People are always saying, “Be yourself.” Especially in the context of dating, right before a date- “Just be yourself.” I never fully understood what that means. You are yourself, how can you be anything besides yourself? I understand that often people put on facades and act a certain way just for show, but their choice of how to act reflects who they are.
Human beings are complex and are not one certain way. A person can act one way in one situation and a different way in a different situation and there is no problem with that. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t being themselves. They are just choosing to express or emphasize a certain aspect of themselves.
Perhaps people mean don’t pretend to be a certain way just to please people. For example, don’t say you’re interesting in something that you have no interest in, simply to get a person’s attention. But to me that is not a matter of “being yourself” but rather a matter of honestly. In which case people should say, “Don’t lie.”
Maybe what “Be yourself” means is be active in expressing all aspects of yourself. Don’t hide a part of yourself because you’re afraid that people won’t like it or approve of it. Don’t over-emphasize or build up a part of yourself that isn’t so important to you. There are many facets to each individual, and we each choose which parts we like and which parts we don’t.
This can be hard to do on dates if you’re too focused on what the person thinks about you and if they like you or not. I think instead of “Be yourself” we should say “Express all aspects of youself,” or “don’t hide certain parts of yourself.” You are who you are, all the many components combined together. If you only show the world one slice of yourself, then they are missing out on seeing the real you.