Ahh, here we go! The beginning of the beginning! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad nervous about putting myself out there. A few uncomfortable butterflies made their way into my tummy as I sat down at my keyboard this morning; what do I write!? And as my coffee cup got emptier and emptier yet my word doc remained just as blank I realised the staggeringly obvious: it doesn’t really matter.
Overthinking about how I may be perceived – will you like my first piece? Will you judge me for this? How can I give you what you want? – defeats the point of my blog being, well, me. I couldn’t possibly put on an online persona and still make my writing sound convincing. So I’ll just be me and hope for the best. And suddenly that dingy little light bulb above my head lit up. An issue we all must have faced: how do you be your true self? And what does that even mean?
The phrase “just be yourself” gets thrown around a lot. And I mean a lot a lot. Before you go on that date, when you’re making new friends… In fact you’ve probably been hearing it your whole life and even offered it to people as advice countless times. And honestly, it’s confusing.
What if someone is a dick? Are they just allowed to be a dick because that is who they are? And surely you can be nothing but yourself, after all you are your own mind, your own body and your own soul?
When I first came to Leeds, almost a year ago now, I vowed to be nothing but my true self. It was a fresh slate and seemed a waste to be anything but me. Though to be your true self you must of course know your true self. And that’s the tricky bit. So I set out to find it. So here you go gals, feast your eyes on my top tips of finding and being you:
1. Channel the child within
No one can deny the purity of a child. Even if you don’t particularly like children and don’t want your own, you have to admit they are so carefree and happy. Why? Because society has yet to mess with their innocent little brains and conform them into what we “should be”. It is sad but oh so very true.
So try and take yourself back to that mindset. Strip yourself of society’s conventions. You want to roll down that hill? You roll down that hill. Go wild. You want to wear that “horrendous” jumpsuit that you’ve always secretly loved? Work it girl! You don’t get that joke everyone at the office thinks is hilarious? That’s okay. You weren’t put on this Earth to prove your worth through a series of decisions and opinions which have very little effect on anyone but yourself.
2. Go with your gut
The other thing I have tried to listen to more is the voice inside my head; if it’s there, you should probably listen to it. Your inner voice is the true you trying to tell the socially conformed version of you something, so if you want to find the real you, start by listening to it. It is known that as little as ten percent of the brain is responsible for our conscious thoughts! And trust me on this, as a student of human physiology the brain is something which particularly fascinates me. So if the other ninety percent is trying to tell us something, why do we ignore this? Trust. Your. Gut.
Prime examples of this are absolutely everywhere. For me, it’s the decision to come to Leeds. As soon as I stepped out the car I got a feel for the city. And I just knew this was where I was supposed to be, and I have yet to prove myself wrong. Being here gives me a sense of genuine fulfilment and if you’ve not found that feeling already, you will do soon!
3. Fear not
Once you’ve listened to your instincts and tried to look past societies guidelines, the next part is putting the true you into practise. Which leads me to my last point: do not fear yourself. Try not to feel uncomfortable or judged for being you. You should feel free and liberated, because the people that have enough time in the day to worry themselves with your choices are the ones trapped by convention. So who is the real winner really? (It’s you). You go Glen Coco.
And that’s it. Uno, dos, tres and you’re on the way to your happy authentic true self. And embrace it! Like an old friend you lost somewhere in your childhood, welcoming yourself back with open arms. So whether you enjoyed this blog (which obviously I hope you do), or thinks it’s a load of old jargon, does it really matter? Because I am proud of this piece for speaking from my heart. And being ourselves is something we should all be proud of.