It’s hard to show people who we truly are. We’re taught that if we don’t build massive walls of protection we’ll get hurt, and it’s these walls that our true selves are hiding behind. The result is us living within the expectations of others and forgetting to take care of ourselves and live our own lives.
Our lives become about everyone else and not about us. We start interpreting ourselves and our lives based on how others are interpreting themselves and their lives. It then becomes a competition on who can externalize themselves the best. You only have to look on Facebook to see this. When you start showing people who you really are, none of this matters. You start to realize that competition is exhausting, boring, and pointless. It becomes a waste of energy that could be better used on positive pursuits.
When you start showing people who you really are, a number of amazing things happen.
1. You’ll have confidence in yourself
This confidence will mean that you’ll be able to achieve anything you put your mind to. You’ll realise that the only person holding you back is you and that your potential is limitless. Want to ask your boss for that well-deserved, long-overdue raise? No problem! Met someone you like and want to ask them out on a date? Bring it on! Your confidence will radiate out and draw in new experiences and new people to share this confidence with. It’ll help you realize your capabilities — you can deliver an excellent and well-informed presentation at work, and you can communicate effectively with your loved ones.
2. You’ll start to consciously choose the people who you surround yourself with
You’ll begin to realize that sometimes you need to let go of certain types of people. For example, there may be one friend who is always around when you’re feeling good, but they’re nowhere to be found when you’re feeling down. You’ll evaluate whether it’s worth having these kinds of people around you. Your circle of trust will eventually be filled with people who are honest, open, and accepting, people who share your beliefs and values.
3. You’ll let go of the need to impress other people
You will define yourself based on what makes you feel good and not on what makes other people feel good. There’s more to you, and to life, than impressing other people. Other people’s opinions and judgments won’t matter because your sense of self-worth will be solid. You’ll come to realise that people will always have an opinion, but you will have reached a place where their opinions will fly over your head. Everything you do, you’ll be doing for you because you want to and not because it’s the expected thing to do. As Alan Watts says in his book Become Who You Are, “Know WHAT you want, not what you OUGHT to want.”
4. You’ll accept yourself
This goes hand in hand with showing people who you really are. To show someone who you are – warts and all – is to accept yourself. Quite simply, you are who you are. You know this. You know you’re not a morning person, you know slow drivers frustrate you, you know you give honest advice, you know you’re brilliant at your job. You know all this, but you accept that certain things frustrate you and you accept that you’re talented. Acceptance doesn’t mean arrogance. It means you know what does and doesn’t work for you. Most importantly, you accept that no one is perfect. As you accept yourself, acceptance of others will naturally follow. This means that people will gravitate to you because they know you won’t judge them and they can be themselves without fear.
5. You’ll develop an inner strength that no one can take away
This will be reflected in the life choices you make, whether it’s knowing you deserve that promotion at work, consciously choosing a partner that reflects your same beliefs, or even choosing to have some “me time” and not feeling guilty about it. No matter what life may throw your way, you’ll be fully adapted and well equipped to deal with it. Even something like saying “no” and setting clear boundaries takes inner strength that a lot of people don’t utilize as often as they need to.
6. You’ll find that personal and professional fulfilment will become more important
What is it that makes you tick? What activity makes time disappear and has you forgetting to eat, drink, and go to the toilet? You’ll start focusing on yourself and what it is you want from life and you’ll discover new passions or reignite old ones. You’ve spent so much time hiding who you are that now you have the freedom, the confidence, and the know-how to fulfil long-held dreams and ideas. Through showing people who you really are, you’re unleashing aspects of yourself to yourself. You’ll know yourself better for it, which enables you to make the decision that you want more from life. Now, you’ll want to do something for you.
7. You’ll smile more and your outlook on life will be much more positive
Yes! A smile will never be far from your lips! And because you’ll be smiling more, you’ll attract positive people to you. A smile shows that you’re engaged, you’re actively listening, and you’re a cheerful person. Positivity breeds positivity, and so how you connect with other people changes for the better. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself focusing on other people’s positive attributes as well as your own. As an added bonus, positive people tend to attract other positive people, and so your circle becomes much happier and supportive.
8. You’ll be happier
You won’t be hiding yourself away from the world. You won’t be pretending to be something you’re not. You’ll start being honest with the most important person in your life: you. You’ll express your uniqueness and love every second of it. With this happiness will come a sense of inner peace. It’s like a breath of fresh air has just blown into your life and whisked away all the expectations and worries, replacing them with a conscious stillness. This will ripple out into every aspect of your life and to the people around you. Just as positivity attracts positivity, so happiness attracts happiness.
9. You’ll take back your power
No longer will you be led by other people’s ideas or expectations. Before we were taught how we should act or feel, we were children who found amazement and wonder in everything. As you show people who you are, you’re showing them a part of your soul and you will feel amazing about it. Perhaps you’ve always felt strongly about an important social cause but haven’t actively pursued your interest because you’ve been afraid of what other people may think. When you start showing who you really are and standing up for that cause, people may be surprised at first, but they’ll most likely be supportive and may even join you! The point is you’ll know that your life is yours and that you may as well spend it being who you are and showing that gift off to the world.
Becoming who you really are and showing this to the world will not result in rejection. Admittedly, it may take others a while to get their heads around the “new you,” but secretly they’re wishing they had the confidence to do it for themselves. If people can’t accept you for who you are, then you don’t need them in your life.
People make the assumption that showing people who you really are is being “too honest,” which often is negatively associated with “brutal honesty.” This is not the case. Yes, you’ll be more honest, but it’ll always be from a place of compassion and never with the intention to hurt someone.
You have the power to show your real self off to the world. The question is, are you allowing people see who you really are, or are you still hiding? Are you allowing other people to show you who they are?
Show people who you really are. Amazing things happen when you do.
“You cannot fail at being yourself.” – Wayne Dyer
Featured photo credit: Dancing Girl Jumping In Street Looking Happy/Ed Gregory via dl.dropboxusercontent.com