How Comfortable are You with Your Self?
How comfortable are you just being yourself? Are you open and uninhibited, uncaring of what others might think about you?
Can you play the fool, be the clown, and make others laugh? Tell a joke or story with ease? Or do you suffer terrible agonies of anxiety and fear of public humiliation or shaming if you dare to express your opinion?
Are you self-accepting or do you tend to beat yourself up every time something is not quite perfect?
Wherever you fall on this continuum of being comfortable in your own skin, mastering the art of being yourself will bring more freedom, more happiness, and more enjoyment into your life.
Being yourself may come easily or it may not. It is, however, a skill that you can learn just like reading and writing, or playing an instrument. The more you practice it, the easier it gets. Being yourself allows you the freedom to be authentically and fully you, moving through life with grace, ease, and serenity.
Isn’t it time you learned how?
12 Steps to Master Being Your Real Self
Here are some thoughts and ideas from wise souls on how to get the ball rolling, and how to make living authentically a life-long practice that will leave you enriched and fulfilled with a life that fits you perfectly:
1 – Understand that Nothing is Personal
The wisdom of Don Miguel Ruiz in his book, “The Four Agreements” offers an excellent argument as to why nothing in this life is personal. Once you understand this, you can change your outlook for the better, forever.
Don Miguel says that everyone has their own unique view of the world, based on their own thoughts and beliefs. Whatever they say or do, it can never be about you: they can’t know what exactly goes on inside your mind. They are projecting the movie of their own beliefs onto you.
A person’s movie depends on the agreements they have made with life. If someone insults you, it is a result of his or her beliefs and opinions. It has nothing to do with you! And the same goes for whatever you project into the world: It has nothing to do with anyone else.
Once you know this, you can become immune from other people’s insults or put downs, because, it is about them, not about you! You can remain calm, and confident just being yourself and knowing that nothing that anyone ever says or does can be about you. Remember, from now on, don’t take anything personally!
2 – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Sometimes being yourself can provoke feelings of anxiety and insecurity. It usually stems around fears of what others might say or do if you dare to be yourself. Now you know that nothing is personal, you should find these insecurities diminish.
If somebody loves you, it’s not about you; if somebody hates you, it is not about you. However, if they do still come up for you, you can follow the advice of author Susan Jeffers in her book “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.” She advocates doing just that: Feeling the fear, and going right ahead and doing it anyway.
Fear and anxiety are really just feelings. Feelings are based on beliefs. Beliefs are just beliefs; they are not facts. You can decide to change your unhelpful beliefs for more helpful ones.
The feelings will pass if you simply accept them and allow them; they will pass much more quickly with loving acceptance than if you resist them and try to stuff them down. Keep being yourself, even when it’s scary. Over time, you will find the fearful feelings diminish and you start feeling a lot more confident.
3 – Be True to Yourself
- Listen to your heart, and follow its calling. This is how to be true to yourself.
- Mean what you say, and say what you mean.
- Be congruent in thought, word, and deed. That means, tell the truth, and do what feels right for you.
- Don’t compromise yourself unnecessarily. Learn to say “No,” with confidence and grace, when something doesn’t feel right for you. Giving in to other people’s demands and expectations, when these are not in alignment with your own truth, serves neither you nor other people. Your commitment to your own truth, your integrity, and your honesty will shine through your words and deeds when you remain true to you; other people will respect you for it.
- Stand your ground, and follow your dreams. Set goals, and then set out to accomplish them.
- Never give up. Believe in yourself. You can learn to be your own best friend.
4 – Listen to Your Intuition
If you’ve ever had a hunch, a knowing, or a sense of being guided, then you are tapped into your intuition. That still, small voice within knows what is best for you at any given moment. Following your inner wisdom can be a helpful way to feel confident about yourself and the choices you make each day.
Intuition can be used as a tool to guide you towards being more fully you. Your hunches and gut feelings are formed out of the summation of your previous experiences, thoughts, and feelings, so they are not completely lacking in empirical foundation.
One way to strengthen your intuition is to act on its wisdom when you hear it calling you. Ignoring it makes its voice get softer, and it gets harder and harder to hear.
Starting a dream journal is an intriguing way to tap into the wisdom inherent in your dreams, which can be a source of deeply intuitive wisdom upwelling from the subconscious mind.
