In your lifetime, how many times have you heard the phrase “be yourself”? it must be a lot since it’s apparently everyone’s go-to advice. We couldn’t exactly blame them since “be yourself” is just so versatile you could use it in basically any situation wherein someone is asking for advice: a friend nervous about their first interview, a sibling going on a date, a young cousin anxious about their first day at school. In all these situations and a lot more, when you say “be yourself” followed by some words that’ll make it seem like you actually burned and sacrificed a few brain cells thinking about it, you might end up having the “caring friend/sibling” badge.
When you hear “be yourself”, what comes into your mind? Do you picture yourself doing it, being yourself? if so, which version of yourself? Do you even remember what yourself actually is or is it buried way too deep underneath the versions of your “self” you’ve created that you cannot remember what or how it is? You see, determining one’s self is actually one of the hardest things to do since we all have created various versions of ourselves; one with strangers, with acquaintances, with friends, in school, with relatives, with parents, with siblings, with significant others, and the other one, when we’re alone.
You’d think that your true self is how you are when you’re alone, I used to think that way too but that changed when I realized the way I think has been changed; influenced by other people, like when you go to school wearing a new top you loved so much but on your way to class, a person you value says it “looks unpleasant” and you ended up not wearing that top again and letting it sit at the back of your closet. Those simple words changed your perspective, it changed you and a bit of their judgement has been instilled in you. This happens in a lot of aspects. It’s like a piece of the jigsaw puzzle that makes up one whole, who we really are and each of those puzzle piece is a bit of everything, the people around us, what we read in the novels and magazines, what we saw on our social medias and our peers, the songs we listen to, what we hear, see, touch, smell, and taste.
All of these factors make up who you are and each person around you knows a version of yourself like your friends know you as an outgoing person while your professors know you as a shy type, the cashier in the grocery store knows you as the person who always buys ice cream while the barista in your favorite coffee shop knows you as the person who hates whipped cream. It’s the little things that make us who we are. It’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us our “self.”
Each of these factors that make up who we are changes constantly and we are on an endless drive to improve ourselves. We always strive to be better and that’s why we learn and adapt to what we think is an upgrade from what we already have. So being “yourself” will always have the question “which self?” Tagged along with it, which version of ourselves? With all the new things we are bound to encounter, a lot of changes on who we really are will happen and with the constant change looming in the corner, it’s better to make the most of what you have, what you are right now; the one who has learned from experience and mistakes and the one who is willing to venture into something new and learn from it. Be your best self.