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Why is it important to be yourself?

What’s wrong with fitting in and being someone who everyone likes?

Isn’t other people’s perception of you important too?

It’s especially important for empaths to be true to themselves.

If you have an empath like me, you will find it tough to be yourself in front of others. And it’s not because you are inauthentic. It’s because you are so in tune with how other people feel that you find it’s your responsibility to protect other people’s feelings.

But being too empathetic may end up with you sacrificing and burying your authentic self. You may start to become someone others want you to be instead of who you truly are, without even realizing it. Eventually, this may lead to frustration and you may not even know why is this so.

There is nothing wrong with fitting in. But when it becomes overboard that you start to please others and seek approval constantly, you are going to neglect your authentic self. Everyone has their own path. Their path may not be right for you, so you need to consult your own heart and soul.

Being who you are doesn’t just benefit you, it benefits others too.

Furthermore, other people’s perception is based on their past programming and conditioning. If you worry too much about what other people think of you, then you are living in their reality, not yours. You are unique for a reason. Not only you deny the opportunity for others to know the real you, but there’s also something you can do which other people can’t do. By not being in tune with that, means the world is going to miss out on your contribution.

Being true to yourself not only helps you in relationships, business, and make you feel better, it also helps others too.

The Benefits and Importance of Being True to Yourself

1. It helps you gain clarity about yourself.

The more you be yourself, the clearer you know about yourself. You don’t have to know everything about yourself to be yourself. Discovering yourself is an ongoing process in life. It requires you to be aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

When you are honest with yourself, you will find it easier to identify your preferences.

  • Do you prefer to stay at home or go out for parties?
  • Do new things and ideas excite you or do you prefer to accumulate things?
  • Are you more concerned with other people’s feelings or being correct?

Not only that, but it also allows you to see your level of preferences. For example, how much socialization can you take before it exhausts you? How much alone time can you take before you need to meet people again? With this information about yourself, you can then set boundaries. This can only be achieved when you are fully in touch with yourself. And because your preferences may change over time, being real with yourself allows you to update the knowledge about your current self.

Tell you where to go next.

If you have no idea what your purpose and passion is, then you haven’t been true to yourself. A part of you (most probably your conscious mind) is still filtering what’s right for you now. Instead of asking others what you should do and get lost in a sea of different opinions, really look inside yourself and be honest with what comes up.

You will always find the answer you need if you dig deep and be true to yourself.

2. It helps you attract the right people into your life.

Most of us have this tendency to associate ourselves with people who are similar to us or have the same worldview as us. Think of the adage, “Birds of a feather flock together”. When we are with people who we perceive to be like us, our beliefs are reaffirmed, our identity gets strengthened and we feel a sense of belonging. This makes us feels good.

But if we pretend to be someone we are not, then we end up attracting people who are unlike us. Is that what we really want?

Being authentic makes life easier.

I don’t know about you. But I find it’s much harder to be someone else. It doesn’t feel natural and it’s effortful. Previously, I tried to write animation blog posts. I felt miserable because I was required to be technical and write something I wasn’t interested in. I prefer to share insights about humans than writing technical “how-to” posts.

I know this blog is not going to attract everyone. Not everyone will value my message and my conversational writing style, but that’s okay. I would rather be myself and attract the right audience than be someone I’m not and attract the wrong audience who I’m not motivated to help.

3. It helps you appreciate differences.

From an individual’s perspective, being authentic requires you to accept both your strengths and weaknesses. But from a group’s perspective, being authentic isn’t just about showing your own personality to the world, it’s about accepting and respecting other’s people personalities too.

Authenticity is not meant for creating separation.

It’s not used for judging other people. People may misunderstand the second point, thinking that attracting the right people means the other people are of no good. Just because people have different preferences and perception don’t mean they are bad. There is no one personality that is better than the other. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, our core is all the same. Just that our approaches are different.

Part of being authentic is to let others know you are not perfect and it’s okay to have flaws. In fact, letting others know your weaknesses gives them the opportunity to help you with something you are bad at. By accepting and open with your own weakness, it also allows others to be more open with theirs. We could then help each other by using our strengths. That’s the importance of authenticity.

4. It helps you be more aware of your emotions.

As someone with an INFJ personality type, the extraverted feeling is my secondary function. I have this natural instinct for understanding other people’s emotions and the group’s dynamics. But when it comes to my own emotions, I’m actually not as aware as I thought I was. I mean if you can understand how other people feel, sure you can understand how you feel, right?

Wrong! It was not until I had depression last year that I realized I had so little awareness of my own emotions. There were signs which were telling me that I was going downhill, but I either brushed them aside or didn’t think it was important enough for me to stop and examine them. And the breaking point is when I denied my hurt feelings.

How can you deal with your emotions when you don’t acknowledge their existence?

Like what I said in the previous post, being authentic is more about being honest to your inner world than to the outer world. Basically, I wasn’t authentic enough with what I feel and I wasn’t brave enough to face the truth.

Now that I know the consequences of being inauthentic with my feelings, I take good care of my emotional well-being. In fact, my primary objective in life is to remain peaceful. You can learn a lot about your emotions when you are honest with them. Now, I’m able to tell how my body reacts to different emotions and are more aware of my emotions.

5. It helps you to love yourself.

Can you love yourself without being true to yourself? If you need to pretend to be someone you are not so that other people love you. Or you need to reach a certain stage in your life before you can love yourself, then that is conditional love. Conditional love is not true love. What you love is that desired image of yourself, not your authentic self.

If that desired image of you cease to exist one day, will you still love yourself?

Inauthenticity isn’t true love.

Loving yourself requires you to be genuine to yourself and accept everything about yourself. There will be times when your thoughts are negative. There will be times when you feel emotional pains. And times when you will make mistakes. But as long as you are able to admit your mistakes and forgive yourself, then loving yourself will be easy.

For those of us who rather maintain our self-image and run away from our mistakes, we are going to hold onto the guilt and suffering much longer than those who are willing, to be honest with themselves and let go of their mistakes.

Aligning to truth makes you feel open and expansive while running away from the truth makes you feel tired and disconnected. And you have a choice to be true to yourself or not.

Featured Photo Credit: peaceful / Andréa Portilla