The Myth of “Just Being Yourself”

Today I wanted to share a bit of relationship advice that is in some ways the best, but also the worst.

You’ve probably heard this while you nervously prepared for a date, thought about telling your partner something important to you, or when worrying about introduce a touchy subject.

“Just be yourself.”

That’s what they say to you. It’s gotten to the point where it has nearly lost all meaning.

Most people try to be themselves. They admit to the world that they are befuddled, twitterpated, or otherwise shy and anxious around others.

Some frustrated men, disappointed by the lousy results they have been getting by “being themselves” have decided that being themself doesn’t work to “get women” so they have gone to an extreme of memorizing fake stories, wearing gaudy clothing, beating their chests to “DHV” and prove to women that they are desirable (or at least, that whoever they are pretending to be is desirable).

Now, all you women out there, don’t start your chuckling just yet. You’re not off the hook either. Have you ever gotten one of those “slimming” corset-like things to make you look thinner? Have you ever gone on some bizarre crash diet in order to be more attractive to your husband or boyfriend? Or have you ever let your physical appearance define your self-esteem or self-worth?

I’d wager that both genders have gone out of their way to not be themselves.

But this really isn’t very healthy. First of all, it only cements in your mind the idea that you aren’t enough in order to receive love.

After all, why else would you memorize those stupid routines (like The Cube) or measure your own value by the number that displays on the scale when you step on in the morning?

Every time you surrender who you are and concede that you need to be something else to “deserve” the love you want, you only reinforce a belief that you’re not good enough and strengthen a snowballing inferiority complex.

Even if your efforts and forcing yourself into something that you’re not are successful, you’ll find that they are completely unfulfilling. You’ll constantly feel anxiety that he or she will someday discover the “real you” and leave you, or you’ll feel like he or she doesn’t really love you at all, but rather the person you are pretending to be.

That’s a very lonely road to walk, and probably not quite the pot of gold you had hoped to find at the end of the romance rainbow, is it?

14 thoughts on “The Myth of “Just Being Yourself”

  • December 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm
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    Man that’s actually a tough – well, very introspective question… Let’s say for example, I am asked a question by a co-worker. An answer immediately pops into my head, but it’s not what I say…

    He asks me if I like Ralph down in Accounting. Well I immediately think to my self – nah, not so much. I suspect he cheats on his wife, and probably on taxes, he seems like a skeechy guy.

    BUT I say “Yea he’s an OK guy”… We’ll, If I was being myself, I would have said just what I thought of him right? (We all know those people, the ones who say whatever is on their mind. If it’s how they feel – they pretty much say it – they “tell it like it is” some people really admire this quality)

    For me, common courtesy, etiquette, feelings, Mores etc. come into play and I don’t say how I really feel about him. I say he’s OK.
    Am I not being myself for not saying how I really feel – am I a liar? Or am I being myself, a generally kind and considerate guy, by saying something other than what I really Think of him?

    I don’t know the answer to this, but it’s something to ponder… Great topic guys! Have a nice weekend!

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  • December 14, 2011 at 1:36 am
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    Great blog post!

    I think that Cliff makes a good point. However, I do think there are some boundaries to every situation, and it just boils down to what the post addresses: Your intention/motives behind the decisions you make.

    I think some prime examples of how people aren’t themselves are online personas and social networking sites. If you look at people’s blogs (especially on Tumblr) and Facebook profiles, people are really selective about the content that they share because they’re really concerned about the image that they want to portray. I’m totally guilty of this, as well!

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    Mika Replied:

    @Seojie–What a great observation:) I completely agree that there are certain exceptions to every situation, I mean you don’t want to mouth off to your boss if you want to keep your job, eh? As for social media, I think many people feel as if they have to put a “mask on” and have the appearance that they have all their ducks in a row because it’s unseemly if they don’t fit in the mold of society’s expectations. Thanks for stopping by:)

    @Cliff– The last thing you want to do is make life at work miserable for you. Yes, I think it’s important to be tactful & professional at work. However, you can maintain your integrity AND speak your truth in other aspects of you life. I guess, we just have to figure out the boundary between tact and speaking our mind without compromising our integrity OR our jobs:)

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  • December 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm
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    Loving the information on this internet site , you have done great job on the content .

