‘Staying true to yourself’ may look different for everyone.
However, we all still need integrity and self-respect when pursuing a transparent and trust-worthy journey with ourselves.
In simple words, staying true to yourself involves:
- Standing up for yourself whenever needed
- knowing where to draw the line with other people.
- Setting and respecting your boundaries can be viewed as one of the many ways to stay true to yourself.
Being true to yourself can have an extremely positive impact on one’s life.
- It can help build qualities such as independence and confidence.
- It can even help one gain the ability to navigate their way through life more effectively.
While you’re being true to yourself, it might also motivate you to always put your best foot forward and show the world what you’re all about. Being true to yourself can help make sure you lead a life you’re satisfied with.
At the end of the day, it’s all about you!
The act of staying true to yourself can take many forms that can broadly be divided into three categories:
- Acting with Integrity in Social Situations
- Getting to know yourself better
- Letting go of the negativity
1. Acting with Integrity
Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” Acting with integrity means sticking to your principles and being honest to yourself at all times. This act can be done in several ways.
Be honest in conversations.
No matter who you’re talking to, make sure you’re being honest and truthful. Speak only that which you genuinely mean.
In this age and time, it can get easy to give in to societal pressures and become a reflection of their standards; it takes courage to be different and speak the truth. People that maintain their sense of integrity make sure it isn’t compromised even in the slightest bit; they are honest about their feelings and thoughts.
While putting out these thoughts and feelings for the world, it is also essential to be kind and not force your opinion on others.
For example, if your friends seem to like a trending show or series but you don’t, you could be true to yourself by saying something like, “It doesn’’t suit my taste, but I’m glad you guys liked the show/ series.”
Lift others, don’t push them down
When we’re hanging out with our friends or simply just talking to a group of people, we might notice that one person is constantly picked on and made fun of. Don’t do that!
Part of staying true to yourself is to not put others down for the sake of making yourself look better.
People often feel superior by making others feel small; a person true to himself will always empathize with others. So, they avoid teasing, even if it’s supposed to be “friendly.”
When you speak up for others in need, it will help your friends realize that they’re not being kind and that you have morals that won’t change simply to ‘fit in’ or ‘be cool.’
Choose your company wisely.
As the saying goes, ‘Birds of a feather flock together.’ Pick friends with integrity if you want to be like them.
The company one keeps can significantly influence the kind of person one becomes. It can be challenging to be true to yourself if you pick friends that pressure you to be someone you are not. Support in friendships can have a tremendous impact on a person’s individuality. Friends like these will make sure to call you out when you’re not yourself.
Two tips you can keep in mind when picking friends are:
- Choose kind and friendly people that don’t debilitate your choices. Make sure they are friends with the real you and have an idea of who you indeed are.
- Integrity can be contagious too. Choose friends and family that will be your integrity police and help you make the right decisions.
- Don’t try to be someone else.
Make sure to never deceive people about who you are or what you like. People who are faithful to themselves are assertive and don’t mind speaking their minds when needed. If your own beliefs or opinions differ from your friends, let them know your side always.
Be comfortable with who you are and never conceal parts of yourself to be a people pleaser. Let your personality shine!
For example, if your friends plan to watch a football game and you are not very fond of it, you can simply suggest something like, “We always watch football; let’s go to the arcade this weekend?” The tone of conversation when you put this across also matters greatly, so be careful not to be rude.
2. Getting to know yourself better
Getting to know yourself better is an act of self-love. When you know who you are, you can be confident about your choices in life.
Getting to know yourself better can look like this:
Keep Your Values in Check
Your morality and values guide your behaviors and interests. Figuring out your values and why you want to have them is worth the effort, trust me.
You can identify your core values and keep them in check by following these steps:
- Step 1: Make a list of the characteristics you think are essential.
- Step 2: Place them in an orderly fashion ranging from most to least important to you.
- Step 3: Identify the top 5- 7 values; these are your core values.
Your core values may change over a period. Understand that you may want to add new significances or remove old ones from the list and that it’s okay to do so. You can do this whenever you feel the need to.
Know Your Likes and Interests
Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. You are the only person who can determine what you like and what you don’t. You’re entitled to your opinions, preferences, and choices, and you’re responsible for yourself.
Some ways in which you can know more about your likes and preferences is by understanding what you love doing. What is it that makes you happy? What is something you want to do in your free time? Give yourself the exposure and space to grow your passions and interests.
All of us have made mistakes at some point in our lives. Sometimes, we get a little to hard on ourselves for making errors. Instead of beating yourself up, learn to forgive yourself. Understand that mistakes will hep you learn and grow.
It is more important to learn from mistakes than to carry the regret of making them in the first place. Learn to evaluate your lessons and move forward with your head up. Living in the past will not help you stay true to yourself in any way.
For example, if you’ve failed an exam in school, make sure you study harder for the next one instead of thinking about how you could’ve done better in this one.
