"Just be yourself." How many times have all of us heard that one? Think of the times you've heard it yourself; a job interview, meeting someone for the first time, a school play, or any time you've had to speak in front of others, regardless of who or how many people are around. I'm sure simply hearing those three words causes stomach knots for some of us. Question is, why? Why do people say that to begin with and why does it bother some of us, while there are others who have no problem with it at all? I think the answer lies not in what others think of us but how we feel about ourselves.
If the foundation of our soul is based on truth, honor, integrity, love, faith, and respect for ourselves and for others, then when we are faced with situations that test the ability to "be ourself" and meet the challenges life throws at us is easy. You already know then what happens if the qualities and values you possess are opposite of those. Failure. Failure to move forward, to succeed, to be a winner.
It's not easy though. I have a good friend from Kansas I grew up with who is also one of my Facebook friends. Shortly after I graduated from the paralegal program at the University of California San Diego, I was headed to my first job interview. I remember what she said on my Facebook wall. "Just be yourself Gus." It was at that MOMENT I had this thought come to mind. If she had said that three years ago, I would have been in panic mode. Why? Because at that time I wasn't who God intended me to be. I was mired in a life full of hiding from the truth, and most of all, hiding from God. But at that moment she said those words, I had complete confidence in myself I would be fine that day. And it wasn't just because of how much my life has changed. It was also because I quit trying long ago to pretend to be anyone else but who I am; a man that values honesty, a positive attitude, humility, and respect for others.
I've seen people live and act the opposite, including friends and family. Having "been there and done that", I can say with absolute certainty what happens when they hear the words "just be yourself." Their minds start playing tricks on them. Deep down inside, they KNOW who they really are but, for whatever reason; peer pressure, personal problems, or whatever, they become conflicted inside. This leads to a lack of confidence and anxiety. Those people are therefore simply unable to meet life's challenges that we all face. For those who are fortunate enough to have the qualities they need to be successful instilled in them when they were young, there's always HOPE.
I've said many times that happiness, serenity, and peace of mind starts within ourselves. If there's something wrong in our world, we need to look into ourselves first and if there's something there that's not right, then we change it. Once we do that, then our "outside world" will change for the better. "Being ourself" is the end result of this process. The one God intended us to be. Each of us are unique souls, each of us are given abilities and attributes unlike anyone else in this world. If we recognize our strengths, play to them, learn from our mistakes, and move forward in a positive way, then "being ourself" is a snap. We come out winners every time!
I'm going to close this post with a text "conversation" I had with my daughter today. I haven't blogged about her much lately but now may be the time. Her story is long, too long to go into all the detail, but I will tell you she made the choice to move to Virginia this past August to finish her senior year of high school because she wasn't happy back in Kansas. Here's the "conversation" in a nutshell…..
"Dad? I'm not happy. I wish you could be here around me to witness all that is happening!! And I wish you could see how much I hurt." I told her I was sorry. She said "I just hope one of us will be happy in the end." I replied: "We all will be. Happiness starts from within ourselves though. I've found other people, places, and possessions don't do it. That's just icing!" She then said, "I don't even care about those things. I just want people around me who truly love and accept me. I just can't FIND that." I went on to tell her she would be shocked at just how many people do care about her, good people. Then I said, "I'm really sorry to hear this. My only advice is be and act like the young girl you used to be. JUST BE YOURSELF. The one God loves. That's all you have to do! He'll do all the rest!"
Her response then was, "I know, I miss you!" Finally, I closed with this comment, "You will be okay. God's taken you this far. Put your life, faith, and trust in Him. He gave us only ONE thing as humans. Free will. The power to choose right over wrong. Good over bad. Choose wisely and His PROMISE then is to never give up on us! So, don't give up and do right!" Her final answer? "Yes, sir!"
I pray you choose wisely as well.