I was torn a part in my fraternity early on. I was constantly the butt end of jokes because I danced like an idiot at our parties and spoke my mind. As a result, I spent the fall semester of my sophomore year on edge. I was always being defensive just waiting for the next person to make a comment to or about me. I didn’t realize that being myself in this house would come at such a cost.

At my lowest point, when all I wanted to do was go fade into irrelevance, I was saved. Some of the older guys I liked started to support me. They took the unpopular position and supported me, encouraging me to be my “weird” self and keep dancing. Every day they’d ask, “are you gonna dance this weekend?” or, “I’m looking forward to you dancing tonight,” or “you better be full Veech mode tonight.” In my darkest times, I found my saviors that I so, desperately needed. I was losing faith in myself and was rescued because “if you don’t give a fuck that you dance like that, I respect it.”

That single line from my friend Neil changed my life. I had the support I needed to be myself and that line spoke the truth and changed my outlook on life. People respect those who are themselves. People respect and look up to people who let loose and be their true selves. I hold few greater debts than for the guys who encouraged me to be my weird self. They don’t understand how close I was to throwing in the towel and conforming. In your greatest struggles, you find your greatest friends.

The battle for being yourself shows everyone involved true colors. The people who continually take cheap shots at you for a few laughs are the people you don’t need in your life. The friends who support you in your toughest times are the ones you keep around for life. It is the true sign of good character when you stand against popular opinion for what you think is right.

The reality of the matter is we all have some sort of respect for the person who is him or herself, whether we recognize it or not. Part of us secretly wish we were like them. I can’t tell you how many friends and random guys told me, “I’m their spirit animal” when I’m shirtless at the bar dancing. Yes, you might be taking life advice from a guy who is known for being half-naked. But you’re also listening to life advice from someone who loves life more than anyone else he knows.

Here it goes; a book about loving life, not giving a fuck, living by principles, and not accepting life norms. Through my battles of fighting accepted norms, I have gotten more out of life. The ones who wrote the societal norms are the ones that never dared. They didn’t believe in themselves enough to do and try, they did what their friend(s) said. They lived in a self-imposed box. I know I did in my earlier years and I know many reading this are guilty of this self-defeating behavior. My goal is for you to question your behaviors, to question your daily habits, to question how you treat others, to question your outlook on life, to question what you perceive is possible, to follow your gut, to take a step forward when the world tells you shouldn’t, to believe in yourself full heartedly, to live a life that is as great as possible, to dare reality, to live optimistically, to live a life full of love.

You’ll be happy! It is pretty depressing pretending to be someone you’re not because you think other people won’t like the real you. You can’t please everybody so, you may as well please yourself by being the real you. Besides, you don’t know what all people supposedly want you to be. So, save yourself the stress and anxiety of the guessing game of what kind of person you should pretend to be and just be yourself. You will feel freer than ever before. It will feel natural to just be who you are. There are no acts or masks involved when you are yourself. Just an honest person who is a little goofy that others admire. There are already a million other roles or personas that people fulfill. There is only one unique you.

“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”

-Oscar Wilde

There’s a lot of truth to that statement. People will enjoy you more when you are yourself and not some person you pretend to be. Others will feel comfortable in your presence. They won’t feel pressured to be someone they are not, you will be a nice breath of fresh air to them. Any person ever interviewing you for a job will be ecstatic to finally meet someone out of their hundred interviewees that stands out. Someone that has a unique personality that potential customers would enjoy. People enjoy authenticity. Just think of it yourself, isn’t there a person you love running into because they are so unique and uplifting to be around? They are the kind of people that can make your day just being themselves and restore your faith in humanity. When you are yourself, you become a sought-after commodity in jobs, social functions, friendships, and countless other areas in life. Originality is a scarce commodity in this world. You will be valued when you live life the right way expressing your true self to the outside world.

“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.”

-Neil Gaiman

There might not be any greater explanation of what it means to be yourself than that quote.

Through this journey of becoming your true self, you will gain a lot of courage. It is no easy task to go against the crowd and to stand out. It is easier to blend in with the group and make no noise. It takes guts to show your authentic self to the world. I know firsthand how it feels to be tested on your journey to being yourself when I joined the fraternity.

Thankfully through this great struggle, I found great friends who appreciated me for who I was and supported me to keep being my unique self. Through these trying times of becoming myself, people eventually admired my courage to not take the easy road out and give in. It’s funny because the same people that would make fun of me were the same people that told me before they graduated how much they appreciated me for just being myself. You’ve got to beat the crap out of the diamond before it begins to shine. Find good people to surround you during your journey to being yourself. They will be your lifelong friends that will always be in your corner.

Activity

Say and do what comes to your mind and not what you think other people will want from you. Spend your free time doing things you secretly enjoy. Surround yourself with unique people who will encourage you to be yourself.

Reveal yourself. Be your weird self for a week and see how it feels to be your natural self.

 

 

Exercise 12

Do you believe that it is important to be yourself? Why or why not?

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

Does the way you treat others reflect who you are as a person?

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

How can you act more like yourself when interacting with others?

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

For the rest of today and tomorrow follow your gut and be yourself. Write about how it made you feel.

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s