The value of remaining true to yourself is largely self-evident. Not only can it dramatically increase your levels of happiness and contentment, but it’s also a vital first step towards self-improvement. It doesn’t matter if you’re struggling to find the authentic you or, you could simply use a few tips on how to be yourself. You can always turn to countless others who have come before you. If you’re serious about wanting to learn how to be yourself, then stick around. Over the next few minutes, you’re going to learn about 3 simple and effective tips on how to be yourself—which you can start using today. To begin, we first turn to one of the most acclaimed philosophers on the subject of Self. The immortal Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Following in the Footsteps of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Among the great minds who have contemplated the nature of self-acceptance and the benefits of being yourself, Ralph Waldo Emerson looms particularly large. Emerson’s writings, in fact, are so well regarded that in the 1870’s he was known as “the Sage of the Concord.” Here are some of Emerson’s insightful words of wisdom:
- “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
- “The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
- “The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”
Emerson’s recognition of the insidious power of conformity is one of his greatest contributions to the fight for personal authenticity. In his writings, such as The Conduct of Life, he believed in the potential of others and understood the value of Self. Today, Emerson’s words still echo through many popular self-help books and programs. As a result, countless people, all over the world, have found solace and inspiration through Emerson’s words. His wisdom on Self has brought insight and inspiration to many. In what might very well be his most influential quote. Emerson, once said:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Fighting the Influence of the Masses
Identifying Emerson as one of America’s greatest thinkers, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life contributor Evelyn Lim admires his lifelong crusade for the value of self-acceptance. In her blog post “Self-Acceptance Lessons from Ralph Waldo Emerson,” Lim stresses that he “believed in searching for truth from within.”
Harvard University Fellow Patrick Daniel agrees. In his Huffington Post article “Self-Reliance: An Introduction to Ralph Waldo Emerson,” he discusses the overwhelming influence of society on the individual. “People are more comfortable with what they are familiar with,” he writes. “They will tell you what you should be or what you can’t do.” But, echoing the sentiment of Emerson, Daniel implores you:
“Don’t conform, or else you will lose your soul. You will lose your originality and creativity.”
3 Tips on How to Be Yourself
As you may have already gathered, learning how to be yourself requires mastering a few key skills. The skills to master are as listed below. They are for you to practice each and every chance you get to help keep conformity at bay.
- Embrace your uniqueness: As Jimi Hendrix sang, “wave [your] freak flag high!” It’s one of the most important keys to happiness. Although people may command you to conform, they also hunger for individuality. And even if the whole world doesn’t exactly clamor for your unique qualities and ideas, you will surely encounter more than a few friends who appreciate you for who you really are.
- Examine your own feelings: Take a close look at things that are familiar to you. Are the traditions, rituals, and habits that permeate your daily life really beneficial? Or do some have detrimental effects?
- Question everything: No matter how well meaning it seems, don’t take the advice or guidance of others at face value. Even the tips in this article should be scrutinized and appraised!
[Bonus tip] Remain open to other viewpoints: Although being true to yourself involves skepticism about outside influences, it doesn’t mean that you must close yourself off to new perspectives. Just be sure to evaluate and use critical thinking about each new idea you encounter.
See also: 5 Inspirational Be Yourself Quotes to Boost Your Confidence.
Make a Difference by Being Different
It can certainly be difficult. A challenge many of us face daily. But remember, remaining yourself in a world that is constantly striving to change you can make all the difference when it comes to meeting your personal goals and achieving true happiness and fulfillment. Furthermore, it can also make a real difference for others around you.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
Don’t forget that change is a two-way street. Just as society works to change you, so can you work to change society. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Writer Henrik Edberg explains this quote in his article “Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World.” “If you change how you think,” he writes, “then you will change how you feel and what actions you take.” And Gandhi, perhaps more than anyone in history, knows that our personal actions have the power to make the world a far better place. Be the change, be different—be Yourself.