Before you go to sleep at night, tell yourself that you want to remember your dreams; ask your dreams to provide guidance on a certain topic, question, or decision you may have to make. Have a pen and notebook by your bedside for when you awake.
Be ready to jot down any dream fragment, images, or insights you can remember as soon as you awake. Interpret them according to your own instincts. You will be using your intuition to get guidance. Have fun with it.
5 – Love Yourself
No one else can really do this for you. You will not be happier with a new relationship, in truth. The same issues that keep you hiding and afraid to be you will surface whether you are in a relationship or not. In fact, the Tibetan Buddhists refer to marriage as the charnel grounds, where the vultures pick over the flesh of rotting bodies!
A relationship is really a powerful tool for spiritual growth and one of the hardest places to go to do that inner work! If you are not in a relationship already, now is the time to learn to love yourself, unconditionally! Practice lavishing yourself with compassion.
When you really learn how to love yourself you will be more interested in making yourself happy and in doing what is right for you, instead of constantly putting everyone else’s needs before your own. You will also discover what brings you happiness.
When you put others’ needs before your own, you end up feeling resentful and you will dislike yourself because of it. Only you can make yourself happy and you do this by learning to love yourself.
When you truly know how to love yourself, your self-esteem and self-worth will no longer be dependent on the approval of other people. When you no longer depend on the approval of others, you are free to be yourself. Start by being kinder to yourself and accepting and loving yourself, warts, and all.
6 – Forgive Yourself and Others
You may be carrying around unconscious guilt and shame without knowing it. This will prevent you from being fully yourself. It will keep you shut down, afraid of being seen and afraid of expressing yourself.
When you can truly forgive yourself, those heavy, negative feelings can fall away and you can feel happier, more energized and much more authentically you. Practice kindness and compassion towards yourself and be gentle on yourself.
Forgiveness brings about healing. Forgive others too, so you can free yourself up to be the brightest, lightest version of yourself possible.
7 – Follow Your Bliss: Do What Brings You Joy
In order to be yourself, you have to know yourself. One way to find out who you really are is to pay attention to what brings you joy. Once you discover what makes you feel happy, do more of it.
Allow your happiness to guide your choices. If something is causing you to experience negative feelings, then you are quite probably not doing what is right for you.
The more your life is filled with positive feelings such as gratitude, happiness, contentment, serenity and calm, the more you can be sure you are being true to who you are. Life unfolds naturally when you follow your bliss.
Your happiness does not depend on what others think of you!
Being fully yourself means that you are immune to what other people think about you. You have accepted yourself, with all your flaws and all your marvelous talents, and you have learned to love and appreciate yourself, just the way you are.
Now you have all these pieces sorted out, you are free to be yourself absolutely, because it truly does not matter what others think about you. Their opinion is their business, and, it has nothing to do with you! Focus on you, and on your joy, and know that what others think of you is actually none of your business.
8 – Stand Up for What You Know is Right
Don’t let other people’s opinions persuade you to become someone you are not. Trying to fit in with the crowd is all very well, but when you have to compromise yourself, is it really worth it? Stand up for what you believe in and speak your truth.
People who are aligned with your values will be attracted to you, while people who take you away from being your best self will fall away. It is best to surround yourself with people who are of a similar mindset; they are more likely to support you in being fully yourself.
When you stand up for what you believe in, you will create a whole new group of friends who admire your courage and value what you have to say. It’s better than hiding out in a group where you don’t entirely fit, and, even though you’re surrounded by “friends,” you feel totally alone.
Just Be Yourself!
9 – Don’t Associate with People Who Make You Feel “Less Than”
Anyone who shames you for being yourself is somebody you want to avoid. If they put you down for being you, they are not good friends. If they criticize you because of who you are, know that it is time to move on. If they try to change you, it is time to drop them.
You don’t have to take it. You have every right to be yourself. If they don’t like that, it is their problem. Commit to finding new friends and companions who support, encourage, and build you up, praising you every time you show them who you really are.
Hang around with positive people. Find people who approve of you for you.
10 – Become the Best “You” that You Can Be
As you find out about who you are and really get to know yourself and your likes and dislikes, consider the things that you really value in life.
What qualities of character resonate with you? Who are your idols, your heroes, and heroines and what do you admire about them? How can you cultivate those same qualities in yourself?
