#80 Yes or No? How To Be True To Yourself And Why It Matters.
Over the last 30 some years, one of the things I learned truly is that change, being okay with change, and creating change, is really hard. It is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work and sometimes it seems to take forever. But everything is always changing all the time. It is a constant as they say in the biz. What I have learned about change is that if you are true to yourself, it helps a lot. Life might be more care free and easy going if I had ingrained a few words of wisdom:
For example stock phrases that you hear your whole life like:
#1 “Just be yourself.”
Gee. That old chestnut. Really. Yes, pretty much. We hear it from parents, teachers, friends, however I could not for the life of me figure out what the heck that meant for a long long time. I am not done with phrases yet. What #1 really means is:
#2 “Be true to yourself.”
#3 It also means “Get over yourself.”
Phrases #1, #2, #3 above many of us probably hear our whole lives, but we don’t get it. Maybe not ever. “Just be yourself.” Er, yeah, be a geek, okay. That was not cool until like 2010, and only in some circles. I took it for granted as phrase of dumb wisdom. If we are lucky some lighting bolt hits us and we get it eventually. I was lucky and this is what I discovered. It meant I didn’t have to be nervous anymore. When I associated phrase #1 with phrases #2 and #3, I was playing a whole different ballgame.
“#1: Just be yourself. #2: Be true to yourself. 3: Get over yourself”. Together they really mean do not try to be a square peg in a round hole. You will be happier and more effective, even if it is in a “weird” way.
Do not get hung up on “feeling” different. Get past it. You might assume with the current free-wheeling days of the cult of personality we as a people in a society that may not value Ivy League Colleges aren’t likely to be hung up in this way. But not everyone really, really gets it.
Quiz. Here is how to tell if you are being true to yourself.
#1 You may be a square peg, in some ways. If you care, -1 point. If you are not sure, 0 points. If you think “Big deal” +1 point.
#2 Do you know you are a square peg and it what ways you are a square peg? If you care, -1 point. If you are not sure, 0 points. If yes, and you say “Big deal, I own it” +1 point. If you are miserable all the time, you may be making yourself miserable by not acknowledging your square peg needs to yourself. -5 points.
#3 If you know you are a square peg. You own it +1 point. You don’t -10 points. You “get over yourself” by not being annoyed, appalled, saddened, or threatened that some people are round pegs, or rectangular, or trapezoids, or round or anything else. +17 points.
I thought “Getting Over Yourself” Was a Phrase Just Meant for A-Holes. Nope.
Traditionally “getting over yourself is something people say to a-holes with a big head. However, you may be an subtle a-hole if you think no one will understand you, or care to. What if Albert Einstein thought “no one will care what I think”? For a famous but less world changing example, what if Lady Gaga thought “I should just try to be more like Karen Carpenter. That’s what will sell.” Here’s the real chestnut: Trying to be like someone else is a game that will never be won.
It’s true. I am not talking about change of any kind being easy. Especially not a change to being true to yourself. It most certainly is not. It can go wrong. We won’t get into that here. But for a start, it helps to be clear with yourself about your true purpose. If your purpose isn’t clear to anyone, that’s okay but you have some thinking to do because you will benefit from true clarity in all regards: personally, socially, professionally.
Why Being True To Yourself Matters.
When we say Yes to what truly matters to us (hitting a nail on the head) and say No to things that we don’t really care about (trying to be like so and so and therefore trying to hit drive a nail with a pencil), we’ll go a lot farther. And so might humanity. We all will. Be yourself, be true to your genius, and get over thinking no one will get you. Let others be part of your genius. Be clear. Don’t bullshit. It is true no one may get us, but we have a better shot at making your our brand of waves by giving #1, #2, #3 a try.