Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It” was my favourite play in high school. I do recall memorizing Act II Scene VII “All the World’s a Stage” for our literature class, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” In our day-to-day lives we are simply actors on a stage. Thus, the question we need to ask ourselves is what role we are playing. Are you being true to you or do you emote a character for others to accept?
Identify your weaknesses
A couple months ago, I identified my major weaknesses in counseling as I peered through the hidden layers in my heart. I discovered I spent most of my life being a people pleaser and being prideful pretentious. I operated my daily life trying to ensure I was liked by others, a draining and defeating task. As I sat across from the amusing mannered counselor with my new found self revelation, she said to me, “you need to go find the girl that you buried”. I could not agree with her anymore. It was the truth.
Many times we try to live up to the expectation of others simply because we want to be loved and liked. Accordingly, we show up to the office and put on our work face. Then, we attend an event and wear our social setting face. And even further, we go home to families and out comes our family face. Splitting up yourself into several likeable characters, while no one really knows the true you. As a result, you are borne to be worn out by the unnecessary extracurricular activities.
How to be true to you
To be true to you requires guts and patience to free yourself from superfluous baggage. I recommend , a commitment to unpacking and deconstructing be your starting point.
“Be what you are. This is the first step towards becoming better than you are.” Julius Charles Hare
Four things to note when journeying to be true to you:
1. Start by getting to know you
Reacquaint with your likes and dislikes. Discover your tastes and preferences; journalize them; then, act on them. Whatever makes you happy, be sure to do it! I am not telling you to go kill someone or jump off a mountain, I expect you to operate within reason. However, I am encouraging you to “Just be you!”. You will feel a freedom by just being.
2. Learn to say no
You can’t be all things to all people; however, learning to set boundaries is important. A weakness of people pleasing is a tendency to say yes to every request. However, learning to say no is necessary to create a balanced life. Be guided by kindness when you need to say no. Do say it with a measure of tact and grace, as an unkind demeanor to assert yourself will definitely offend. After you have said your first no, you might find yourself in a corner crying, but stick to your decision. Over an extended period it will become easier to say no. Although it may be tough initially, once you establish a pattern people will respect your boundaries.
3. Accept you may fall into old ways
It has been proven that it takes 21 continuous days to form a new habit and 40 days to solidify the habit. If you spent most of your life not living true to you, chances are metamorphosis into the real you will take time. You are not a robot, so please go easy on yourself.
4. Accept loss
It’s OK to lose a few people while you learn to be true to you. After all, the person you presented was a likeable image, or so you think. However, the people who truly like you for you will stay. Additionally, along your journey to living true you may attract and make connections that possess similar interests as yours. Consider it an opportunity to build new, better quality and lasting relationships.
Whatever it takes make a decision to be true to you and work at it; the end product is a more beautiful you.