“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” -William Shakespeare
To thine own self be true
We hear it a lot, “Be true to yourself”, but what does it really mean? How do you “be true to yourself”? If you are already true to yourself, bravo.. if you aren’t being true to yourself, I feel your pain. I spent most of my 20’s being true to everything BUT myself.. and I could have saved myself a lot of heartbreak if I had realized what it really means to be true to myself. And I’m not talking about being selfish.. that’s different.. I’m talking about self-love. Being true to yourself is introspection, self preservation and enhancement. It is a commitment to truth and personal happiness that can lead to a new kind of contentment within yourself. Being true to yourself is a celebration of your uniqueness and individuality.
You have to make yourself happy
You have to make yourself happy, first and foremost.. and the only way to do this is by being true to yourself, and trusting yourself. Only you know, for sure, what really makes you happy. It is important to be in touch with this in yourself. The things that make us happy, often change over time, just like our tastes in food, style, etc. You are not obligated to still find joy in things you once did.. nor are you obligated to ever stop finding joy in those things. But you must know what makes you happy today. You may face pressure, hostility, and confusion from some, if you take a different path, but you must not let this deter you. We must be true to ourselves. If you are living a life that makes you unhappy, just because you think (or have been told) that you are supposed to, you are cutting yourself short. Follow your heart, explore the things that interest you, embrace the things you love.. even if everyone makes fun of you for it. Even if everyone is against you.
Don’t be pressured to be “normal”
Don’t do anything because you think you are expected to, or because you think you are “supposed to”, do what you think is right for you. Our society tells us we are supposed to graduate high school, go to college, get a good job, get married, have kids etc.. but what if you are “different”? What if you are happy single? You may feel pressure from family to “settle down”. What if you want a degree in art, instead of business? You may be told, “yes, but can you make money at it?”, or even, “There are a million artists, so your chances of being noticed are slim”. If you are happy single, be single and don’t apologize. Don’t be pressured to be “normal”. If you have a driving passion for art, go for it.. get an art degree, and don’t apologize. What it really comes down to is what YOU want.
Find success or failure.. on your own terms
Say you get an art degree, and it turns out you are horrible at it, or you can’t do anything with it.. say you were true to yourself, pursued the art degree, and fell on your face. This happens. But you will feel a whole lot better succeeding or failing on your own terms, following your OWN heart, rather than wasting time pursuing someone else’s dream. The only dream we can really follow is the one in our own heart. Practical advice should always be considered, but in the end it is up to us to decide what will give us contentment. It isn’t always easy, living life on your own terms takes courage, strength and a deep awareness of the self, but it can be immensely liberating and fulfilling, and can save you years of jumping through the “wrong” hoops.
Know yourself, so you can BE yourself
Ask yourself why you do what you do, why you think and feel what you do.. Ask yourself what makes you happy. Know your value, potential and uniqueness. Know your limits, know your strengths and weaknesses. Know your insecurities, your patterns and habits. We are all a significant and valuable aspect of life. We are all a part of the world, and we are all powerful in our potential. We are all someone. We are unique and complex in our individuality, and no one person is exactly like another.. That is why it is necessary.. CRUCIAL.. for us to be true to ourselves. Do not be afraid of the truth of yourself. Do not be afraid to know yourself. Do not be afraid to BE yourself.
Be yourself to be true to yourself
We are not here to simply follow and imitate each other, we are too diverse for this. We all bring our own unique being with us through life, and we all have our own specific influence on the world. The special gifts I carry, my uniqueness and intricate character are mine alone, as are yours.. and we cannot allow ourselves to be possessed by anyone, in mind, body or spirit. In being true to myself, I feel an obligation to cultivate my own special being, not just because I need to meet my purpose, follow my path etc., but because my purpose, my path needs ME.. myself, my particular being.. and no other.. to be fulfilled. Walk your path and meet your purpose with your head held high, be yourself and love yourself. Honor the unique entity that is you.. by being true to yourself.