General Question

willbrawn's avatar

Why can't a lot of people just be themselves?

Asked by willbrawn (6609points) August 20th, 2008 from iPhone

what is it about society that says don’t be yourself? Why do we listen to the masses when people around us say be yourself?

Side not question. Are you happier being yourself or the person someone else wants you to be? I think some people would rather be accepted than live with the possible fear of rejection.

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

People who don’t like themselves very much are afraid to be themselves. They discount themselves as being good enough and so act pretentious, lie, craft a mask, whatever.

flameboi's avatar

Because for some stupid reason, we need to be accepted by others…

firehorse's avatar

This dynamic is extraordinarilyt complex and has to do with how we identify, culture, and “domestication” – just for starters.

First, our culture (U.S.) highly values individuals – sometimes over community. We tend to identify as a one-and-only, independent entity being pushed, pulled, and manipulated by other “individuals” in a constant battle for control and power. Other cultures identify communally, as one among and with many, and don’t seem to have the constant “who am I?” question.

And then there’s the courage of honesty and compassion when you feel threatened by someone who does not have your best interests at heart; can I still be me when I’m present with a very different you?

Also, how “socialized” is any particular person? We need to adjust behavior in the presence of diverse others (parents, children, co-workers, lovers, friends, pen pals, etc.) and our experiences in any of these realms will smooth the practice remaining “yourself” when around others.

Ultimately, we often find that when we are honestly present with each other, not focusing on “being myself,” we find we are far more authentic and, well, happy. We are a herd/tribe animal, after all.

wildflower's avatar

How do you respond to people who are completely different from you? Those reactions can be hurtful and some would rather avoid that hurt.
Personally I find I generally am myself, but I’m not particularly one-sides and a lot of people label me based on – or only ever experience – one side of me. Some of those perceptions I’d like to change, but some I just wouldn’t care to make the effort to change.

trumi's avatar

I love being myself! I just don’t know which one to choose….

cyndyh's avatar

I think a lot of people still haven’t figured out who they are. So when they’re told to be themselves, when they want to be themselves, it’s hard for them to know what that means.

For others I think it is a fear of what others will do with that.

I think it gets easier as you get older.

buster's avatar

Because they are chickenshit conformists like their parents.

augustlan's avatar

When one is trying to be something other, – something better – than one’s true self, it is often because he or she wish it were so. From my own experience, living like that means you are at constant odds with yourself, never quite measuring up to your own ideal. Learning to accept yourself, as you truly are, makes all the difference, both in how you feel about yourself and how you present yourself to the world.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

I do not think we are born ‘knowing’ who we are. We first look to our parents or guardians. We may think we ARE like them or definitely NOT like them. Then we work towards that goal. But as we age and hopefully become wiser, we find we have our own opinions, believes, and skill-sets. Now it probably depends on how secure we feel—if we can just ‘be ourselves.’ I think this takes time and practice. But the more you are yourself, the more rewarding you find it.

I am myself. I didn’t always know who I was. I was raised in 23 different homes and mostly what I knew was what I wasn’t or didn’t want to be. It took introspection, time, and experimentation to find myself and be comfortable with me.

I’d MUCH rather be myself—I would refuse to be what anyone else wanted me to be—because then even if they ‘liked’ or loved me——it wouldn’t be me, would it? So I wouldn’t feel happy.

And I don’t live with rejection because I do find folks who like me for me. And rejection is outside myself and does not impact how I feel about myself.

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