People are told all the time, “be yourself,” but what does that mean? They promise everything will just fall into place as long as you remember how to be yourself, as if it is some profound, life-changing advice. Why didn’t you and I think of that? Huh, “be yourself.”
Really though, what does it even mean to be yourself? Even if you wanted to, do you know how to be yourself?
Truthfully, I doubt that many people even figure out who they are and perhaps never will know what it means to be themselves.
Who had themselves figured out? Abraham Lincoln? Teddy Roosevelt? Colonel Sanders?
Nope, during their lifetime they were just working up the self-stairway (hey, that’s the name of the site!)
Better Advice: Be Self-Reflective
How about this, don’t pretend to be interested in things you couldn’t care less about and envision your perfect self that you can strive to become. Whew, got all that? Not as clean sounding as “be yourself”, but it’s much more thorough and is better advice.
This does not mean you should be fake; those people are pretty easy to spot if you look hard enough. What most people should constantly keep in the back of their minds is the fact that they should constantly strive to improve themselves. There are so many things that may go unnoticed, biting away at your potential happiness as a person.
Always, always be self-reflective. If there’s anything that I want readers of this site to take away from this, it’s that you should never stop looking back at yourself to make sure you’re becoming a better person.
You can still learn how to be yourself while studying how to improve. So what should you do to practice self-improvement?
Imitate and Learn from Real Life Idols
Look around at the people you interact with the most. Pick someone that strikes you as a very put together and genuinely interesting person. Notice their posture, the words they use, and how they probably focus on the person they’re talking to instead of themselves. Also look at how they have several interesting background knowledge on things that just make you admire their brilliance.
Take mental (or physical) notes on how you can imitate that.
Remember not to fake interest in things if you don’t genuinely find it amazing. You want to absorb the good you see in them.
There are definitely a few people in my life that I try to take the good characteristics from. You want the people that are living and breathing right next to you.
You have to really want to learn from your real idols. Remember, they don’t fully know what it means to be yourself either, but they’re a lot further ahead than others. This makes them perfect for you to learn what to improve yourself on.
For example, one of my friends is the type of guy that everyone acknowledges from the start. Very calm tone that demands your attention because it’s the type of voice that isn’t going to try to fight you for volume. Then when you look at the way he dresses, it isn’t overly flashy, but it definitely stands out as well groomed.
Finally one of the more overlooked features about this person is the fact that he’s not indecisive. “Hey where do you wanna go eat?” There is no “Um… Uhh… I don’t know. What do you want?” No, forget that, he will ask you if you have any preference and if not, then he’ll give you a self-assured answer.
Right off the bat from those descriptions, I can look back at myself a few years ago and see where I consciously and subconsciously improved myself through flattering imitation. I don’t talk as fast and excitedly as I used to anymore, so people take my words more seriously because I demand attention through my tone (careful to not be too serious).
Not sure if I picked up my fashion sense from him, but I did start dressing much better over the years and have developed a keen taste for clothing.
Then for the last point, most people are rather indecisive all the time. I still am. But if there is anything that I can take away from just hanging out with my friend, it’s the self-assured decision making that strikes me as rare and imitable.
So there you have it, it’s good to be yourself without unnecessary faking and remember to keep growing as a person (that’s why you’re reading this right?).
Look for the inspirational people who really captivate you then figure out what those traits are. Don’t think it’s all physical appearance because trust me, a few tweaks here and there can make a giant difference.
Don’t forget to hit subscribe at the bottom of the article if you’d like to be notified of new articles. I hope to hear in the comments below about some stories of the type of people you admire and what you can learn, or tips on how to be yourself.
Renaud & Sarah says
Wow, that is a very smart post. I stumbled upon your comment on http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/6-ways-to-instantly-improve-your-mood/#more-12389 and I thought it was very thoughtful. I am looking forward for your next blogpost. I am clicking the RSS Feed at this very moment.
Vincent Nguyen says
I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Renaud or Sarah, and I thank you for reading. Not sure who I’m addressing since this appears to be both of you!
Hate to burst your bubble, but his comment looks like some sort of generic spam post that is posted on hundreds of blogs as advertisement :/
(Also I really enjoyed reading this. Great post and tonnes of great tips)
Vincent Nguyen says
Hm, I actually thought that myself a while ago, but looking at their comment history it doesn’t seem to be. Plus the comment referenced really was posted by me on Pick the Brain. Thanks for the concern though! I think I’m safe to assume it’s legitimate. I’m glad you enjoyed reading the article though (referencing your second comment.)
I really enjoyed your post. First, because it was something I consider, as well (am I really being myself?). Second, taking stock of the characteristics of others that are worth modeling. Last, because you’ve proven what we think about and sometimes, deem silly could turn out to be a great blog post like this!
Vincent Nguyen says
Thanks, Shelley! I’m glad that you really identified with it. 🙂
Vincent I love this article. It’s so smart and well-written, comprehensive and realistic too! Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad I stumbled upon it today:)
Vincent Nguyen says
Glad you enjoyed it, Katherine! It’s one of my first articles that I published here. It’s always nice to see they’re still being read. 🙂