From an early age, your parents and teachers have probably told you to be yourself and embrace your imperfections. However, this is easier said than done, because it is innate in human beings to want to fit in and not be looked at or treated differently for the wrong reasons. That being said, the older we get, the more we actually want to stand out and be celebrated, but many of us still find it hard to be ourselves for fear that no one will understand us.
While these feelings are shared by many, it is still important to tackle them head on and release that inner-you. Below are 10 simple tips that can help you achieve this.
1. The progression of the real you will only be delayed the longer you fail to come out of your shell
We all wish to be confident, gregarious people, because these types tend to be the personalities that others are naturally drawn to as they are put at ease and instantly interested by their infectious way of communicating. Of course, not everyone can be this type of person, but believe it or not, even people of a shy disposition can be seen in the same light if they learn to come out of their shell and not let nerves and crowds overwhelm them.
You may think you don't have much to say or that no one would be interested even if you did, but that isn't true! All it takes is a belief in yourself that you are a person with much to offer, so don't let fears of being made fun of or being found to be boring stop you from speaking up!
Of course, the opposite could be true. You could be extremely outgoing and loud, which you might think may scare some people, which leads you to hold your true emotions in. But don't! The brightest personalities are those that are genuine, and all in all, people accept these people more than you'd imagine.
2. Pleasing everyone is never going to happen
We can't be in everyone's' good books. If we were, we'd be inundated with invitations and phone calls, so thank god that's not the case. Our personalities are so broad that there are bound to be personalities that clash and don't see eye to eye. But not accepting this and trying to please them won't do you any favors.
So instead of trying to lure these people into a false sense of security simply so they can like you, be yourself, and if that isn't good enough for them, then move on and find people who accept you for who you are.
3. Building the courage to be yourself is more commendable than fitting in
Going against social conventions, whether it be what you wear, what job you do, or how you act, can be terrifying, and in many ways, these realities can scare the person from ever being who they truly are behind closed doors. So people fit in to avoid odd looks from passersby. It’s easy to follow the crowd and fit in without fearing you're going be laughed at every 10 seconds, but you'll feel even better if you learn to be comfortable in your own skin.
It sounds cliched, but the challenge of being true to yourself is one of the hardest mental battles you'll ever have.
4. Being yourself will help you forge your own path
So many of us conform to other people’s expectations simply so we can please them and keep them happy- despite it being our life. For instance, you should never let your parents force you into studying a certain degree simply so you can become what they want you to become. Or conceal your sexuality for fear your friends and family won't accept you.
However, once you have braved the reactions of telling people who you truly are, the goals you want to accomplish will seem clearer as you will feel more prepared to go and achieve everything without the burning fear of letting other people down.
5. If you are already comfortable in your own skin, don't let critics convince you into changing who you are
Think about all the great artists in the last few years who haven't let their unique idiosyncrasies stop them from being successful. There are loads, from Ed Sheeran's burning red hair that he was told to dye blonde, to Lady Gaga's unusual and brazen fashion choices. Even The Weeknd was laughed at for his Basquait-inspired hairstyle that many joked look like a pineapple.
So take a note from these fearless artists and be proud to look and act differently. So long as you are not hurting anyone, you shouldn't feel bad for being different, and if people laugh at you, then it's because they're boring and don't have half the allure you do.
6. People will respect you more
While people, as we've just explained, may laugh at you for being different, many more will respect you and find you much more interesting than your everyday folk. A uniqueness and sincerity can take many of us far in life, and people gravitate towards the quirky and odd more than you'd imagine.
Just take Winnie Harlow, the American model who was born with a skin disfigurement that sees blotches of white skin dotted across her black skin. While she may not have thought it as a child, being bullied for looking different would shape her and mold her into the beautiful, awe-inspiring woman she is today.
7. You'll feel better
While this may sound obvious, your belief in yourself will skyrocket because you will wake up every morning knowing you are being true to yourself and not trying to fit into anyone else's boxes. After all, we all want to feel unique and different from everyone else, despite many of us still becoming precisely like everyone else.
So embrace your unique features that others may deem imperfections. Or speak up on matters that others might not believe in. While it may seem daunting at first, you'll feel much better further down the line. When you are always yourself, you are more likely to have focus and direction in your life.
8. Your life will feel much easier
This goes without saying, doesn't it? By accepting yourself and embracing the real you around others, you will feel less anxious to open up and enjoy the limited time we have on this planet.
If you feel you still have to act around others to be accepted, then just imagine how good it will feel when you no longer have to do that. In the words of Taylor Swift, "Dance like nobody's watching."
9. Looking at yourself in the mirror will feel great
Why wouldn't it? You aren't a narcissist. Neither are you vain. But you are happy, and self-confident, which will make those all-too-powerful mirror stares that much easier when you face yourself in the morning and at night.
After all, it is only when we see our reflection staring back at us do we truly and deeply evaluate ourselves.
10. Once you let the inner-you out, you'll continue to discover more about yourself
For those of us who suppress our actual personalities from public life, we are stunting ourselves from growing inside and thus we are allowing ourselves to stay stagnant, forever the same and never growing or experiencing new things.
So don't be afraid to attract odd looks. Sure you may find yourself being the source of much more dislike, but you'll also open yourself up to a spiritual and emotional growth that will put you in contact with many more like-minded people.