“Just be yourself.”
How many times have you heard that old treasure?
I’ve said it; it’s been said to me. It’s usually doled out right before a big interview or presentation when you’re on the verge of flop sweat. As if the panic state is ideal for a deep dive into selfhood followed by an examination of how said selfhood should manifest in terms of behavior.
No, no, no.
This is work for another day. A chamomile tea, Yanni, and meditation kind of a day.
Besides, how can this advice help when you have about 1,300 versions of yourself?
They show up when they please with varied agendas, life views, and feelings about your hair. You’ve got the responsible version who folds the laundry. And the one who doesn’t. You’ve got the Friday version who hums gleefully and marvels at roadside flowers on the way to work. And the Monday version who grumbles at the tyranny of the five-day workweek during a seemingly flowerless commute.
The wisdom of the ages is needed to fully unpack the you-ness that is you. And when panic is breathing down your spine, you don’t need the wisdom of the ages. You need the wisdom of the right-this-second.
Adjectives to the rescue!
A nifty modifier can wrangle in the bigness of the noun self, transforming your advice from esoteric and airy-fairy to grounded and actionable in a sweet second.
Find an adjective that fits the situation, and go with it. Just be your ambitious self. Just be your cheerful self. Just be your sarcastic self.
It’s strange how something so simple can lead to such focus. I mean, we know we should be confident before heading into an interview, but sometimes our heads are so filled with doubt we forget we have confident selves at all.
When someone tells you to be your confident self, it affirms this version of you exists. That can be enough to conjure it up and crowd out the doubt.
Of all the selves I’ve been and met, the weird ones are by far my favorite.
So, here’s a little advice to you from me—as often as life allows, just be your weirdest self.
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