I recently listened to a podcast by my favorite relationship expert, Matthew Hussey. In it, he claimed that “be yourself” is terrible advice.
Because “be yourself” is just an excuse to be mediocre. It’s an excuse to keep doing whatever you’ve been doing. It’s an excuse to not take risks. It’s an excuse to not grow and improve upon yourself.
And we should all be trying to be better versions of ourselves. Because everyone has things that they can work on.
Think about it this way: Who is the person that you want to be? Who are the people that you envy? And why? Be that person.
What are the things that you’ve always wanted to do? Do those things.
Let me give you an example. I’ve always been a pretty shy person–at least around new people. But it’s something that I’ve been working on, and I think over the years, I have become less shy. If I just accepted the advice to “be yourself,” then I could just as easily have stopped trying to strike up conversations with complete strangers and stopped stepping outside my comfort zone. And as a result, I would have missed out on a whole lot.
So instead, I try to do what my mom always told me to do: be more outgoing. I aim to be more like my mom, who was not only outgoing, fun, vivacious, adventurous and funny, but incredibly thoughtful, generous, and kind too.
So here’s my two cents: Don’t be yourself. Instead, try to work on yourself. Try to become the very best version of yourself that you can be. And you know what they say…fake it til you make it. If you keep “faking it”–or keep practicing being the person that you want to be–eventually you will become that person.
You feel bad because you think you aren’t altruistic enough? Don’t be yourself. Instead, do more volunteer work. Or try doing one kind thing for someone else each day.
You think you’re someone who doesn’t have an ounce of rhythm and just can’t dance? Don’t be yourself. Take a dance class! And make a fool of yourself in the meantime. Who cares! And who knows, along the way, you might just discover that you have a hidden dance talent that you never knew you had.
Are you still single because you’ve always been scared to talk to people of the opposite sex? Don’t be yourself. Step outside your comfort zone. Face your fear of rejection. Get the courage to talk to that girl (or guy) that you’ve been crushing on.
Practice being that person that you want to be, whoever that may be. And in the end, you will become a stronger, more capable and better version of yourself. Guaranteed.