"When I was a teenager, and later in my early twenties, I pretended to be someone I was not. I pretended that I enjoyed horror movies, I mimicked my friends in a lot of their preferences, and I played the bad girl in school. The truth was that I hated horror movies, my interests and opinions often differed from my friends, and I wasn't all that bad. I was probably the most true to herself among the people I knew, but still...the majority of the time I was pretending to be someone I was not. I wanted to fit in, and so I kept the charade going.
In my late twenties this stopped. I quickly realized that I was not happy pretending to be someone I was not and I decided that I needed to start listening to the real me, and acting like the real me, if I was going to be really happy in life. Once I cut out pretending to like things I didn't and acting like my life had to be a certain way (that other people wanted), I was free to feel good and start living MY life the way I wanted to.
Why Being True to Yourself is Important
First and foremost, being true to yourself makes you feel good. It makes you happy. It brings joy into your life that being fake can never bring.
Being yourself has a circular effect in regards to happiness. You feel good about something, you do that something, you feel better when you have finished doing that something, and so you choose to do something that feels good again.
In essence, being true to your desires, wants, needs, opinions and beliefs allows you to be the person that makes you the happiest; from beginning to end. Jack Canfield once said that he only does things that make him happy, and this is an excellent rule to live by.
Being true to yourself also allows you to contribute to the world in a way that you can't when you are not being the real you. Whether you follow your passion of volunteering at the food bank, becoming a CEO of a bank, or blogging about your favorite subjects; you are giving one hundred percent to that activity when it's something that you really want to do.
When you are giving that much passion towards your life and activities can only benefit the people around you. Your employers, your employees, your customers, or anyone who comes into contact with you throughout the day are receiving the best of what you have to offer; and that's something everyone wants to receive.
How Do You Know You're Being Yourself
So how do you know you are actually being yourself? How do you know that you are doing what the real you, the inner you, wants to be doing? Simple. It will feel good in your very core.
You know that uneasy feeling you get when you do something that you don't want to do or don't believe in? It's that feeling that doesn't make you smile and get excited but rather drag your feet and "just get on with it". This is the sign that you are not being true to yourself.
For instance, I used to work at a hospital. I would dread going to work, I would complain about work while I was there, and I would be joyful when I was leaving work and heading home. The difference in feelings should have told me that I was not being true to my wants and desires, but I thought that since everyone else complained about work it was just a normal way of living. Turns out they were not doing what they really wanted to do either!
Think about the last thing that you did that you absolutely loved doing. Maybe it was a vacation. Maybe it was a night out at the movies. Maybe it was a get together with a good friend. That feeling is the feeling you should be feeling every day. If you are being true to yourself, you should be feeling excited about your life and the things you do in it!
Even something as simple as writing an article or telling a story you believe in can allow you to feel good inside if it's aligned with the real you. The feeling is a marker that you are being true to yourself. Always strive to be honest with yourself and do what feels good to you because there is nothing like the constant of feeling good.
Remember, the next time you do something that's not true to yourself, stop and remember that you could be doing something that makes you feel really good instead.
Don't pretend to be someone you are not just because others expect it of you or because you want to fit in. That behavior does nothing for your happiness or the world around you, except cause negative emotions and experiences. Start living life the way you want to live it and start being joyful every day you wake up."