How to be… yourself

The predictive searching gizmo on Google is a revealing way to learn what other people think, as its suggested searches are based on what they’ve been looking for.

For instance, when I typed in ‘how to be’ just now, it informed me that the top four most common requests are: How to be happy, How to be pretty, How to be funny, and How to be good kisser. (On that last one, the top site returned suggests that it all starts with looking after your lips. Make a note: buy lip balm.)


The thing is, and it’s confirmed by the large number of volumes you’ll find in the Self-Help section of a bookstore or library, it seems we all want to be something we’re not. We’re unhappy so we want to be happy (understandably). We think we’re not pretty, so we want to be more attractive. We’re a bit serious so want to be funny. Or we worry we’re not a great kisser so we want to discover what we’ve been doing wrong.

I guess self-improvement is a natural human drive, but it’s a crying shame when this interferes with being comfortable with yourself.

Your life has made you the individual you are. It has shaped and moulded you, and there’s no-one on the planet who’s exactly like you: surely something to celebrate rather than regret?

Rather than wishing you were somehow different, why not tackle the day being glad that you’re you?

As Oscar Wilde said: ‘Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.’

5 thoughts on “How to be… yourself

  1. But WHY do we feel we ought to be happier/funnier/a better kisser? Every day we hear about how we “ought to be” something we’re not. I might never have wondered if I should try to be funnier if I hadn’t seen your article!

    We need to learn to ignore those external voices and not internalize them.

  2. I think there has to be a careful distinction here. I admit I am always looking how to do things in a better way. Example when I see I have a not so great a response to horrible people ( who I have to work with) then it is in my interest to work on self improvement more for my own sanity rather than anything else.
    People working on being funnier most likely think being funny will improve their social circle.
    I also look for ways to improve how I process information, how I can adapt to work in a more collaborative way….this list goes on and on.
    This does not mean I am unhappy with myself. It means I have identified an areas that are causing some sort of negative influence in my life. I therefore look for solutions.
    My current reading is 7 habits of effective people and a book by Tony Robbins. I wish they taught this in schools rather than teaching kids how to conjugate in Latin.
    I don’t want or need more success or money. I do want to be able to manage modern day stresses which by the way is not an easy task. The human race is about evolution therefore we should seek to progress and improve.
    So sorry I for once have to disagree. You should work on being a better version of yourself but for you and not for some one else.

  3. Right on. If we need to improve, then try doing one more act of kindness or giving a smile or encouraging word to those around you, It will change their day and improve you as well.

  4. Love that quote and agree with Darlene that kindness can go a long way to others and ourselves.

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