Don’t Be Where You Can’t Be Yourself

January 31, 2019
If you can't be yourself where you are right now, then leave. Doing so will nourish your mental health and protect your most valuable asset: your self-esteem.

Don’t be where you can’t be yourself. Being loyal to your own identity and values and having self-respect is the most important thing. Life is already complicated enough, so you shouldn’t let others affect your self-esteem in order to forcefully make you fit in where you don’t belong and don’t feel good about yourself.

What do we mean when we say “be yourself”? As strange as it may seem, many people still don’t know how to define their personality.

Defining ourselves and knowing our weaknesses and passions is really important as well. This is because defending our essence and appreciating who we are will eventually translate into well-being and vitality.

People usually define themselves by what they do: “I’m a teacher”, “I’m a firefighter”, or “I’m a parent”. However, we’re not just what we do. We’re also what we dream of, what we’ve lived, what we don’t want, and what we expect from life. And all those things deserve to be defended and protected.

A woman with an umbrella.

The challenge of being yourself every day

You may find that you’re hungry for authenticity. You want to be yourself in each decision that you make and you want harmony in each one of your relationships so you don’t have to resort to lies nor give in to things that you don’t like.

However, you almost don’t realize that you’re not being yourself whenever you agree to do things that you don’t feel good about doing. You stop being yourself every time you say “yes” to your partner, relative, or any other person when you actually needed and wanted to say “no”.

Sooner or later, you’ll look at yourself in the mirror and realize that you’ve stopped being yourself to be what life wanted you to be.

A worried man looking through the window.

Not being yourself leads to suffering

Psychologist Mark Leary, a professor at Duke University, warns us about something very important. When someone perceives their own lack of authenticity, they start to suffer. In other words, not being yourself can lead to frustration and depression

  • Harvard University carried out a study in which they discovered that a “trendy” phrase in the work environment is “be authentic“. Even though everyone keeps saying it, people feel forced to be part of challenging projects, do whatever their boss tells them to, and have very specific goals. All those things are double-edged swords.
  • It’s very challenging to be yourself in a rigid and competitive environment. Little by little, anxiety, stress, and that feeling that you’re straying away from who you truly are will start to manifest.

When you lack authenticity, you force yourself to look for a balance between what you do and what you need. Being loyal to yourself isn’t easy. You have to be confident and make brave decisions to stay true to who you are.

Dare to be yourself

Don’t be where you can’t be yourself, wherever you’re not allowed to express your thoughts and values. Living like that makes no sense. Thus, whenever you feel like something is harming your self-esteem, reflect upon the following ideas:

Make decisions based on self-knowledge

  • Nowadays, psychology has borrowed many existentialist ideas. One of them reminds us that in order to have an authentic life, you must make a commitment to yourself. 
  • This means taking some time to value and reflect on what you do, what you decide, and what you say to see if they match who you are.
  • You have to ask yourself every day: “Do I feel good with what I’ve done?”
A happy woman with open arms at sunset.

Remember what you deserve

If you want to be yourself every single day of your life, remember what you deserve. Keep your values in mind, learn from your past, set goals, and, most importantly, put yourself first.

We all have the right to live a happy and fulfilling life that aligns with our interests and passions. The key is to choose where we want to spread our wings wisely without forgetting that we deserve what we dream of.

  • Strobel, M., Tumasjan, A., & Spörrle, M. (2011). Be yourself, believe in yourself, and be happy: Self-efficacy as a mediator between personality factors and subjective well-being. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology52(1), 43–48.
  • Rosh, L., y Offermann, L. (2013). Sé tú mismo, pero con cuidado. Harvard Business Review , (OCT).