We hear a lot of advice to ‘just be yourself’. As an author, I am frequently admonished to ‘be yourself’ on social media; ‘be yourself’ in your writing; ‘be yourself’ when you meet fans.
That is terrible advice, and here’s why:
- Like most vague advice, no one bothers to define ‘be yourself’.
- ‘Be yourself’ seems to indicate that you don’t need to improve. Whatever you are, is good enough. What if I don’t want to be just ‘good enough’?
- ‘Be yourself’ can lead to stagnation. To what stage/phase of my life does ‘be yourself’ pertain? Should I be the growing up ‘self’? That ‘self’ exuded violence in a violent world. What about the ‘self’ that lived on the road, angry and disillusioned? Throughout a person’s life we have many ‘selves’, many phases of growth.
- ‘Be yourself’ can lead to a position of no compromise. If I cling to being myself, I may not be willing to compromise with others when being myself may clash with them being themselves.
- ‘Be yourself’ may be great advice when you know who you are, but life is about discovery–the discovery of who I was, who I am and who I am becoming.
People say what they mean by ‘be yourself’ is ‘don’t try to be someone you’re not.’ To me, it is important to ‘try on’ different ways of being. I will always try to be someone I am not because I will always try to grow into someone whom I admire; I will always try to reach out and learn and grow. I can’t ‘be myself’ because I am simply too busy becoming the best that I can be.
I much prefer the advice to ‘be authentic’. Whether in my life or in my writing, I strive for authenticity–for being real. When I write of anger or love, hate or admiration, being hungry or feeling on top of the world, I am sharing an authentic part of myself with my readers.
What does ‘be yourself’ mean to you? Would love to hear!
Don’t miss future content. FOLLOW this blog.
Do you love to read? Sign up for JUST FOR YOU e-newsletter! Click on the icon in the right corner of this blog and follow the instructions. Receive a FREE opt-in gift, and then every month receive special offers, announcements, short stories, inspirational image quotes and much more on a monthly basis.
Discover my books on http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar
FRIEND me at http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar
LIKE my author page at http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor
Cool photos and other content at http://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar