Last week, I hosted a public speaking workshop with my class. We discussed the fears and hesitation to speak in public; how your mouth goes dry, you ramble a little too quickly, or your knees wobble just a little bit with everyone word. Then, as we talked about solutions, one thing that kept standing out to me was, “Just be you.”
Seems like a simple enough statement, but it’s a statement that can be difficult to many. In being ourselves we have to be vulnerable, we have to accept all the good and the bad about ourselves, and be okay with it. Whether speaking in public or just living life, being ourselves can be the most difficult thing imaginable.
How does one just “be” themselves?
I think back to all of the years I was trying to be someone else. Like I mentioned in an earlier blog, these were my days of trying to fit in; I was trying to wear GAP sweaters in my youth or leather jackets in my mid-twenties, in hopes of being someone or something I wasn’t. Until one day, I had a realization that I could achieve the greatest version of me by just BEING me.
Accepting my flaws isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t mean I’m not trying to better myself every day in working on some of these flaws. However, being self-aware is the key to this accepting of one’s self. For example, I know I’m an emotional person who tends to have a short fuse somedays, so I have learned to work with that. When people or situations make me angry, I no longer react impulsively and blow in frustration; instead, I take a walk, clear my head, get someone to edit a response, or just really focus on the “why” and how can I fix this.
In the process of building self-awareness, I have developed a great understanding of myself. An understanding of who I am and who I want to be, and am settling into it more each day. There’s great comfort in knowing who you are and an even greater strength that comes along with it. The strength comes in the choice of just being you. And, do you know what’s great? It’s a lot less work to just be yourself rather than trying to be things you aren’t.
Here comes the fork in the road…
Of course, with the process of realization, you also come to a fork in the road with some aspects of your life. In settling into your own skin, you’ll see the people that accept you and absolutely love you for it, and you’ll see the people that it will make uncomfortable. You’ll start to notice the things you do that make you genuinely happy, and the things you were doing to please others. It becomes not just about being you, but also about aligning everything in your life with your genuine self as well.
The risks are worth it, because the people who are meant to be there will stay. You will be more comfortable in your own skin (in whatever you choose to do). And you’ll have so much more energy to live while you’re not draining yourself to be what you’re not.
Good luck on your mission to just be yourself, it’s a pretty darn good one.