A frequent piece of advice given for many different situations is to be yourself. What that recommendation usually means is that instead of trying to act cooler, smarter or sexier than yourself, you should remember who you are when you're talking with someone else. Personally, I think this is decent advice but that it could go a step farther. I think that more than just being yourself, you should be the person that you could be.
We all have bad habits that we'd like to overcome. Perhaps you have a bad temper and you're frequently getting into emotionally charged fights with your friends and family. Maybe you have a really low opinion of yourself due to a rough childhood and as a result you get jerked around by people a lot. There are so many tiny aspects of ourselves that could be tuned up, but we think that the "be yourself" advice applies to those parts of us when it's convenient. How many times have you heard something like, "I can't help it, I just get angry, that's who I am." You are not your feelings and you don't have to be defined by them.
I imagine that us humans developed complex emotions over the years as a sort of warning system. When we were about to be attacked, we would either grow scared so we'd run away or angry so that we could build up the adrenaline to fight back. If you are a person who is frequently nervous and anxious, you probably would have been one of those prehistoric people who ran to keep alive. If you are a person who is quickly brought to anger, you would have been a prehistoric person who would rage yourself up to fight against your opponents. Even if you're inclined one way or another, we as a society have moved far beyond most scary attack situations that our emotions were built for. We now have a better opportunity to control them and to develop who we really are, deep down inside.
I think if you're going to be yourself, you shouldn't be the caveman or cavewoman version of yourself. What are you meant to do on this Earth and will you be willing to overcome the emotional obstacles to get you there? Push hard to bring logic into your life and to widen the gap between stimulus and response, so that you can find out what life is like beyond "scared" and "angry."
Done with Be Yourself? Go back to Motivation Techniques.
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Written by Bryan Cohen
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.
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