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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Hoock

Don’t Be Yourself or so We are Told

We live in a society that asks you not to be yourself. We are told how to behave in school, in church, during interviews, at work, in relationships and so on. When you are seeking a job, it is drilled into you to create a resume in a very specific way, but who created the way that we should draft a resume. An abundance of books, videos, blogs, programs, courses, workshops all exist to teach you to perform a certain way and to eliminate your true self during the process. Young children are great at being themselves, but as they grow they are told by their parents how to behave, what is acceptable and not acceptable. The appropriate behavior may be what makes it easiest for the adult or what the adult was taught while they were growing up. The child must be cooperative and follow what the adult asks them to do otherwise they will get in trouble. Peers also demand their friends to act a specific way. Again you must realize that the peer group, who are telling others how to act, were also programmed by their parents on how to behave. They are passing on learned "acceptable" behavior. Of course I am not telling parents to let their kids run free with no rules, children actually do quite well with structure, but adults should be careful for how they respond to their children when they are learning the world and how they fit in that world. Adults are quick to step in and tell a child how to make things, how to think about things, instead of just allowing them to navigate their environment in their special way, encouraging their way and letting it flow. The message we are promoting from an early age is if you attempt to be your true self than you will not be accepted. This constant repression of our own natural self will have an affect on our self-worth. Hearing over and over that you are not good enough, that you must do a list of specific things and then you may be acceptable. How could this not influence our self-worth? As we continue to grow we are then told in school, work and relationships, how to proceed. When dating we are told how to behave on a first date to make sure the person will want a second date. Before a job interview we are given a list of items describing how to engage in an interview, how to answer questions and even how to sit.

When was the last time you were told to be yourself? Possibly after all of the extensive advice given on how to behave, people will end it with “just be yourself and things will work out”. Unfortunately you were just told in every way not to be yourself and instead to do specific things that will get you what you think you want. This happens when interviewing for jobs, dating, applying to college, at work and so forth. We are led to believe that if we do not act a certain way and we don’t engage in these particular behaviors then we are not likely to land the job, find and keep a relationship, get into college, get promoted etc.

Do you ever ask yourself, why do we live in a society that doesn’t want you to be you, but wants you to become a copy of everyone else?

Why would interviewing for a job, going on a date, any of these things be given specific directions to navigate. Wouldn’t it make most sense to just be yourself in all situations because you will eventually be yourself. At some point your natural self will spill into reality while on the job, while dating the person, once you become the boss, your true self will come out, you can’t hide it forever. If you do keep your authentic self hidden you risk being miserable. We wonder why things do not turn out the way we thought they would. However if we take a step back and realize we didn’t present our true self, we presented a version of ourselves that we were told is the most appropriate, then we are able to see why things didn’t work out.

We are all unique and bring our unique personalities, we should be celebrating those aspects of ourselves, not hiding them. As an employer hiring a candidate, if you don’t allow the interviewer to be themselves, then you are not able to see if they would be a true fit for the position that you are seeking to fill. There’s a possibility that if the true self of the candidate would be able to be at the interview, you would be able to interpret how well they will get along with others in the organization or if they may be better suited for a position they were not interviewing for initially. If we were permitted to be ourselves on a first date, maybe we would discover earlier on that we are not compatible with this person we just met or the relationship would be able to flourish quickly and be better than we could have imagined.

We have our own unique self, that if we give ourselves permission to find our own path, using our intuition, we will find our way. And that way will be happier and more beneficial for the society as a whole, compared to a life that is based on listening to others' expectations. More often than we realize we neglect our intuition. Those nudging feelings or thoughts that help us navigate our life experience. We learned not to trust ourselves. We trust others’ opinions on how to behave or what action to take. Just because it worked for others, this doesn’t mean that it will be best for you. Just because people are able to say that this will get you the job, this will get you the romance, this will get you the promotion, doesn’t mean it will be right for you. When we sacrifice our own natural self and take on the role(s) of what is expected of us, to obtain the things we believe we desire, it doesn’t mean it is right for us. We are living someone else’s truth, not our own.

Imagine just being you, listening to your intuition on how to handle a specific situation and the joy it will bring to your life and others.

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