I’ve been thinking about the oft-pandered advice, “be yourself”. At the surface of things, it seems quite simple: how else can you exist except as yourself? For the purposes of this argument I’ll assign a specific meaning to the concept of “yourself”; instead of using it as an all-encompassing term to describe every aspect of your personality, appearance, lifestyle and history, use it to describe only your very basic and essential awareness and existence, what some would describe as your soul. It’s then fairly easy to see that the majority of the characteristics you would use to describe yourself (red-headed, loud-mouthed, hilarious) are ideas borrowed from the world around us and tried on for size.
Anyway as you strip your way down to this basic concept of who “yourself” is, you see that quite a bit of what makes up you from the inside is your behaviours. Ideally, in order to be yourself as a whole, you would have to ensure that your behaviours properly reflect “yourself”. This would require consideration of what causes these behaviours. Some things exist only due to your exposure to the world you live in, and could be imagined as the impression something heavy leaves on the surface of something more pliable. Take away or change your environment and those parts of yourself may never have developed. Other attributes are largely genetic or inherent and, odds are, would have developed regardless of the surrounding environment.
I’m reaching the idea which got me thinking about this subject: change. Unlike Gregory House, I believe that people can change. If one were to follow the thought that “being yourself” is the best thing, then there logically follows that there would be people who would not appreciate or be appreciated by others. When it gets to a point where one of the qualities integral to “yourself” is viewed as undesirable, then being “yourself” is no longer for the best. In fact, if a person were to relish and allow this trait to dominate their life, they would be called a great number of things by the majority, none particularly pleasant.
I guess the conclusion I’ve come to is that in some cases, behaviours, if not traits, that a person has come to identify within themselves as wrong, bad or unpleasant do require change. And sometimes maybe it’s not for the best to be “yourself”, but as you grow and evolve as a person you need to make sure that the changes you make in your life need to be both agreeable to you and to the world at large.
Man, my head hurts after thinking about this.