Just be yourself. To thine own self be true. Be authentic. Know who you are.
Well, my question to the people who make these sweeping statements is, “What the hell does that even mean?”
I sit and shake my head as I write this.
Of course I know myself. How is it possible not to?
I am me, so that in and of itself gives me a pretty good indication that I know who I am.
What a ridiculous thing to say.
I have always been perplexed by this piece of vague advice. I began to really tire of hearing this stupid phrase over and over.
So much so, that I would start to “zone out” when I read it, or heard it being talked about on any TV show.
At times, I would just feel like shouting at the TV.
“That's really useful, Oprah. But what the hell does Ashley from Illinois actually do about her situation?”
When I took the time to sit and muse this over at intermittent stages in my life, I realized that, in fact, I wasn't particularly sure of my own identity.
Every now and then, I thought I had it nailed. I would think I finally found my niche in life.
It was a blissfully secure notion to have the mystery of my being solved.
It was good while it lasted. Alas though, the cracks would eventually begin to show. Inevitably, I would return to the realization that, in fact, I still had not worked it out.
I didn't really know who I was, or what I was supposed to be doing with my life.
As I never fully get to grips with the mystery of “knowing myself,” this never-ending cycle continues.
Granted, I would at least have the intelligence to understand that with every perceived defeat, the path I had chosen to take wasn't, in fact, mine to follow.
Back to the drawing board. I would go try a different tactic.
Frustratingly, this became a pattern, and it was the source of my pain and headaches over the years.
Apparently, the definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, if this is true, then our planet must be over-run with wackos.
People keep traveling in circles to determine who they are.
Every time a well-meaning person said that to succeed in the chaotic mess that is life, one of the key ingredients is to “be me,” I would hear what they were saying. But I don’t think I will ever really comprehend what they were trying to tell me.
Over the course of the last year, for probably the first time in my entire life, I actually had the opportunity to do some deep soul-searching.
What's upsetting, is few people rarely get the choice to take time out like I did.
Caught up in the distraction of keeping ourselves afloat in a tough contemporary world, a lot of us are never really able to figure out who we are and what we want.
But the penny finally dropped for me.
For those of you who would appreciate a heads up on getting to grips with “knowing who you are,” and any other variation of this pearl of wisdom, I will let you in on what I have discovered:
I came to realize my true, authentic self was, in fact, the little girl who disappeared in the midst of growing up a long time ago.
I have worked out that for whatever reason, I didn't have the confidence to trust my own instincts. I have been listening to everybody else's opinions and putting them, in order of priority, above my own.
I finally realized I had been living the life of other people. Of course, these decisions are probably on track for them.
My advice to you isn't particularly original, but it's true.
I have “known myself” all along.
I just wish I had gotten to the bottom of the mystery years ago.
The only thing that has stopped me from releasing a scream of complete frustration is the fact that now, I have the conviction of an adult mind to go after what I really want.
I was absolutely right when I said the statement, “be yourself,” is ridiculous. We all know who we are.
For many of us, though, it takes time to stop denying that.