Always Be Yourself!
“Being who you are meant to be is a challenge – especially when we are constantly improving on ourselves”
This past week I celebrated my 59th birthday and along with the wonderful greetings on social media platforms, my girlfriend gave me a T-shirt which read, “Always Be Yourself – Unless you can be a Bunny – Then always be a Bunny“. While her intention was for it to be a cute gift, the idea of “being yourself” is one which repeatedly intrigues me. There are countless slogans which express a similar thought but I’m not completely convinced that “being yourself” should be the real goal.
Humans constantly strive to better themselves and as a result, we are not the same person we were 5 years or even 1 year ago. So wouldn’t it make more sense for the slogan to read, “Always strive to see who we can become”?
Living in the present moment is important but it is just as vital to continue working on a better version of you. Obstacles along the way help us overcome challenges and build strength of character. We may seek the advice of others whom we trust but ultimately it is up to us to decide whether or not to act upon it. Sometimes well-intended counsel from others becomes a crutch but in my particular case, it was even more convoluted than that.
As a child I wanted to do what was right. I attended church at a very young age and never wanted to disappoint God. Being so young, I didn’t have the confidence to believe that God could reveal to me what was right so I listened to the leaders and elders of the church. What ended up happening wasn’t so much asking for their advice but rather I tried anticipating what they would tell me. If I could figure that out, that would mean my thinking was more aligned with what God would want me to do. It sounds a bit bizarre and wasn’t necessarily what they were teaching, but it was what I felt I needed to do in order to do the right thing.
The results were not only that I never really knew who I was, but even knowing myself was inconsequential. There is an in-depth explanation in my book but I will always remember sitting with my therapist at the age of 53 and telling him, “I have no clue who I am”.
The big breakthrough came when I realized that it was my thinking patterns, which began in childhood, that caused these hurtful and sabotaging results. The shameful things I believed about myself “forced” me to make those choices believing I was actually doing the “right” thing. However, the healing began when I was able to forgive myself for those choices and continue the journey to “Always strive to see who I can become”.
All of us have different ambitions and purposes in our lives but the one objective common among all races, religions, and cultures is to become a better version of ourselves. In the comments, feel free to write some of the hurdles you had to overcome to improve yourself. Perhaps it will be beneficial to other readers. I look forward to reading them.