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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Be Yourself

Note: I didn't write this, I found this great motivation article on my Spark Team page - it didn't say who wrote it or I would have included the author. I thought it was great and wanted to add it to my blog.
It's quite possibly the most commonly used phrase in the history of advice: Be yourself. What do they really mean when they tell you to be yourself? And is it really as easy as it sounds?

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 dwell upon what you value and take time to consider what makes up the essence of who you are.

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.
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. And 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.
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 stupid? 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 — not their consideration of you. Being a people-pleaser or always wanting every one'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!
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. Be honest with yourself, but don't beat yourself up; apply this philosophy to others, as well. There is a difference between being critical and being honest; learn to watch the way you say things to yourself and others when being honest.

Relax. Relax.

Stop worrying about the worst that could happen. So what if you fall flat on your face? 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!
Treat yourself as you'd treat your own best friend.

You value your friends and those close to you; well, who is closer to you than you are? Give yourself the same kind, thoughtful, and respectful treatment that you give to other people you care about. If you had to hang out with yourself for a day, what is the most fun/enjoyable/fulfilled/calm/contented type of person you could be, while still being yourself?

Love and accept yourself as you are now, just as you do for your close ones.

Be responsible for yourself and for boosting your self-esteem.
Tell yourself you're special, wonderful, and worthwhile.
When you believe these things about yourself, others will recognize that glow of self-confidence and begin confirming your self-affirmations in no time!

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