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Be Yourself- How I Got it All Wrong

What it is, what is it not and how it enables our growth

A store entrance with the word Be
Image from Unsplash

Be yourself, a phrase often tossed around, My being ain’t fixed, but in flux, it’s found. It’s a choice, I make at each moment’s plea To embrace the self I wish to be.

No need to reject my present state, When critique arises, don’t hesitate, For it’s an opportunity to reevaluate And embrace the learning that’s relevant

Release the fears of being yourself For being yourself is freeing yourself


“You ask me to be myself and when I be myself you ask me not to be that. It’s confusing! I don’t understand!” I heard these narratives fire in my head as I resisted the urge to blurt it out in front of my mentor at work. I feared the consequences of that impulsive action. So, I stayed, my mouth sealed while my head was about to burst unable to manage the rapid firing of thoughts.

A wave of anger surged through my body and my heart was crushed under the weight of guilt as I recalled that instance over and over in my head. My action was not aligned with the values of the organization. The details of my actions may seem miniscule and unimportant at this point. but, what’s important is how this shaped my life and what I learned from it.

I grew cautious, I didn’t want to put myself in the same position again, I didn’t want to go through the discomfort of being called out for my mistake. I didn’t want to go through the humiliation of being wrong. The moment I entered the gates, I would disconnect with myself, put on a mask and begin to float through the day. I began walking on needles, highly conscious of my words and actions. I stopped speaking unless it was absolutely necessary for me to speak and even when I did, my words flowed with caution. I made sure I was saying the right things.

Over time, I began losing myself, this became my new way of being. This was not new for me, I was well-trained to do this by society. I had done it at home, school, and previous workspaces. I was an expert at conforming. Of saying and doing the right things. But, for the first time, I had found a place where I could bring out my real self. A space that encouraged me to be me. But that was gone too.

I loved my work but feared making mistakes. “You are not being yourself”, “You are too conscious”, “Bring your authentic self,” They said. Repeatedly. But, I preferred being a machine rather than going through the discomfort of making a mistake until I no longer knew who I was.

I was dedicated and put all my effort into conforming, to be seen as knowledgeable, to be seen as aware, to be seen as good until I was drained and burnt and no longer had the energy to carry on.

I began reconnecting with myself, I began journaling, I started observing myself, my thoughts, actions and compulsions and began seeking understanding and freedom from the inauthenticity I had cultivated. And like the law goes answers arrive when we open ourselves to it. It took me 5 years of knowing it intellectually to truly understand what it means to be myself and what I was doing wrong.

Every time I received feedback, I would judge and reject the part of me that made a mistake. I was not feeling humiliated by what the other person said but rather by my own judgement and self-rejection. I began fearing self-rejection and hence feared mistakes. Suddenly, everything started becoming clear to me and I could no longer be the same.

Here is what I learned.

What it is Not

  1. Being yourself is not fixed, it’s not a state you are born with and will stay that way for the rest of your life.

  2. Being yourself is not an excuse to stay in your comfort zone.

  3. Being yourself is not an opportunity to label yourself. Eg. I’m lazy, I’m slow, I am short-tempered etc.

  4. Being yourself is not an escape from change.

  5. Being yourself is not an opportunity to justify your inefficiency and unresourceful behaviour.

What is it

  1. Being yourself is becoming aware of who you are in this moment and of the options that’ll help you become better.

  2. Being yourself is an opportunity to acknowledge and accept who you are in this moment and make a conscious choice to be who you want to be in the next moment.

  3. Being yourself is accepting the whole of you and allowing the new knowledge to transform you.

  4. Being yourself is a fluid state, flowing from moment to moment as you expand your consciousness.

How it Enables Our Growth

  1. The more I am myself, the more people get to see the authentic me, the more they get to see me, the more want to understand the rationale behind my actions, the more they question my actions, the more self-aware I become, the more aware I become, the better choices I make.

  2. The more I learn to acknowledge and accept the whole of me, the less I judge myself and build an unshakable relationship with myself.


Find this and more in my first poetry book Returning Home- A Journey of learning, unlearning, relearning and refining captured and reproduced in the form of free verse poetry. A celebration of the soul’s journey back home.


I would be elated to hear your thoughts and connections, do share them below.

Sedning you all my love,


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