I’ve never understood what people meant when they say, “be yourself”. Obviously I am being myself and still stuck, so how does being myself even more change anything?

Also obviously, I’m wrong. I’ve thought of a better way of thinking about it.

“Be yourself” should make a lot of sense. “Be yourself” is actually just a reminder that you are human - that you are responsible for yourself, and you are going to have to make the decisions that count, by yourself.

Every single person in this world has a completely different set of experiences. From the moment you are born, from the parents that raise you, from the friends you make in school, from the teachers that push you forward, from the schools you go to, from the jobs you choose, from the people you meet on the street, from the attitudes you live with in each and every second of every day you’ve ever lived, you form a completely unique person that has never existed ever before.

Every single person thinks differently, acts differently, wants different things, feels different emotions, chooses different paths in their lives - and that’s what makes everyone unique.

But crossroads exist when you consider that so much of our lives is out of our control. We take up hobbies, opportunities, ideologies, and even friends and careers that our parents suggest as children. We don’t make decisions in isolation - we make them alongside the opinions of our friends and peers.

Because of these influences, we can really easily end up in situations we aren’t comfortable with, or even living lives we never fully wanted. We make decisions with heavy consequences, and sometimes they don’t work out. We can hang out with the wrong friends, and end up being with people who don’t work well with us. We can follow what our parents want, and end up in a career we never enjoyed.

I think “be yourself” asks us to make those decisions ourselves. It asks us to form our opinions and beliefs and hobbies and habits based on the actions themselves; to consider whether the values we cherish are the values we should cherish, or simply values we picked up along the way. And it asks us to take action to be more of ourselves, to tear down the structures that don’t empower the beliefs we value.

“Be yourself” isn’t asking you to be perfect. But it is asking you to make sure you are something you want to be, to make sure you make decisions that you want to make, to be influenced by the factors you want to be influenced by. Because at the end of the day, all anyone can ever do is be satisfied with making the best decision they could have made at that time.

And you can’t really do that if you aren’t yourself.