We've all heard the familiar phrase, "Just be yourself." It sounds like a corny one-liner found in a fortune cookie, but I feel it carries more weight than that. Knowing who you are and feeling comfortable with that person is crucial to your well-being as well as how you relate to those around you. Here are just a few tips on how you can be the truest version of yourself.
1. It's OK to not know
I think many of us want to feel like we are always "in the know" especially when it comes to the constant stream of questions from our children. When you say, "I don't know," it does not showcase a lack of intelligence. No one is an expert on everything no matter how much he tries to convince you otherwise. Instead of feeling embarrassed at not knowing an answer to your son's math homework, say something like. "I'm not sure sweetheart, but I'd love to figure this out together." Don't be afraid of the unknown. It lets others, including your children, know you are comfortable and open to learning new things. You're teachable. Most importantly, you're 100 percent human.
2. Be genuine
What does it mean to be genuine? Dictionary.com defines it, "not counterfeit; authentic; real." Basically, don't put out a vibe that's not you. How many of us have felt duped when we met a person, felt like there was an honest connection and realized later it was just a façade? Portraying or maintaining an image that is not true to yourself is hurtful and dishonest, particularly to those who you care about most. Don't be a phony, in person or in the virtual world. I love the words by French author and Nobel Prize winner André Gide, "It's better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not."
3. Don't be afraid of insecurities
Most of us tend to hide our insecurities — the most vulnerable part of ourselves. Insecurities don't make you less of a person. Rather, it makes you a person. How many of us inwardly groan when we are around someone who seems to have it all? We like being around people who are real, relatable and not afraid to say, "I'm scared."
Maybe your spouse spends too much time at work and you feel uncertain about his commitment to you and your family. Instead of becoming paranoid and questioning his every move, try opening up to him about it. Communicate your insecurities. If he has half a heart or brain he will assure you of where his loyalty lies and make better efforts at protecting family time.
Most of us naturally seek acceptance and validation from those around us. But that doesn't mean we can't have a mind of our own. In fact, everyone likes a good healthy debate from time to time. How dull would life be if we all thought, felt and acted the same? The conflict doesn't come from the difference of opinion but how you communicate your convictions. Many of us can relate to being turned off by someone's overbearing, condescending extreme views on a Facebook post. Especially when it comes to conversing with loved ones, we should be very mindful of how we express our views no matter how different they may be. Bottom line: it's good to be different, not good to shove it down someone's throat.
5. Stop comparing yourself and just be you
This one is for all the good intentioned mamas out there. You know who you are. You try so hard to be a good mommy, a cute mommy, a healthy mommy, a patient mommy, an involved in the community mommy, but you feel someone else always has you beat. So you berate and compare yourself to the perfect Instagram picture of the mom down the street. Comparing is just a slippery slope to misery. Especially when it comes to what we see on social networking sites. I'm reminded of the quote by Lead Pastor Steven Furtick, "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel."
Own your quirks, your passions, your flaws and your interests because in the end those are what make you — you.
It can be hard to be yourself sometimes. We are taking the risk of being rejected or not liked by others. In moments of self-doubt, I try to remember this quote from author Barnard Baruch, "Be who you are, say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."