Go to Top

What Does “Be Yourself” Mean?

Woman wearing maskGot a job interview? Going on a first date? Meeting the in-laws?

Just be yourself!

What does that actually mean, though? Since you can’t be anyone else, this advice doesn’t seem to make sense.

It’s like saying, “Just have skin!”

Obviously the idea is to cultivate relaxation and confidence.

We can train ourselves to physically relax, but we can’t choose not to be nervous, and we can’t just decide to feel proud and happy with ourselves.

We can’t choose how we feel.

But maybe there is a way you can “just be yourself” with confidence.

3 Steps to Your Best Self

1. Evaluate your manners. Are you confident that you know when to say “please” and “thank you”?

If Yes, move on to Step 2.

If  No, find a book on basic etiquette and get to work memorizing the rules.

2. Do you listen at least twice as much as you talk?

If Yes, move on to Step 3.

If No, read one of the many articles available on the Internet about how to be a good listener before your next social appearance.

3. You can relax and be yourself because you’ve got everything you need!

Basic courtesy: Check.

If you’ve mastered appreciation (“please” and “thank you”) you have nothing to fear.

Not knowing which fork to use doesn’t make you look bad; failing to express gratitude when someone helps you with it does.

Listening more than you talk: Check.

All sorts of sins are nullified by the magic of good listening. Everyone loves a listener.

Be your listening self and you will become a “people whisperer.”

Don’t worry about your personality. You are inherently interesting as long as you’re being authentic (as opposed to trying to be someone else).

See my post on Breaking the Cycle of Invisibility if you think you have no personality.

On the other hand, if you worry that you’re overbearing, just make sure to follow the steps above. They’ll smooth out any rough edges and enhance your natural charm.

With the 3 steps in place, you can safely be yourself.

A few more tips for being your best self:

  • Be your classiest self: Avoid foul language outside the company of truck drivers, sailors or rock musicians
  • Be your cleanest self: Practice good hygiene (hair, clothing, teeth, nails, etc.)
  • Be your real self: Avoid using alcohol or other drugs to calm your nerves.
  • Be your most generous self: More than 30 seconds of talking is a monologue. Always aim for dialogue.
  • Be your tallest self: Make good posture a habit for a positive first impression.

Do you have other tips on being yourself? Please share them below!

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting and other resources, and offers assertiveness training and executive coaching for organizations. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."
, , , ,

Leave a Reply