionally healthy and whole.
Never stop looking for your own strengths . Over time, these may change and thus, so may your definition of yourself, but never let up in focusing and refocusing on them. They more than adequately balance out your flaws and are the principal reason for not comparing yourself to others.
  • Comparison leads to resentment. A person filled with resentment cannot focus on the mantra of "be yourself" because they are too busy hankering after someone else!
  • Comparison leads also to criticism of others. A life filled with criticizing others stems from low self-esteem and a need to pull others off their perches that you've placed them on. That's both a way to lose friends and respect, and it's also a way of never being yourself because you're envy-struck and spending too much time on admiring others for their characteristics and not on yourself.
Relax . Stop worrying about the worst that could happen, especially in social situations. So what if you fall flat on your face? Or get spinach stuck in your teeth? Or accidentally head butt your date when leaning in for a kiss? Learn to laugh at yourself both when it happens and afterward.
  • Turn it into a funny story that you can share with others. It lets them know that you're not perfect and makes you feel more at ease, too. It's also an attractive quality for someone to be able to laugh at themselves and not take themselves too seriously!

Part Two of Four:
Dealing with Others Edit

Be honest and open . What have you got to hide? We're all imperfect, growing, learning human beings. If you feel ashamed or insecure about any aspect of yourself and you feel that you have to hide those parts of you, whether physically or emotionally then you have to come to terms with that and learn to convert your so-called flaws into individualistic quirks or simply as basic, down-to-earth acknowledgments of your own imperfections.
  • Try the tactic of owning up to your imperfections mid-argument with someone. You will often discover that suddenly you've removed the very reason for stubbornly holding the line of argument, which is often about preserving face and not giving in. The moment you say, "Yeah, look, I get really irritable when the room's in a mess too. And I acknowledge that I shouldn't leave my clothes in a pile on the floor and yet I do it because that's a lazy part of myself I'm still trying to train out of the habit. I'm sorry. I know I could do better, and I will try," you suddenly infuse an argument with genuine self-honesty that disarms the entire point of the argument.
Don't compare yourself to others . If you're always striving to be someone you're not already, you'll never be a happy person. This comes about through comparing yourself to others and finding yourself wanting in certain ways. This is a slippery slope to tread, where your thinking will only become more and more negative.
  • You can always see the appearances others wish to portray publicly but you won't ever see what's really going on behind their facades in their apparently perfect world. By comparing yourself to others, you give their image-portrayal way too much power and reduce your own worth based on a mirage. It's a useless activity that only brings harm.
  • Instead, value the person you are, love your personality, and embrace your flaws; we all have them, and as explained earlier, being honest is better than running from them.
Stop caring about how people perceive you. Some of them will like you and some of them won't. Either attitude is as likely to be right or wrong. It's next-to-impossible to be yourself when you're caught up in constantly wondering "Do they think I'm funny. Does she think I'm fat? Do they think I'm dumb? Am I good/clever/popular enough to be a part of their group of friends?" To be yourself, you've got to let go of these concerns and just let your behavior flow, with only your consideration of others as a filter — nottheir consideration of you.
  • If you change yourself for one person or group, another person or group may not like you, and you could go on forever in a vicious cycle trying to please people instead of focusing on building up your talents and strengths.
Stop being a people-pleaser . Always wanting everyone's love and respect is a totally pointless exercise in the end that can harm your personal development and confidence. Who cares what other people say? As Eleanor Roosevelt said once, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent and what matters most is that you listen to your own inner confidence and if it's missing, that you start developing it!
  • Does this mean no one's opinion in life matters? No. It hurts if you're socially rejected. If you're forced into a situation where you must spend most or all of your time among people who can't stand you for reasons of their own, it's dangerous to internalize their negative ideas of who you are. What you can do is exercise some choice in whose opinions you value more than others. It's much healthier to pay attention to people who genuinely mean you well and who agree with you about what you want to do with your life.
Surround yourself with positive people. Don't trivialize what you're going through if you face negative social pressure or bullying. It's easier to withstand it if you are aware of it as pressure and build healthy defenses. Building up a circle of trusted friends and people who share your views and beliefs in life is a good way to help reduce the impact of hostile people. You can tell yourself their opinions don't matter, and they shouldn't, but that's a lot easier when there are others who agree with you and stand by you.
  • Compare those who love you to whoever the bully is; suddenly you can realize that their opinion of you, your family or your lifestyle, is worthless. We inherently care about the opinions of those we respect and look up to. This works both ways; if someone has no respect for you, then what they say about you is just empty words coming from someone who is one step above being a total stranger.
Learn the difference between intimidating, sarcastic, or conniving comments and well-intended constructive criticism. It will focus on real faults that you don't know about, and could do with remedying. In the latter case, people such as parents, mentors, teachers, coaches, etc. might well be telling you things that you need to digest and mull over at your own pace, to make self-improvements for the better. The difference is that their critique of you is intended to be helpful.
  • These people care about you and are interested in how you grow as a person, and are respectful. Learn how to spot the difference and you will live well, dismissing pointless negative critiques, and learning from the constructive critique.

