12 Jul, 2019Who’s you are you being?
How many times in your life has somebody offered you a well-meaning piece of advice and said, “Just be yourself?”
It sounds so simple doesn’t it? And don’t you just wish that you could just be yourself? But it isn’t simple. It can be really hard and the older we are the harder it feels.
Being ‘yourself’ at any point in time is shaped by what you think of yourself and who you have practiced being. The vast majority of us spend the bulk of our time being one of these three versions of our self:
1. What you’ve been told about who you are
We are so keen to be liked and to fit in that we act on the feedback we receive rather than be ourselves. We act according to what others have said about us: “Don’t shout,” “you are such a confident person,” “lunchtime is at 12:30,” and act accordingly.
We behave how others expect us to behave. But, there are as many opinions of you as there are people, so we are constantly changing who we are in order to seek approval.
2. What you think others want to see of who you are
Decisions in the first case are supported by “What do people expect?” while in this case they are made via “How will I look?” and “What do people want to see.”
We supress our true self in favour of the type of person we think we ought to be. We acquire the moods and behaviours of those around us in order to fit in. If you don’t believe me, go and hang out in a room full of people who are really angry or highly stressed and see how long it takes for you to feel the same way.
3. What you think of yourself.
In a world where you are constantly surrounded by messages telling you ‘You aren’t good enough,’ it is easy to believe that and to start to act that way. We tell ourselves stories about what we can’t do (“I’m useless at sports,” “I’m no good with technology,” “I’m not creative.”) and we buy into those stories.
Who you are is a habit
The more we act in these ways, the more we get good at it. We develop habits and respond according to these ideas of who we really are. The more we practice, the stronger the habits that form. In fact, it is said that, by the time we reach the age of 35, 95% of who we are is a set of conditioned responses.
You are who you have practiced being. And you’ve got really good at it!
Of course, you may be perfectly content with that. You fit at work and people seem to like you. You can step up to meet expectations and, while there are doubts in your mind, you can push past them to get what you want in life. If that’s you: great!
If, however, you know that you aren’t being true to yourself and there is another you, the ‘real you’ hiding within, then how do you break 35, 45, 55 or more years of conditioning to become the best version of yourself.
Four steps to become yourself
I’m not going to give you any promises that being the authentic version of yourself is easy – changing the habits of a lifetime can be really uncomfortable – but the actions you need to take aren’t complicated if you are prepared to do the work.
- Who do you want to become? Create a vision for the best version of yourself. Don’t dwell on what is wrong with you now, focus on your ideal self instead.
- Let go of what no longer serves you. To become your best self, there are things you need to leave behind and what aspects of how you act that you need to let go of.
- Act the part. With your ideal self in your mind, start acting that way. Every decision you make, decide as future-you and be the person you wish to become. Form new habits for how you behave.
- Get help. Transforming yourself is a challenge, so don’t try to do it alone. Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of the five people you spend most time with. So make sure those five people are going to help and support you reach that vision of your future self.
If you are ready to make the change, whatever your age, know that the results will be worth it.
One way to guide you to become the best version of yourself is to work with a coach. My online coaching programme has been helping people create incredible results in their lives – in their health, their relationships and their work – and showing them how to break free of the conditioning of a lifetime.
To see if this can help you too and to book an initial call, visit www.petecohen.com/coaching