Updated: May 21
"Just be you" three little words that can sound beautiful and inspiring or simply annoying.
First of all, let me confess...I don't think "just be you" is the worst advice ever. That is more of a catchy headline.
I do believe that "just be you" is not the greatest advice. It's superficial and it lacks a lot of details. It's like giving someone a golden key and telling them that the golden key will give them access to a lifetime of health and good fortune, while at the same time not giving them any clues where to find the door that the golden key will unlock.
Last year I attended a conference where the keynote speaker ended his speech with this line "whatever you do, just be you". I looked around the room and I could see that most people had no idea what to do with that statement.
Do you really know how to be you?
If you do, you are blessed, be sure to be grateful for that amazing gift every single day. For the rest of us that have not yet figured it out, we march on..
My focus in this blog is on the meaning of being yourself, how to know you are evolving into your true self, and what actions to take to get to know yourself better every day.
In order to provide meaning to the words "just be you", I will share with you my story of how I forgot how to be me.
If it resonates with you, my hope is that it will give you some awareness and guidance to find your path to self discovery.
My story (as it relates to learning to just be me)
If you have read some of my other blogs you are aware of my story, to recap for this purpose. I grew up in a beach town in Portugal and moved to Canada when I was 10. When I lived in Portugal I was very aware of what brought me joy. It was the simplest things. It was playing with sticks, making random things with leaves, watching sand run threw my hands, building sand mansions (I never did build castles, I designed homes), making foot prints in the mud, riding my bike, playing make believe, and putting on plays for the neighbours. I was in my flow, I was innocent. It never even dawned on me to judge what I was enjoying in any way.
Once I moved to Canada, I payed attention to what other people enjoyed...or at least what they said was enjoyable. What I heard was that playing sports, skiing, skating, singing, dancing, gymnastics, martial arts.. these were cool activities, these were the things to enjoy. Now, the problem was I did not enjoy any of these activities. Sure I learned to fit in as best I could and pretend I enjoy it. As much as I could fool others, I could not fool myself. What I felt on the inside was that there was something wrong with me because if did not enjoy, nor was I good at the activities that others enjoyed.
Later in life, when I worked in corporate, I feared the question "what do you do for fun?" By this point in my life, I had no idea what I enjoyed so I just distracted myself by watching TV. Somehow it seemed lame to answer the question above with "I watch TV". So I would make something up that once again would allow me to fit in.
As a result of trying to fit in, I lost touch with my true self, my innocent self. I forgot how to just be me.
I didn't wake up one day and decide today is the day I will just be me. It has been a journey, a journey of self discovery that I have been on for almost a decade. First, I had to gain the awareness that I was not being true and authentic to myself. It was in that awareness that I was able to take the steps to discover what it means to just be me.
Overtime, I have learned that self discovery is a process and it requires a daily practice in order for us to evolve into our true selves.
4 Daily Practices to Learn How to Just be You
Stop trying to fit in with others - As long as you are focused on fitting in, your attention is not on yourself.
Stop comparing yourself to others - Comparison is the root of all unhappiness. You won't see your magnificence if you are looking in the wrong direction.
Be compassionate to yourself - When you fall back to old habits, give yourself the compassion you would give a little child that has just made a mistake.
Forgive yourself - Accept that you are human and choose progress over perfection. Forgive yourself and keep going on your journey.
The best I can describe what it means to just be me right now is: a human being full of curiosity, learning to experience my ego expression along with my soul expression, a great listener, a nature lover, a compassionate being, a creative being...more to come I am sure as I continue to evolve.
The journey to being able to authentically describe myself this way started ironically in the depths of pain. It was during my search for relief from the anxiety, that I started to meet the people that would lead me to find the resources I needed to discover my true self.
Some people I met in person and some I read their books or watched their videos. Each new concept, new idea, new awareness built one on top of another and over time I started to remember and appreciate who I really am. By no means am I done, I have only just began this journey.
I look forward to learning more about my true self, but most of all I look forward to living more of my time in my true self, acting from a place of kindness, fearlessness and gentleness. I know that I am only able to be myself when I can let go of all the baggage I have accumulated along the way.
I believe that to be you, you have to release and let go of all the gunk that is not you. Think of it like peeling away all the layers that have dried up and are no longer of any use.
The way I have done this is by reading, listening to podcasts, watching youtube videos, working one on one with healers, coaches and mentors. We live in a digital age where so much information is readily available, and so much of it is free.
I credit some very special individuals that I have worked with one on one and I equally credit many individuals that I have never met. They have all inspired me to make so many positive changes in my life.
I found that in the early years of my journey I just went from one book to another, simply because one author would refer to another author. It seemed like all the right books that I needed showed up in sequence just as I needed them.
My point is that there is so much support available, if you really want to be you, and be the best version of yourself, you can. The first step is simply having the desire to rediscover yourself.
As I said at the start of this blog, I attended a seminar where the keynote speaker ended his speech with "whatever you do, just be you". That inspired me to plan a keynote speech of my own. I plan to start with "just be you" and end with this very statement "be the best you that you can be right now, no judgement".
What do you feel when you hear the words "just be you"? Share your insights in the comment section below. If this blog resonates with you, please share it below on any of your social platforms.
Wishing you love, joy and peace,