When “Be Yourself” is Bad Advice

People mean well when they say “be yourself.”

But just because something’s well-intentioned doesn’t mean it works out for the best. So, today let’s talk about a few times when “be yourself” is terrible advice.

  1. When the person doesn’t know who they are. I’ve been told there are people making good money helping other people figure out how to act like themselves. It sounds crazy, but it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Many people don’t know how to be themselves because they don’t really know who they are. The last time they sat down and really thought about who they were was a long, long time ago.
  2. When it’s used as an excuse to be rude. If you mistreat somebody and excuse yourself for it by saying “that’s just my personality” then we’ve got a problem. Around here “be yourself” should not be taken to excuse bad actors and bad behavior. It’s a challenge to navigate life without suppressing your strengths and best attributes. That’s very different from mistreating people and saying “Sorry, that’s just how I am.”

To sum it up: “Be yourself” can be excellent advice when it’s properly understood. But you can’t really be yourself if you don’t know who you are, and you shouldn’t use “be yourself” as an excuse to indulge poor behavior.

To your growth,

John

P.S.: I’m working on a mini course to give you a process for figuring out who you really are and how to use your personality to your benefit. It’s not ready yet, but you can be sure not to miss it by signing up for my mailing list. As a bonus, you’ll also receive my special report on how to get un-stuck.