How To Be Yourself – All of the Time
Being yourself is one of the hardest things that you could ever possibly be. It requires not only confidence, but a clear understanding of mental balance and social situations.
If you define Being Yourself as “Behaving as you wish and saying what you want all of the time”, you will be highly disappointed with this article. We function within an unforgiving society, and if you attempt to act this way, you will most likely end up on the streets, in jail, or living as a hermit in the wilderness.
At the same time, it is no good being a constant slave to peoples preferences, putting on an act and letting other people define how you behave.
So, what is the right balance between “being uncompromising” and “being fake?”
You need to be able to be comfortable enough in your own skin to say what you wish to say, but socially savvy enough to make friends with people you meet.
Is it possible to do all of this while still being wholly, completely, fully yourself?
I am going to tell you 2 practical steps that will allow you to make good friends, while still showing only the true and authentic pieces of yourself.
Step 1 – Share The Parts of You That Help You Connect With People
I want you to imagine that you are a musician. You are playing open night in a very unusual bar. This bar has many different kinds of patrons on any given night, and their musical tastes vary drastically. They come from every part of the world, and there is no telling what kind of crowd will show up.
You mainly play Rock and Roll, but you like other styles as well, like Blues. On this particular night, you get up to play, and strum out a Rock rhythm on your guitar. As more people shuffle in, you realize midway through your song that this is more a Blues kind of crowd.
The patrons are being polite, but lack enthusiasm. Not because you are bad, but simply because you are not playing what they like to hear. So you change it up.
You start playing some Blues licks in your Rock and Roll, and even put in a few Bluesy chords here and there. The crowd is digging it, and most importantly, you are still expressing your real self! At the end of your performance, the crowd cheers, and afterward you go mingle and make some new friends. You go home feeling like a million bucks.
An important lesson can be gained through this story:
The more you know about the world, and the more you know about yourself, the more you can relate to many different kinds of people.
It would have been fine if you had continued playing Rock and Roll, but then you would not have been able to express yourself and connect with the crowd nearly as much. You would have lost out on a shared experience.
This is something called Congruence that they delve deeply into in the book Charisma On Command, and it means that your actions, words, and intentions all sync up. People can pick up on this, and it is a very powerful tool.
Now here is the most important thing to take away before we move on:
If you do not know which styles of music you like, you will never know which you should play. If you do not practice playing them, you will never be able to connect with others who like the same music.
I break down how to Better Know Yourself in my previous article.
2. Never Pretend To Be Something You Are Not
Showing another part of yourself is fine, but acting like someone you are not is never ok. Never compromise your integrity.
Lets say that instead the crowd came in wearing boots and cowboy hats, wanting some country music. Now lets say that you don’t like Country music. Should you switch to playing Country? Absolutely not.
In all likelihood, you would end up offending the crowd as you did your best impression of a nasal Country singer with a false southern accent, and bent the strings out of shape with no subtlety.
It’s hard to fake being what you aren’t, and you shouldn’t even try.
If you played some good, solid Rock and Roll that you enjoyed playing, then at the least the county crowd would respect you at the end of the night, and you would have had fun playing the music you wanted to play.
If you have trouble with boundaries or changing yourself to make others feel better, I highly recommend When I Say No, I Feel Guilty.
It is completely and totally ok if someone does not agree with you. Sometimes other people will find your views or opinions offensive, and that’s fine. Not everyone needs to like you, and you should not care if everyone does.
At the same time, it is important to connect with people, and playing the music that will make others happy as well as yourself is never a bad thing.
The bar from the story is your world. You step into this world every day, without knowing who you will encounter. Every day is different, and brings more opportunities and more trials.
The people in the bar are just like you, in many ways. Their differences are mainly superficial.
Your song is the way that you express yourself to the people in the bar with you. This can be through your words, your actions, even the way you dress.
Play the music that you enjoy playing, but remember, sometimes it’s ok to switch up the chords and the tempo a little bit to make the song more enjoyable for others as well.
From the Modern Martial Artist, this has been David Christian, wishing you, happy training.
Books by David Christian of The Modern Martial Artist
Power of the Pros: https://www.modernmartialartist.com/downloads/power-of-the-pros/
Footwork Wins Fights: https://www.modernmartialartist.com/downloads/footwork-wins-fights/
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