All we hear nowadays is how we need to “be ourselves.” But how do we do this in a world filled with societal expectations and social media comparisons? How do we be ourselves and strive and work towards the best version of what we can become?
Who Are You?
Most of our lives nowadays are reflected through online interactions. Yet, despite being more connected, we are more alone than ever before. Extensive research on social media's effect on our lives indicates that it's a culprit behind disrupted sleep, lower life satisfaction, and poor self-esteem.
The disconnect we experience from our online lives trickles into real life by looking for validation outside of ourselves and not being fully present in our day-to-day lives.
When you're too busy worrying about what people think, you lose sight of the things that truly matter to you. Not only that, subconsciously, your behavior will change to where you feel you'll be more accepted by others.
So How To Overcome This?
“You help to make each day a special day by just you being yourself. There's nobody else in the whole world who's exactly like you.”
First, it's essential to understand that some level of self-doubt is normal. But continuous negative self-talk and focusing on what's absent (e.g., online likes) can be detrimental and hold us back.
To be authentically you always means not being bothered by anything happening outside of you.
The next question is how not to be bothered and overcome the negativity that hinders us.
A few things can help ground you and bring you back to yourself.
1. Check-in With Your People
Talk to those who know you best, and ask them questions that you ask yourself.
The way we see ourselves is different than how others see us. Receiving feedback from those closest to us is a great way to put yourself back into perspective.
2. Give Yourself Some Space
Take a breather when you're bogged down with doubt, questions, or confusion.
The reality is that we are constantly changing, growing, adapting, and learning about ourselves. So your choices today won't be the same as a few years ago, and the same goes in the future. So, if the answers don't come to you immediately, don't worry about it. It's fine. You will be fine, and you will figure it out.
3. Leave Comparison Behind
It's natural to compare yourself to others; however, doing so is a happiness killer; you'll get nothing out of it and lose focus of your own path.
Rather than compare, remind yourself that your path is different than anyone else's, and you'll get to where you need to be in your own time. You don't need to change or stop being yourself because you are trying to achieve what others have. You can still get there; it will just be on your own path.
4. Write Down How Awesome You Are
When you're focused on what you don't have, you lose sight of what you do. Get a journal and start a list.
Jot down everything you have accomplished, what is unique about you and your life, and what's going right. Keep this list handy. Make it an active document. When you're having a bad day, take it out and re-read it. Add to it when you can.
Doing this is not some arrogant exercise in boosting your ego. We are our worst enemies; unless you see yourself as the badass you already are, it's tough to hold your head up and let your true self shine through. This is the written version of self-affirmations.
5. Stop Defining Yourself by Your Mistakes
How many have overanalyzed a situation in your head and then mentally kicked themselves for not having done better? How many have felt terrible afterward for a long time?
You Are Not Alone.
It's hard, but remind yourself that as much as you agonize over what someone thinks, they likely have already moved on and forgotten about it.
It's also important to take each new thing as it comes and do your best to handle it in a way that is true to yourself. Don't let past mistakes define how you move forward.
6. Ignore the Noise & Focus On Your Goals
When you stop worrying about what people think, you'll suddenly have plenty of time on your hands. Use it to focus on yourself.
Define your short and long-term goals. Create a vision for where you want your life to go, and set about making it happen, or continue pushing onward with a refreshed focus.
Don't wait for anyone to accomplish what you want in life. Your goals are uniquely you. It's nice to have cheerleaders in your corner, but the more you try to do something new or different, the fewer people there will be who continue to applaud your efforts. It's important to realize that this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their lack of understanding about what you're trying to accomplish.
7. Ask Yourself These Questions
We often get so caught up in what others think that we forget to ask what we believe.
- Are you living a life that you like to tell people about and share?
- Are you proud of your friends?
- Are you happy with your job? Are you content with your decisions?
- Are you taking steps to improve upon what you aren't happy or proud of?
Take some time to reflect and answer these questions.
Your opinion here is the only one that matters.
8. Accept Your Appearance
A significant source of unhappiness is how we look, and the beauty industry is not shy to tell us that we don't look right.
The best thing anyone can do to be their best selves is to accept what they have.
Yes, you can make changes to be healthy, take care of your skin, and get into a routine that makes you feel good about yourself. But don't make permanent changes based on an outside definition of beauty.
Don't try to change your appearance; highlight what you already have.
Because what you have is already amazing.
Life is imperfect, as are all humans. What makes you, you is the unique set of positives and negatives you have in your life.
Rather than trying to alter things so that they match up to other people or so that your life mirrors that of someone you think has it better than you, take a step back and re-evaluate. Defining and being yourself is only long-lasting and truthful if it comes from within and reflects your own life and goals.
So rather than conform, stand out, and embrace the differences, don't let the world define you. Instead, define yourself and show everyone who you are.
There is only one you, with your experiences, life, knowledge, and personality quirks. Outside validation, or lack thereof, doesn't change who you are.
“Be you. Everyone else is already taken”
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Featured image credit: Shutterstock.
Sanjana is a physician anesthesiologist, avid traveler, and entrepreneur. She founded The Female Professional in order to give women a voice, a community, and provide resources to help them overcome hurdles and achieve success.
With her experiences as a physician, as a CEO of a startup, and as a writer, she understands the struggles and frustrations that women face. She also understands what it takes to move past those things and come out on top.
Through this platform, Sanjana aims to empower women to be their best, authentic, selves, achieve work/life balance, and live life to the fullest.