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    Clay Replied:

    @Benjamin, Thanks :)

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  • January 7, 2012 at 11:13 pm
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    Thanks for this post. I always thought that myself wasn’t good enough or that i was just a naturally reserved back person which made it hard to make the connections I want, I know I have issues and I want to be able to break free from my cocoon. any thoughts how?

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    Clay Replied:

    @Leah, Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    I used to study certain personality types quite a lot. One thing that I remember is that certain personalities value certain things over others such as “comfort,” “adventure,” “challenge,” or so on. I think what you should do to understand your true sell better is to start to get more in touch with who you are. Spend time with yourself and really get to know yourself.

    When you are alone and no one else is watching, what do you do? Do you sing and dance? Do you test your limits and see what you’re capable of (whether that’s at the gym, work, or doing something personal)? Or maybe you just genuinely like to stay in that comfort zone (however, I am sensing a bit of frustration coming from you, so I’m guessing that maybe this isn’t really the case…).

    If you discover that you need to push your boundaries and get out of your comfort zone, then start small. What exactly do you want for yourself? Figure out what you want and then take one small step to get there. If you want to meet more people, start by simply just going more places where there are more people. Instead of reading a book at home, read a book at a coffee shop. Instead of getting dinner at the drive-thru window, go in and order.

    This may seem like a very small (and sometimes insignificant) step, but sometimes just beginning can be all you need to break past those initial barriers of resistance. Remember, no matter how big your obstacle may seem, you can break it down in to many smaller and less intimidating actions.

    I hope this helps.

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  • March 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm
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    when I date someone I really like, I get shy. I get afraid I’ll say or do the wrong thing and they won’t want to see me anymore. I’ve been like that my whole life, trying to please people, stay out of trouble,make people like me. I’m tired and wish I could find someone that loves me

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    Clay Replied:

    @Janet, Thanks for your comment. I can absolutely relate to your situation. I’ve been there myself and I know what it’s like to feel like you constantly need to prove yourself to others or feel like you’re not good enough.

    Do you date much? If not, I’d suggest trying to date more, the more you date, the faster you’ll find someone who you can just click with. At least that was the case for me. Practice getting out of the house and meeting more people. Join an online dating site if you need to. That’s actually how I ended up meeting Mika back in 2008 :)

    It may sound a little bit simplistic, but the more you date, the more comfortable you’ll get with it (Trust me, this is coming from someone who had virtually no social skills at all and didn’t have a single date from about June 2006 – February 2007…).

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  • March 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm
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    Thanks for an incredible article. I appreciate your thinking within this, I felt like this really hit home with me. Many thanks again! You make a good read. Got some wonderful facts here. I think that in case more people thought of it doing this, they’d possess a better life.

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    Clay Replied:

    @Norman, Thanks for your comment. Yes, learning to be yourself is one of the most difficult things that you’ll ever have to do, but with dedication and commitment, it will get easier.

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  • March 14, 2012 at 4:41 am
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    Great post! I completely agree – being yourself does not mean letting every insecurity and anxiety rear it’s ugly head! It’s one thing to have an issue that might pop up in your behaviour or thoughts every so often but if it starts interfering in how you want to live your life then it’s stopping you from being who you are or want to be. It’s not just about how this affects your partner but also the fact that you’re not living a fulfilling life according to your own beliefs and values. If the issues keep getting in the way I think people should speak to someone, such as a counsellor or psychologist for professional help, so that they don’t dump all that emotional baggage on your partner.

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    Clay Replied:

    @Jacqui, Thanks for your comment. I think that any sort of personal friend will work too, not necessarily a psychologist or a counselor. Of course, this depends on the nature of the problem. People with mental illnesses should absolutely seek professional help, but simple things like shyness or insecurity can probably be handled by a caring friend with an ear to lend. Thanks so much for reading our blog :)

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  • May 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm
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    How do I recconected with my ex after almost a year of healing.

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