Just Be You

As the words came out of the speaker’s mouth the atmosphere in the room shifted.
It was as if she had used the ‘F’ word or blasphemed from the pulpit.
I heard audible gasps and groans.
People were turning to each other and muttering.
The speaker was obviously used to her words having this sort of reaction, as she stood comfortably in silence waiting.

As the murmurs were dying down she made the same statement again, this time standing centre stage ready for a second ‘fall out’.

“The thing that profoundly changed my life and will change yours too, is when you truly start being yourself.”

There was a collective intake of breath and one voice echoed out from the crowd.
“But that’s so hard”.
A chorus of agreements followed.
As the murmurs died down, the speaker carried on with her story. It was the usual pitfall story of how bad things got before she turned her life around. Inspiring though it probably was, I was no longer listening as I had become hooked by that last comment…

“But that’s so hard”

I sat there thinking.
Growing sadder.
Sad that the comment was made. And sad that so many in the room concurred.

There were around 250 women there that day. Many of whom, I would guess, have children. What lesson does that mean that they are passing on to them? To be someone else, because who you are isn’t good enough?

I’m not saying that they are doing that consciously.

After all, if I had asked them whether they were teaching their children that it’s better to pretend than to be the real you, I am sure that most would tell me where to go.
My confusion grew.

The speaker’s encouragement was to be you.
And yet the majority of the audience responded to the “But that’s so hard.

How can it be harder to be yourself than pretending to be someone else?
Think about it logically.
How much extra effort must it take to constantly pretend?
How much energy is wasted on deciding who to pretend to be, on what day, to which people?

Surely it’s harder to pretend to be something you’re not?

I’m not saying this is easy by the way, I know it all too well myself. In fact, I thought it was just me that had felt this way and this conference (a number of years ago now) was the first time I had heard people, en masse, agree that they were pretending too. So I am not judging these ladies at all. But it saddens me.

For various reasons—fear of rejection or judgment to name just two—we keep on pretending. We assume that who we really are isn’t good enough and so we must, therefore, pretend to be someone who we think IS enough. More of enough than who we think we are.

But who decides the enough rule?
Who creates it?
Who sets the standard or definition of what is enough?
Because if it’s not you, then couldn’t you make up your own rules/standards/ definitions?
Think about it.
Your own definitions of what is enough.
If it is you that makes them, then couldn’t you change those rules/standards/definitions to meet your needs of being you?

I realise it’s not easy to be you in a world that has other ideas, but in this age when we talk so much about saving energy, what are we doing to help ourselves and save our own?
Being YOU is good for you and the planet!
It saves energy, helps you to relax and potentially enjoy life even more.

Imagine passing that gift onto your children! 😉

I think Oscar Wilde said it best:

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”