How do I be myself without worrying about others gossiping about me?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • Realize that people gossip no matter what, it is irresistible to some people and almost everyone has given in or will give in to gossip at one point or another. The important thing lies in your reaction to it––let it bother you and it will hurt and potentially stunt your style. On the other hand, if you realize how shallow and narrow-minded those gossiping are and that you are doing the right thing regardless of their gossip, you will stay strong in the face of gossip. Make a choice to not worry and to get on with being yourself, knowing it's not everyone who has the courage to do so.

What if people judge me. What should I do then?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • If people are judging you, then these people don't deserve you. Next time they judge you, say "I don't care," or "That's what you think, how's that working out for you?" This will give them reason to understand that you don't care what they think of you and that you're confident, which will make you a bad target for the haters.

What are some tips to help you stop disliking yourself?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • Don't compare yourself to others because everyone has their ups and downs. Remember that you mean a lot to other people in your life. You might find this read helpful: How to Love Yourself .

What if I am afraid to speak my mind, and say what I feel?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • Sometimes it's tough to speak your own mind because people will judge/hate you for it. The most important thing when talking or arguing in public is to know your audience. If you see that they are understanding and well informed people, then you can be you and hope for the best. But if they are bullies or just bad people in general and you do not feel comfortable talking in front of them, then you can just speak more in general terms so that they have no material to laugh at. Judge by context.

Is it wrong to be rude, or should we let others lead our lives?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • Being rude is necessary sometimes, especially if someone is not treating you with respect. Being yourself is about standing up for you no matter what others say or think -- so be willing to stand up, even if it means being potentially rude.

What if I've been someone else for so long, I've forgotten who I really am?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • You need to take the time to rediscover who you are, and maybe even get help from the people who have known you the longest.

What if I have told my friends something bad about a person I like just because I want to be their friends but now want to take the words back?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • Next time you see those friends, say something nice and complimentary about that person you told untruths or bad things about (if they were untruths), and mention that you don't think what you said earlier was true or accurate after all. You will feel better for having corrected yourself and they may likely even respect you more for not being mean about others behind their back. Most nice people rarely respect other people who speak ill of other people behind their backs.

What if I want to change a part of myself, but it's a really big change? I'm worried about what people will think and say!

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • Think about it like this, it is not changing a part of yourself, but being true to yourself. You would be the best version of you, and the people who love and care about you the most should accept you for who you are. Other people are not worth your time. Have confidence in yourself, it is the best thing you can do.

How do I be myself when others think that I am boring and weird?

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • Just because one group of people thinks you are boring and weird that does not mean you have to see yourself that way. Find someone who fits your style, and for those who don't, it might be easier to remove them from your life. Don't be afraid to be yourself no matter what others think of you because it is your opinion of yourself that matters most.

What if people copy me? I am not being myself if someone is like me!

Answered by wikiHow Contributor

  • Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Nobody is exactly alike anybody else, your thoughts, ideas and posture are all your own. Just because you do certain things and others copy them doesn't reduce the uniqueness that is you! Some people need good examples and trailblazers to show the way, so feel proud that you have leadership skills. And be more sharing, not so worried about what others might "take" from you, because you get more joy in life from giving of yourself than hiding away. Take it as a compliment that somebody holds you in a high enough regard to follow your way of being.