Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Good Advice

How many times has someone told you to 'just be yourself' and assured you that everything would be fine? How many times have you given that advice to another?

I heard that phrase multiple times each year I headed into a new school or a new setting. I was the quiet one, the introvert who watched more than participated. Somehow, being myself required that I be more outspoken. Or simply spoke more. Not going to happen. I'm not sure the speaker knew myself well. Being myself often was painful because others didn't approve or like or notice who I was.

Now that I'm older, and presumably wiser, I have an extremely different view of the advice to 'be yourself.' First, I've grown to accept the introvert within me, even to the point of honoring her and holding her close. I've learned how to be myself in the midst of a group and have many friends. My introvert self is bookish and has a wicked sharp wit and tongue. People laugh at my one-liners and find my stories pleasant to hear. Those are all facets of me that thrived within the introvert self.

'Be yourself' is incredibly rich and difficult advice. Our culture, although it holds particular strong individuals in high esteem, encourages us to be more alike than different. From a young age, we are taught by adults and peers around us that looking, acting, speaking and being a particular way ~ like the group ~ will gain for us acceptance, protection, affection.

"Who else can you be?" you may well ask. It's not a question of who else I can be, but of how deeply and thoroughly I can hide significant parts of myself ~ parts that put my individuality on display.

It's exciting to get 'be yourself' as my Teabag Tarot' advice today. It gives me a reason to review how much of myself I choose to show, how much I choose to hide, and how thoroughly I know who I am through it all.

How fully do you follow the advice to 'be yourself'? What facets of your personality do you feel a need or desire to hide? With whom can you more fully expose who you are? Where do you find yourself hiding?

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