How to Be True to Yourself 

Hi friends!

I’ve been working on this post off and on for quite some time, so I’m excited to finally share this with you. The past few months have included a lot of change for me – job changes, moving, engagement, wedding planning, family obligations, etc., and I’d be lying if I said it’s been smooth sailing! Thoughout these months however, I’ve had an important lightbulb moment that I think might be helpful for some of you.

That realization in summary is that so many of us (including me!) spend way too much time focused on pleasing other people and being “the person” other people want us to be. We loose sight of our authentic selves and our goals and life plans end up intertwined in the expectations placed on us by others. But the fault lies not on those who place expectations on us that don’t align with our true identity. The fault lies on ourselves for accepting those expectations as our own.

Let’s Rewind

Throughout my childhood, I often heard from my mom four particular words. Be true to yourself. These words would come most often when I struggled to make a decision. I would tell my mom how torn I was, how I felt like I had to choose one friend over another or how I wasn’t sure how to move forward with something because I knew it was the right thing to do but that it would make someone else upset.

As a child, I was super concerned about upsetting other people — family, friends or teachers. But I also had a strong sense of self. I knew exactly when I didn’t believe in something. So in those moments, when I was torn between upholding my integrity and maintaining my relationships, my mom would always say those four words. It is something that has stuck with me, something I hear replay in my mind all the time.

Fast Forward to the Present

I reflected on this advice and had my lightbulb moment when I stumbled across a TedTalk, “The art of being yourself” by Caroline McHugh. McHugh talks about how easily we get wrapped up in what others think of us. It made me realize how often I am concerned with what other people are thinking and how other people are feeling, that I often lose sight of my own thoughts and feelings. My desire to please other people can be damaging when it means I am not maintaining my authenticity; when I am not remaining true to myself. Of course, there are times when our thoughts and feelings must take the back seat, like if a loved one is sick and wishes to be taken care of in a way that we would not have chosen.

But all too often we function on auto-pilot and put the thoughts and feelings of our friends and family at the forefront.  We let their vision of who we are dictate our lives, and we loose that clarity we once had as a child. When that happens we risk loosing touch of who we are. And as Caroline points out, we cannot be content with ourselves when we do not know what rings true in our hearts.

Almost in synchronicity, soon after I watched McHugh’s video, Will sent me an article, “Why We Love Ourselves But Care More About Other People’s Opinons.” It discusses how we place more importance on other people’s opinions than on our own opinions. We seek acceptance from others, and in many ways it’s natural to do so. But as I’ve mentioned, we loose contentment with ourselves when we don’t place enough importance on our own thoughts or we shy away from being true to ourselves.

So what?!

This revelation may seem irrelevant to some of you. It may seem like a no-brained. I may also sound like a crazy person. But the important thing isn’t my lightbulb moment. It’s figuring out where I go from here, and how to stay in touch with my authentic self.

I’ve realized just how much I overthink what I’m doing. I wonder what people will think. I question whether or not people truly understand me. I question whether or not I unintentionally offended someone. And I’ve realized how much extra stress that puts in my life and how much time it takes out of my day to day life.

My goal now is to recognize those moments when I am overthinking things and redirect my thoughts into a positive direction. I reaffirm my authenticity, but reflecting on the things that align with my true nature and letting go of the things that are not me.

It’s unfortunate we live in a society where individuality and differences aren’t celebrated more; where so many people copy each other and accept someone else’s identity as their own. We should aim to be more accepting of different people’s thoughts and not expect everyone (including close family and friends) to live or think the same way we do.

Authenticity is a quality of high importance to me. I look for it in the people I surround myself with. I know this post may seem idealistic, but I hope some of you can relate.

Cheers to YOU!

Sarah Camille

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16 Replies to “How to Be True to Yourself ”

  1. Great post. But it is not easy to be true to ourselves when you are not sure who that person is anymore. Over a period of time everyone changes, including us, making wonder where and how we lost track of what we wanted to be or what we were. Well, now I am just thinking aloud.

    Like you said, stopping worrying what others might say or think about would be a great start though.

    Gayathri @ Musings Over Nothing

  2. Oh Yes! I totally track with your post! I just worked through an issue where there was a misunderstanding between myself and the contributor to my latest post. It was such a struggle I had to work through, which was rooted in the very thing you are talking about here. The experience is definitely helping me to blossom more into being secure in my own authenticity. And, ya know, when we are authentic, it gives those around us permission to be authentic as well. I love how that works. Love your post!! Thanks!

  3. I had a huge battle about this with my parents. They expected me to be someone I wasn’t anymore and made plans and assumptions based on this other person they expected me to be. I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them so I tried to be that person until it was just too much. It was hard to get them to see the real me and sometimes I’m not sure they entirely do but we manage.

    1. That sounds rough! I think family is most often the ones to make those kinds of assumptions, but as you point out it makes it really hard to avoid disppointing them when the cost of that is your own authenticity. Thanks for stopping by!!

  4. I couldn’t agree with these points more… I wish I could be overthinking less as well… it’s an annoying yet positive trait that I have…

  5. Love this as a goal:
    “My goal now is to recognize those moments when I am overthinking things and redirect my thoughts into a positive direction. I reaffirm my authenticity, but reflecting on the things that align with my true nature and letting go of the things that are not me.”

    I could start using it as my own!

  6. I understand your point so much! I always analyse what others think… project my thoughts onto them and then act in a way that fits what I think they will think and it’s exhausting and never actually true!

  7. Love this so much! I too place WAY too much emphasis on what others may think of me instead of being true to myself. I am working really hard to this!!

  8. Love this! It immediately made me think of the song with the lyrics “Got to be true to myself” (that may be the title but I honestly don’t know). It’s hard to be true to yourself when everyone else seems to be only out for their own gain. But that’s ok, stick with bring true to yourself and you will always feel confident in your decisions!

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