After yesterday’s ‘embarrassing moments’ post I decided I would end this blogging week on a more positive note. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my favorite kinds of people and what makes someone interesting and fun to be around. I believe it all comes down to one simple thing.
Funnily enough I have taught a number of lectures on this subject and I never knew how true it actually was. Think about it: what kinds of people attract your attention? Why are you interested in getting to know someone? What gives some people this special vibe that makes you want to be around them? I believe that these people are being their true selves and that’s what makes them so intriguing.
Actual self vs. true self
I once taught a lecture on identity construction where I talked about Carl Rogers’ theory on how everyone has different types of subjective ‘selves’. There’s your actual self, which is who you think you are and the way you think you come across to other people. This is also the way you are with most people. For example, when I introduce myself to someone as a PhD student I am being my actual self.
Your ‘true self’ is much more interesting. This is something we all have, but is not always shown. It’s inside of all of us and is something many of us strive to be. It contains qualities you would like to have, but don’t always show to the outside world. It’s not influenced by what you see others do, or what you see on social media, it’s who you truly are. It’s the deepest layer of your personality, that you may not even know yourself. Some of us only show our true selves to a select group of people (e.g. family, close friends). Social scientists agree that the inability to show or express your true self can lead to psychological issues.
Being your ‘true self’
I believe that we are all trying to be our true selves, whether we realize it or not. However, for some of us it may take some time to get there. It may take something serious happening in our lives or the lives of someone else. It may take an unfortunate event to shake us, wake us up and realize things need to change. Unfortunately many people sleepwalk through their lives, living a life that doesn’t really match their true selves. This is why the people who do live the life they always dreamed of stand out so much.
I haven’t met many people in my life who are truly being themselves, and it really shows. I always compare it to teaching a lecture. If anyone asks me for advice on teaching, I always tell them the same thing: be yourself. Don’t be stricter than you are, or more playful, or try to be funny when you’re not, because it will show. Just be yourself, don’t overthink it and just go with it. Listen to yourself, take inspiration from others but ultimately do your own thing. This is like a major metaphor for life as well. If only we weren’t so distracted all the time!
How to be yourself
If there’s one thing I’d like to scream off the rooftops or just tell you in my blogpost (ha-ha) it’s this: be yourself. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Just Friends’ but there’s a part where a woman is singing a ‘be yourself’ song that will be forever stuck in your head – and it should be! It’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and it will only bring you great things. You will stop doubting yourself, you will stop worrying about what other people think of you, you will attract all the right people (people will want to be around you all the time), you will be successful in whatever you choose to do and you will be happy. The biggest mistake people make is that they think that if something works for someone else, it will work for them too. They think if something makes someone else happy, it will make them happy as well. And that’s just not true!
In my opinion, the most courageous thing to be in this life is yourself and the most beautiful people are those who are completely, inexcusably themselves. Just think about your favorite memories, your best photos or your favorite people. I’m pretty sure you were yourself in/with all of them. And if you ever need a reminder, just watch this: