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Being Yourself = Being Cool, Part 2

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!

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? What is the best version of you? Believe in this idea and use that as your starting point. 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. If others aren’t telling you you’re great, don’t let it get to you. Instead, 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!

Develop and express your individuality. Whether it’s your sense of style, or even your manner of speaking, if your preferred way of doing something strays from the mainstream and produces positive outcomes, then be proud of it. Be a character, not a type. Learn to communicate well – the better you can express yourself, the easier it is for the people who like you as you are to find you and the ones who don’t to just steer clear.

Stop comparing 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, though. You can always see the appearances others wish to portray publicly but you won’t ever see what’s really going on behind their façades 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.

Avoid being unfair to yourself. Sometimes comparison causes us to compare apples with pears. We’d like to be a top movie producer in Hollywood when we’re a lowly, aspiring scriptwriter. To see that top producer’s lifestyle and find yourself wanting as a result is an unfair comparison – that person has years of experience and hobnobbing behind them, while you’re just starting out, testing the waters with writing skills that may one day prove to be exceptional. Be realistic in your comparisons and only look to other people as inspiration and as sources of motivation, not as a means to belittling yourself.

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’s spoils!

Comparison leads also to criticism of others. A life filled with criticizing others stems from low self-esteem and a need to pull other’s 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 others, not on improving yourself.

Follow your own style. The common thing a lot of people do is copy others’ actions because it seems like the better route to fit in, but really, shouldn’t you stand out? Standing out is very hard, yes, but you need to try avoid assuming other people’s perspectives of you, even if it’s not something you would normally do; that’s what being yourself is all about. Maybe you like to sit outside on the deck under an umbrella in the middle of the rain, maybe you have different ideas of things, rather than other people, maybe you like strawberry cake instead of the common chocolate cake, whatever you are, accept it. Being different is absolutely beautiful and it attracts people to you. Don’t let people change you!

Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and that some days you are the statue. People might raise eyebrows and even make fun, but as long as you can shrug and say “Hey, that’s just me” and leave it at that, people will ultimately respect you for it, and you’ll respect yourself.

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