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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Is 'be yourself' really such great advice?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38975points) April 18th, 2009

what if you think that the person should, in fact, change something about themselves…this is if they’re asking you about what they should do in a relationship or a friendship…I don’t believe in the whole ‘oh we’re just human, people make mistakes’ reason for all things…I do think people should identify flaws within themselves or understand their flaws when made aware of them and they should strive to be better people…so much stagnation is caused by people thinking that others should just ‘accept’ them and while acceptance is necessary in that no one should be discriminated against based on things like race or sexuality but people should be ‘bothered’ if others think they’re mean or cheap or stupid…

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22 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

There’s a difference between “be yourself” and “do whatever you want”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater what if the person can’t see or doesn’t believe there’s a difference..after all, thy can and have just say that i shouldnt change them or their partner shouldnt change them…and its not us changing them but change is necessary

hug_of_war's avatar

Being yourself and thinking you’re perfect aren’t the same thing.

ru2bz46's avatar

It’s good advice as long as the person is not a dick.

charliecompany34's avatar

if i were myself, especially in front of an audience where i have to speak, i would say a couple cuss words and offend somebody.

to say “be yourself” simply means just “go with the flow,” but it does not include being professional or tactful.

i am always in front of people, speaking publicly. some people can be themselves and work the crowd and some “just don’t have it.”

the “it” factor is “charisma.” if you have charisma, no matter what you say, people love you anyway. just make sure you have a great PR agent to do damage control.

FGS's avatar

Not if that person is a total fucking douchebag…by all means…be someone else.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Perhaps you should show this person this thread so they can have proof from an impartial third party? If this person thinks they are perfect than it will be difficult to change their minds. They will have to want to participate in self examination.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater
what if they don’t think they’re perfect? what if they know their flaws but don’t feel they need to change because people ‘shouldn’t change for others’

trishanddan's avatar

People don’t change… you can help enlighten to certain things about themselves, but ultimately, it is their choice… they won’t change for YOU, but might see your point, and change (their choice) because they want to change.

TjHare's avatar

Being yourself mean’s not adhering to other peoples standards, and part of finding out what you truly want for your life.. Everyone’s different and everyones the same, to differentiate on that is to go insane! (rhyme time). Also, don’t change, just grow ! (It’s a more positive way of looking at it.) :)

wundayatta's avatar

There’s a difference between someone saying, “that’s just me being me,” and someone advising, “be yourself.” The first case is someone trying to excuse their behavior (with a feeble excuse). The second case it usually when someone sees a person trying to be something other than what they are, and it just isn’t working. Worse, it is counterproductive.

Usually you tell someone to be themselves when you know they are good when they are natural, and they really suck whent they try to be something else. Also, sometimes, it’s just impossible to be something other than what you have been all your life.

That Susan Broyle performance? That was her being her. Being natural. Accepting who she is, and doing what she loves. She wasn’t trying to be a star, or to be beautiful. She could have tried, but it would never have worked. Instead, she was herself, and totally blew everyone away.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir People don’t change unless they are willing. It may take the proverbial two-by-four to the head for this willingness to come about.. but it may be in there. I think it’s a selfish thing to say “People shouldn’t change for others” .. it’s ridiculous… of course you don’t change your core personality.. but there are things you can do to compromise with someone you care about..to make things easier or nicer for them.. doing so exhibits caring…

An unwillingness to even discuss such a compromise may indicate a lack of caring.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@daloon i LOVE that woman
she’s my new favorite person

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’m definitely in agreement with Daloon about this, “Usually you tell someone to be themselves when you know they are good when they are natural, and they really suck when they try to be something else”

People who feel it’s important to change to be better for themselves and others will change or at least try and the ones hung up on stubborn adages about not having to change for others will have to accept others are going to step around them and leave them behind if their ways are destructive or hurtful.

YARNLADY's avatar

Not really. If someone is very shy and wants to be popular, that advice is not going to help at all.

augustlan's avatar

I always interpreted ‘be yourself’ as ‘be true to yourself’. I think Daloon and H.H.H. have made excellent points here. Sometimes, we are who we are, and can’t really change, no matter how much we might wish to. When that is the case, we have to understand that some people won’t accept us as we are. That’s ok. As the song says, “You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.”

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know. I try to be the best me I can be though I don’t always meet my own expectations. When I realize that something I do or something I am is annoying or hurtful to other people, I try to be better, but in the end being myself, warts and all is a lot easier and less stressful than trying to be something I’m not. It’s hard to keep up with yourself if you’re some kind of creation or performance in need of constant upkeep instead of just being yourself.

mattbrowne's avatar

Most of the time yes, but there are exceptions. At your job sometimes ‘tactical behavior’ can make sense and be beneficial. As long as you don’t lose your overall authenticity there’s really no harm.

ninjacolin's avatar

it’s not possible to not be yourself no matter what you do.

Shegrin's avatar

“Be yourself” is not necessarily directly related to “change things about yourself that you don’t like.”

When the directive ‘Be Yourself’ is put out there, it generally means don’t overact or be nervous. Make the person/situation you’re with/in feel comfortable. Be like you are with your friends, minus foul language and/ or drug and alcohol use, where applicable.

Also, most people won’t tell you what you need to change about yourself unless you ask, and even then they won’t be 100% honest. You usually make those decisions internally.

All in all, “Be Yourself” is pretty good advice, since it’s easier to pick up where you left off if you don’t have a bunch of half-truths that you have to constantly keep track of so you won’t get caught not being yourself.

Ghost_in_the_system's avatar

Not to a multiple personality

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