”You need to learn how to be yourself and stop behaving like someone you’re not. If you do this, you’ll be happy.” This advice from our close family members and friends is nothing new, it’s been a deeply held conviction for centuries.
What if being yourself means you’re not a nice person? We all have different personalities, and unique traits in behaviour that belong to us whether we are acting nice or not, but do you really believe that being your existing self is the solution?
Truth of the matter is, we are always copying peoples behavioural traits throughout life. We absorb information and other peoples cultures/characteristics like a soapy sponge. Some people are more prone to it than others. I’ve known some people to move to another country and adopt, after some time, their accent and even cultural attitudes.
If I act like an ass, my children have a higher chance of growing up to act like asses too. In Ireland we have this saying that ”what’s in the cat is in the kitten.” I’m a believer that nobody ever grows up being themselves, it’s ridiculous. We are raised and absorb the personal traits of others and particular cultural attitudes.
When people approach me, telling me to be myself, my response is always, ”so you want me to continue behaving like an ass? Ok then, I’ll be myself and tell you to get lost. Go on get out of my space and take your unibrow with you ok?” Uh oh, looks like someone doesn’t want me being myself now, and all of a sudden they’re telling me ”you need to change Stephen, become a new person.” HA! I’m like…wait.. what happened to being myself? Now you’re dissatisfied with me being myself and want me to change?
See? You’ve got blind people leading blind people in this world. We all go around in circles falling into the same dark pit of ignorance time and time again. If I want advice on who I should and should not be, believe me, big beer bellied Joe, whose IQ goes no higher than the national speed limit, is going to be the last person I take lectures from. You know, it’s not just people like him who say this rubbish but people with PHD’s in psychology. ”Oh I’m going to show you how to be yourself”. ”Oh wonderful, I’m a serial killer, so how does that work?”. Idiots the lot of them.
Is there really a true self though? I mean, yeah sure, I believe there is a true self just not how the world imagines it. This is going to sound contradictory and convoluted but hang in there, there’s virtual tea and biscuits for all who make it to the end.
When we imitate Christ, I mean really imitate Him, and peel off our existing selves, the ego and all that junk that goes with it, then we discover who we really are. The human experience and purpose in life is to get to know Christ, and by knowing Him we come to know our true self and purpose. For as long as we want to be like our favourite pop idol, or allow the culture to form us into their way of thinking, we are never really being ourselves.
By imitating the truth, we become the truth by participation in the Divine Will. By imitating the world and all its false ego, joys and love, we never discover who we really are. It’s the change in us, the renewal of the mind from one illusory set of ideals to another, that will change the world. Until we do some digging and begin to take that path, the ”be yourself” mantra just continues to be bad advice, because how you can be yourself when you don’t even know who you really are? Come on!!!
I’m telling you right now, not to be yourself, because you’re an ass. If you want to discover who you truly are, nail your old self to the Cross and discover the new you by becoming transformed in Christ Jesus.