What It Means to Be Yourself

We have all heard the statement “just be yourself” many times. And it’s easy to say, but what does it really mean?


As we grow up, the expectations of society and the people around us exert an influence on our identity. We start to worry what others might think of us and constantly wonder whether we are doing the right thing.


Sometimes these expectations blur the line between who we are and what society expects from us, but our true self is “who we really are when we let go of all of the stories, labels, and judgments that we have placed upon ourselves. It is who we naturally are without the masks and pretentiousness.”

pretoria girl writes _ ilka steyn

For me, my biggest goal in life is to be free; to keep moving forward in life and grow into the best version of myself. So, how can you be the person you are meant to be regardless of society and its expectations? Here are three ways that have helped me in finding my true self.



Whether it’s shaped through our religion or culture, we all have a built-in set of values that we believe in and use as a compass when making decisions. So when we lose touch with these values, we lose touch with our true self and our decision-making process is then driven by society’s standards.


To truly be yourself, it’s important that you identify those values and try to live according to them. When we compromise our values to fit in, we violate the relationship with the person who we really are.



Over-thinking things can be the biggest cause of your unhappiness. And trust me, it’s impossible to just stop these thoughts. But as you become aware of your quality of thinking, you will learn to let them come and go without getting attached.


The truth is, being yourself is extremely difficult if you believe you’re undeserving (which isn’t true). Make it habit to remind yourself of positive feelings you have about yourself as a person.


Many times, when I find myself in a negative situation, I remind myself out loud that I have a purpose or things aren’t necessarily as bad as it seems. If you give yourself the approval that you deserve, your identity won’t rely on outside sources.



For me, this is the most important factor in being your true self. Society has conditioned our thinking patterns and beliefs so that we do what is expected from us.


Your true self is the person who wants to do something that is supposedly (or so you have convinced yourself) frowned upon. Your intuition is that recurring thought that reminds you of what you really want to do, big or small.


If you feel the urge to phone that friend or take a different route to work, do it! It’s small steps like these that will eventually teach you to also trust and follow your intuition with bigger things in life.


Once you understand this, it becomes easier to connect with and live as your true self.

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