Sometimes a life lesson repeats itself over and over again, until one day…BAM! The light comes on, and this time it doesn’t flicker, it doesn’t dim, it continues to burn brightly in your spirit. One such lesson is “Do You”. For those not familiar with this hip-hop vernacular, it means “Be Yourself.”
At times we’ll find ourselves in situations where we feel it’s best to repress portions, or all of who we really are. We might do it in response to our fears of being judged or rejected, to make others more comfortable with us, or because we think that other’s paradigms and experiences are more insightful and therefore more valuable than our own.
Common sense and life experiences teach us that there will be situations in which behavior modifications are necessary. For example we modify our attire for work, we modify our vocabulary when speaking with a child versus an adult, and modify our eating habits when dining in public. However hiding or repressing our very essence is injurious. By applying a few simple techniques we can always stay connected to our authentic self:
- Don’t Go Against the Grain – When you shave and go in the opposite direction of the hair’s grain (i.e., growth pattern) it produces painful and unsightly hair bumps. Get my point?
- Trust Your Instincts – Don’t underestimate the power of your internal messages. Even when they feel wrong, they’re generally right. To further explore how to effectively utilize our intuition, a must read is Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.
- Don’t Compare Apples and Oranges – Role models are great, however they are just that–models. Look for ways to incorporate positive traits that a role model imbues without losing the qualities that make you unique. Remember that you cannot be like anyone else, any more than someone else will be able to be like you.