Being me, the whole me and nothing but me.
You do you, is a term that gained traction pretty fiercely in 2015. Maybe it was around before then, but I heard this saying so much last year that I feel it must be written on a cropped, white t-shirt somewhere already. People taking back their freedom and liberty to be the person they wanted to be, was a common theme throughout the social world, and “Shake It Off” was thrown in there when the liberty came face to face with negativity.
And I guess that along the way, you start to realise that maybe you should ‘do you’ and just live your life exactly the way you want to. Over the years, I have tried to become more confident and open with the idea of being completely, 100% myself, as life really is too short to be someone you’re not, in the attempt to please someone else. And I wanted to share my own thoughts and tips on why being yourself is the best person to be.
ADAPT TO SITUATIONS
I remember a few years ago, I was sat with a group of work friends and an ex-boyfriend, and after chatting as a group for a few hours, he abruptly and rudely asked me why I change myself, and dumb myself down, to make conversation. I vividly remember this exchange, and I was really annoyed at the idea that he felt I changed my personality depending on which group of friends I was engaging with. But I guess looking back, perhaps I did change who I was depending on the situation or the social group, but I feel that this is something many people can relate to.
When I return back to Wigan and spend time with my Dad, Nana and Brother, I find my accent starts to become more Northern for the few days I am there. I know the majority of people will have similar occurrences, as it is what we do as humans, to fit in with a group of people. This isn’t ‘changing’ ourselves; more adapting to the colloquialisms and etiquette of a person or people, to become more integrated and approachable.
And yet, I feel I do this quite often. In work meetings, I am more professional and held together, depending on how well I know the person I am sharing coffee with. On the phone, I put on my best ‘phone’ voice – not on purpose, but as a natural habit. Or when I am meeting really senior professionals, again my mannerisms and body language become more professional and reserved. Because I know that certain situations require alternative etiquette and formalities.
Yet, with the girls, or friends I know well, I can be as bubbly, crude, open, loud and brash as I like, because we have our own way of interacting. I don’t change to fit in with them, I just act in the way that I feel most comfortable and relaxed. And I suppose it is about finding out who you are, who you want to be and how you want to portray yourself socially, that will enable you to be yourself or an alternative version, at particular times.
During day to day life, we meet a wide variety and number of people. Friends, mutual friends, associates, colleagues, bosses, cab drivers to retail assistants, and you will probably have your own way of conversing with each one. They will all require an alternative side of your personality, your more restrained, reserved, relaxed or natural side. And I think that those alternative sides of your personality should really be embraced. You are not changing yourself, but adapting and portraying yourself in the most appropriate form. I can still be chatty, humorous, excitable and engaged but in varying amounts, depending on the situation, conversation and appropriateness. And as a person, I feel this is a pretty important trait and skill to have. Embrace the fact that you are able to adapt your personality to highlight your best manners and etiquette.
ACCEPT YOUR PERSONALITY.
I don’t believe that adapting your personality in various situations should be seen negatively. Many times, Bloggers or Youtubers I know are slandered for not being themselves, or being someone else on or off screen. And I guess that comes down to their confidence to be entirely themselves in front of a camera. For me, I enjoy the idea that when I film for Youtube, I am chatting to my audience through the camera. I don’t have to put on a front or act in a certain way to please anyone, or to reduce the amount of negativity I will receive for being myself. Instead I can be my usual relaxed and natural personality, and entirely the same person on or off of the screen. But others may not have built up the confidence to do so.
Getting to that point as a person, where you no longer interest yourself in the negative words of others, is a difficult hurdle. And I know that through my early high school years, I tried to alter my personality in order to fit in, and stay out of the bullying firing line. I tried to stifle how loud or openly I liked to laugh, as I was bullied endlessly for the way my laugh sounded. I also tried to make my accent more broad and Wigan based for a while, so that I wouldn’t be picked on for sounding too ‘posh.’ If you would believe it. I also remember times when I would pretend to be less smart, to attempt to fit in with those who were ‘popular’ and failing most of their classes because they were more interested in sunbeds, boys in their 20’s and Wigan Pier on a Saturday night. And I tried to dress in a way that wouldn’t segregate me into a particular type of ‘group,’ to avoid being outcasted.
But you know, after a year or so, I truly thought, to hell with it. These people will find any fault, even with the most beautiful person in the world, and whatever I do will never change their perception. Being a false version of myself was hindering, exhausting and absolutely not worth it. And it most definitely didn’t make me happier in the long run. I laughed more, I spoke the way I wanted to speak and I wore what I wanted to wear; and everyone else could either like it or leave me to it. The world didn’t stop turning.
EMBRACE YOUR FLAWS.
One of the most hindering factors in building self-confidence, is your self-esteem. Nobody is perfect and we all have parts of ourselves that we wish we could change. But to others, they are usually issues we make for ourselves and that others would never see if they weren’t mentioned. Whether we would like larger boobs, a rounder bum, curlier eyelashes, a straighter nose or bigger lips, or whatever other flaw you think you need to alter, the chances are that no one else will notice them. And so what if you do have smaller boobs or a tiny bum? It doesn’t change who you are mentally, or your personality or the person you are inside. Don’t waste time worrying about or apologising for your ‘flaws’ – because they are your issue only. Learn to accept your unique qualities and realise it is what makes you, you. When it comes to partners, friends and colleagues, if anyone has an issue with the real you, inside and out, then they really are not someone worth knowing.
Finding your true self, with no apologies and no self-deprecation, is a major step to feeling confident on the inside and appearing confident on the outside. I know that I can’t change all of my physical flaws, but I have control over the person I express to others, and you want that person to be the best version of you that it possibly can be. Stand up tall and never apologise for who you are.
I’d love to know your tips and thoughts on confidence to be yourself! What have you done to overcome any issues you have personally had, in order to become more confident and self-accepting? Perhaps we can all help each other with further reflections. As you know, I only speak from my own experiences, and hearing all of your stories is extremely helpful, for me and everyone else. So please do share!