Just Be Your (Best) Self
The other day I was telling a deep-thinking friend about how I just needed to be more comfortable being myself. This is the advice we always hear, isn’t it? In dating, in job interviews, anywhere where we feel someone will judge us. We hear ‘just be yourself and everything will turn out okay.’
After I spoke, my friend, in his deep-thinking way, was silent for a moment, then said “I don’t actually agree with that.”
“What?” Isn’t that what we’re always told we’re supposed to be? Ourselves?
“There are ways that we can be ourselves that don’t serve us,” my friend explained. “Your insecurity doesn’t actually serve you, but that’s part of your self.”
Well, he had a point. After some thought, I realized that the way to be, rather than just ‘ourselves’ is to be our best selves. On dates, we don’t want to be our insecure selves, our angry selves, or our petty selves, though those are all parts of most of us. We want to be our best selves: balanced, open, discerning. In job interviews, we don’t want to be our desperate, insecure, or greedy selves, though those are all parts of most of us, too. We want to be our best selves: intelligent, poised, competent. When people suggest ‘just be yourself’, they aren’t suggesting that we give rein to those parts of our selves that operate as the child in each of us, grasping, acting out, stubborn, and reactive. Though those parts are ourselves just as much as our open, honest, kind, and light-filled selves.
In short, we need to be discerning in the selves that we choose to be. And we need to work with the parts of ourselves that don’t serve us, to find out what they’re trying to tell us so that those parts can dissipate and lose the power they have to derail us, to send us into yet another tailspin.
When I’m my best self, I can still sense the parts of me that are insecure, afraid, controlling, or angry, but those parts aren’t in ascendance. They have very little control over my actions, though they may continue to whisper in my ear. Like a parent with a child who is in need, I can hear their messages and choose not to escalate their emotions, while providing, to the best of my ability, what they need to feel safer.
One of my goals in life is to surround myself with the situations and people that support my best self rather than the ones that inflame the parts of me that don’t serve me. I don’t just want to be myself. I want be a particular sort of self: my BEST self.
What about you? What is your best self, and what are the situations and people that bring it forth? And can you have more of those in your life?
Email me!honey_b_temple (at) yahoo (dot) com
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Words of Wisdom
Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.— Joseph Campbell
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