There's a quote by Jim Morrison that I love. It goes like this:
“That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending - performing. You get to love your pretence. It's true, we're locked in an image, an act - and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you're trying to steal their most precious possession.”
I remember listening to friends speak about their masks. I remember having one myself. It was a crazy time with young hearts and fresh minds. We were so moldable, so susceptible to things around us. Now I look back and wonder how we even survived. I had never realized how hard it was to 'be myself'. People say it to me, expecting a flawless execution, and the internet screams it like it's a switch I can turn on and off. To 'be myself' or not to be?
I used to despise confident people. I looked at them with a faraway smile and secretly disliked how carefree they could be. What's inside of them that isn't inside of me? Why am I like this and why are they like that? Of course now, I realize that I shouldn't look to others for guidance, I should look to myself. And once I did so, everything became a whole lot clearer.
I think the common concept of 'being yourself' or 'just be you!' really isn't helpful. Maybe something along the lines of:
Take each day one step at a time. Appreciate your own thoughts and listen to others, but don't take their opinions and accept them as the truth. Create your own string of words, do what you enjoy, speak more about your emotions, and accept more into your life. Find a hobby and develop it into a passion. Travel and put yourself in a different environment. Read daily and cleanse your mind. Surround yourself with people you love and people who love you. Take things in that are good for your soul and shut out all the rest. Last of all, take off the mask and shrug off the chains for they are not needed.
The journey of self-discovery is slow and never-ending, but it's fun and rewarding. I wish you luck on yours as I shall continue mine with great fervor.