Being true to yourself is one of life’s most important traits we should master. Our lives are filled with a myriad of relationships and commitments. We get lost in what is expected of us and end up doing things we rather not do. We go with the flow and give in to please other people, or simply to avoid conflict. In the end, we are the ones who suffer the consequences. We end up feeling cheated, false and used. We come to resent ourselves for not standing our ground, and others for manipulating us into doing what they want. They are not as much to blame as ourselves. We can, though, find our way back, hold our ground, and fearlessly be true to our beliefs and ourselves.
I’ve been there, trying to make everyone happy and doing things out of guilt. In the end, I lost my myself. There came a point when I just couldn’t keep cheating myself. It’s taken me a while to figure out why I did those things. I have learnt to follow my gut the hard way, as we usually learn things. When they have a strong emotional impact and it hits us; What was I thinking?!
How to be true to yourself:
1. Learn to say no fearlessly. You have nothing to lose and all to gain; the peace of following your convictions and teaching others to respect you. If they become angered by your stance, worry not, they will either stay or leave. You don’t need people who don’t respect who you are.
2. Say “no” gracefully. There are many ways to say no and not hurt people’s feelings by being rude or too blunt. In fact, avoid the word “no” completely. An “I’m sorry, but I have other previous commitments.” will do. Whatever you say, be truthful, don’t lie your way out.
2. Don’t do anything you don’t believe in. Even if a friend asks you to donate money for a cause they believe in, but you don’t, it’s better to tell them that you’d rather help in some other way.
3. Always ask yourself: Is this what I really want to do?
4. Never do something you are not comfortable with, out of love. While it is true that relationships are a give and take, you have to weigh in what is important and what is not. If you are going to resent it later, forget it!
5. Don’t allow people to manipulate you into doing something by telling you what they once did for you. You do what you do for people because you want to. This is emotional blackmail.
6. Never change your life for another person completely. You do have to sync your life to the rhythm of a shared life, but you shouldn’t have to give up your passions, whether it is flamenco dancing, running or yoga. Those things are part of who you are.
7. If your gut tells you something is off, follow your instinct. You will probably be right. Even if your heart says yes, often our brains have more common sense! Your gut and brain are somehow more connected to reality.
Doing things that go against who you are a drain your energy, lower your self-esteem and keep you stuck in a never-ending cycle of self-loathing. When you allow yourself the freedom to be true to yourself, you are buying a bit of happiness.