For example, let’s say that your main man is the Dalai Lama. He is the embodiment of wisdom and compassion and kindness towards self and others.
How can you develop wisdom, compassion, and kindness? Through studying and meditation, you can develop these qualities in yourself. You can be whoever you want to be.
11 – Don’t Be a Doormat: Put Yourself First
Ultimately, being a doormat is not serving anybody in a healthy way. You are telling others you do not respect yourself by allowing them to take advantage of you and walk over you. You are enabling them in their bad behaviors.
Much of your programming as a woman has been about supporting others, helping others, and putting your own needs at the bottom of the pile. It has been seen as selfish to put yourself first, when in fact, just the opposite is true: When you don’t get your own needs met first, you are going to have a cup, which is half-empty.
When you meet your own needs first, then not only will your cup be full but it will be overflowing with so much love, joy, and happiness that you will have plenty to give away to those around you. Learn to say “no” to what you don’t want in your life. This will set healthy boundaries for yourself and will show others exactly where your boundaries lie.
When you know your own limits, by being clear on what you do and don’t want, and what you will or won’t accept, you will find it so much easier to be authentically you. Otherwise, you will be saying “Yes,” when what you really mean is “No.”
This is not only dishonest, to yourself and to others, but it sends out unclear and confusing messages about who you are.
Learn to stand up for yourself and you will watch yourself blossom into your own truth.
12 – Learn to Stay In the “Now”
Being in the present moment helps, you get in touch with the deeper part of your true nature, which the Buddhists call the “ground of all being.” It underlies all of existence and unites everything. Being in touch with it helps you be more fully you.
Worrying about the future, or regretting what happened in the past, are ways to avoid living your life fully, here and now. The mental energy required to think about the future or the past will drain you and leave you exhausted and stressed.
Try noticing what is occurring right here and right now. What do you see? What colors and objects? What do you hear? Birds, traffic, street commotion, a radio?
What do you touch, in this moment, with your body? Do you notice your body on the chair? Your fingertips tapping the keyboard? Your hand holding the phone?
Notice tastes and sensations when you are eating. What can you smell right now? Perfume, flower scents, coffee?
When you come into the experience of your senses in the moment, you are becoming more mindful. Your body begins to slow down, your thoughts stop racing and you begin to experience life in the present moment.
Adding to this the practice of allowing thoughts to arise, and then letting them go, without judgment, will help to keep you present and allow you to experience the pleasure of life, moment to moment. You will be a more authentic version of yourself.
Therefore, by following your joy and doing more of what brings you to a place of positive feelings, you can discover more about who you really are and start to let your true colors shine through.
Knowing that nothing is ever about you, you never have to take anything personally ever again. Build up your self-esteem and learn to love yourself unconditionally; you don’t need outside approval or permission to be yourself. Even if being true to yourself is hard, it is worthwhile to “feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Trust your instincts and follow your hunches: Let your intuition guide you and you will be living a life that is in alignment with who you really are. Stay present. This will help you be more in touch with all that is, and it will give you a much fuller experience of each moment that passes.
Your life will be richer for it and you will be more connected to a deeper, more authentic part of yourself: That which connects you to everything else. Forgiveness is a practice, which can lead to greater self-acceptance and an increase of self-worth.
Self-love is much easier when you forgive yourself and those around you. Learn how to put yourself first. This is not selfish behavior; rather it is a part of self-care, which ensures that you can be available to help others.
If you put yourself last, you will end up on the bottom of the pile. So don’t be a doormat. Learn how and when to say “No’, and know that saying it is good for you, and also the other person. You are expressing healthy boundaries.
Stand up for what you know is right. Others will respect you more for it and you will attract towards you true friends, those who are of like minds and spirits. Those who don’t support you in being yourself, those who put you down and who do not have your best interests at heart, will start to fall away.
Become the best “you” that you can be. By developing the characteristics and qualities in yourself, that you have admired in others you can strengthen your character and become a better, fuller version of yourself.
Meditation will not only help you develop positive personality traits, but it will also help you stay present to what is, right now. Being present, moment by moment, will help you develop a richer, more intimate relationship with the whole of life, and because everything is interconnected, that includes you.
By implementing these tools and developing these skills, you will feel much more at ease in your own skin and you will be more confident expressing the truth of who you really are, and much happier just to be yourself.