Have you ever heard people say “just be yourself and everything will be okay”? And just when the occasion calls for it, you find yourself doing the opposite, trying so hard to be what you feel will get you accepted. It is easy to begin to query and ponder why anyone would want to be anything short of themselves. Before you begin to judge, have you ever found yourself changing the way you talk when certain persons are around? Or found yourself acting in a particular way to gain the other person’s approval? How about when you are being all sweet and polite in church but at work you are nothing short of a ruthless and unsympathetic individual. Okay maybe not that bad but you get my drift.
I found myself in this dilemma a couple of years ago, after I got married to my husband who is a pastor. This all started while we were courting, (sounds dated but that was the way we called it) A lot of remarks had been passed that I was not ‘pastor’s wife material’. In order words I did not look or fit the part. I then decided to prove them wrong by dressing and acting like some of my critics. Telling myself that surely now I will belong. Instead of trying to please God and seek His approval, I began to seek that of man. Of course, you can be sure I was miserable most of the time. Little did I know then that being different is not necessarily bad. We are all created to be unique.
“Rabbi Zusya said that on the Day of Judgment, God would not ask him why he had not been Moses, but why he had not been Zusya.”- Walter Kaufmann.
I eventually decided I had enough. My changed looks didn’t bring me any closer to God and I still could not please the people that I thought mattered. It was time to be myself and concentrate on pleasing God… what brought me to this point, I can’t really say, but I guess my husband’s prayers was one of such. Of course, I heard some funny remarks about me backsliding but in actual fact, I was having the best time of my life. My spiritual life was in top shape and my ministry was growing. I was me and trying very hard to be the best me I could be with no apologies to anyone.
Do you find yourself trying to be something or someone you’re not in the name of pleasing others? Take it from someone who has been there- no one is worth you losing your identity.
Here are a few tips to help you be yourself no matter what:
You can’t be yourself if you don’t know, understand, and accept yourself first. Let the word of God define you for He says: You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Stop caring about how people perceive you
The fact is it really doesn’t matter. To be yourself, you’ve got to let go of these concerns and just let your behaviour flow. This is not an excuse to be mean or rude. Strive to be the best version of yourself and not a copycat.
What have you got to hide? You’re an imperfect, growing, learning human being. Who is perfect anyway?
Be open to constructive criticisms
You must be determined to get better.
Develop and express your individuality
Whether it’s your sense of style, or even your manner of speaking, if your preferred way of doing something strays from the mainstream, then be proud of it.
Accept that some days you’re the pigeon and that some days, you’re the statue. People might raise eyebrows and even make fun, but as long as you can shrug and say “Hey, that’s just me” and leave it at that, people will ultimately respect you for it, and you’ll respect yourself.
Believe in who you are
If you’re always working to be someone you’re not, you’ll never be a happy person. Be yourself and show the world you’re proud the way you are!
Never let your personality breed pride. Humility is not stupidity; it is a vital tip in sustaining your identity. Christ was humility personified, yet he never lost His identity as the son of God.
Having said that, please ensure that you work on those areas of your life that still need to be touched by God and release them to Him. After all, you are an express image of the most high God.