Set realistic goals and expectations
The acronym SMART is often used in psychology to describe goals.
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Attainable
- R – Relevant
- T – Time-bound
When setting goals, they must follow the above characteristics. These characteristics will motivate you to achieve your goals and make them real for you.
An example of how you can employ the acronym is, suppose you wish to be an artist:
Step 1 is specific, so decide what kind of an artist you wish to be.
Step 2 measures what level of professionalism you want to be at.
Step 3 is to decide how you can attain being an artist. Will you contact a local art museum to showcase your art? Or will you start your own business? Be realistic while thinking of how you want to attain your goal.
Step 4 is to make sure the goal of becoming an artist is relevant to your interest and likes.
Step 5 is to decide roughly how much time it will take for you to achieve this goal. Is it 3 years or 5 years or more? You decide.
3. Letting Go of the Negativity
A negative self-image can be very harmful to the process of being true to yourself. If you don’t like who you are, it can get tough to be true to someone you dislike.
Here are some ways how you can have a more positive self-image:
Don’t take negative/ harsh criticism to the heart
Suppose you have people in your life that just don’t seem to stop handing out criticism about everything. In that case, you must learn to either cut them off or not take the complaint seriously. The people that genuinely love you will accept you for who you are instead of making you feel bad for who you’re not.
In some cases, however, criticism can also be positive. Constructive feedback can help you grow into a better person. It is essential to know the difference between positive and negative criticism. One quote that can help you do this is, “Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t go to for advice.”
For example, if you can’t trust your friend to give an honest opinion on things, don’t go to them for advice. If they criticize you, don’t take the criticism seriously.
Remind Yourself of Your Virtues
Being kind to yourself can be challenging, especially when things go wrong in life. What helps in dealing with these negative self-thought patterns is reminding yourself of who you are and how much you value being a good person in life.
Think about the times you’ve helped others or the time you made a friend smile. Often, these little things that we seem to take for granted have a significant impact on our self-esteem.
An activity that can help you remind yourself of your virtues can be:
- Pull out a sheet of paper
- Write 5 good qualities or things you love about yourself
- Every day you can add one more quality to the list
- Put the sheet up somewhere you can constantly read ir, so you’re reminded that you are a good human being.
Focus on Your Strengths
Being authentic means working on being your best self. When you know of your strengths, you can work towards enhancing them.
For example, suppose you have a good sense of humor. In that case, you can use this humor to help make your friends and family smile, or if you’re an empath and can sense something is wrong with a family member, you can lend them a listening ear.
Focusing on your strengths will encourage you to have a positive self-image and stay true to your beliefs. It will also help you be you even in situations where you might feel the pressure to become someone that’s not you.
Know your flaws and embrace them
Every human being is flawed, and that is entirely okay. Acknowledge these flaws and examine them. Accepting yourself goes a long way in being true to yourself at all times.
If you are aware of your flaws and are working towards accepting them, no one else will be able to make you feel bad for having the flaws you do. Understand that you don’t have to be perfect to accept yourself. Being true to yourself means knowing the good and the bad about yourself and embracing them equally.
What is essential is giving your best and realizing that your best is enough, and it will always be. It is okay to work to improve aspects of yourself.
For example, if you tend to get angry quickly, you may learn ways of letting out this anger in a healthy way that doesn’t hurt others.
Some tips that will help you stay true to yourself:
Getting to know yourself, learning to accept who you are, and staying true to this person is a process; make sure not to rush it!
Here are some things you can do to help you be true to yourself and celebrate that person:
Stop caring about what other people think about you:
No one’s opinion of you is who you are; your opinion of you is. You can take the views of your loved ones every once in a while. Still, ultimately, your own opinion about yourself will affect the way you live.
Wear what you wish to! Eat what you want! Don’t let others dictate how you should be living YOUR life. If you’re not doing something out of the thought that people will think you’re stupid/ weird for doing it, re-evaluate your ideas and take that leap!
Go for whatever you want in life, and don’t ever be apologetic for it!
Go for solo trips or dates:
There must’ve been times where you came across people sitting alone at a restaurant/park. We immediately pity them, ‘that is so sad!’ Have you ever stopped and thought that maybe the person just needed to spend some time alone with themself, or perhaps they enjoy their own company.
If you’re scared of being judged when you go alone outside, don’t be! Take yourself on dates and treat yourself as you treat someone you love.
Keep a journal:
Maintain a record of how you feel, think, or simply of how you spend your days. This will help you focus on strengths and be a better person in life.
Journaling is a way of getting to know yourself at a deeper level, and it is also a way of talking to your inner self.
Sometimes we stop ourselves from doing many things because they might be inconvenient for others. This is your sign to permit yourself to do whatever it is you like!
Let yourself feel things, experience adventures, try new hobbies. Give yourself permission to be you.
It might sound superficial to think of, but it is so so important to love yourself. There is no way of being true to yourself if you don’t like who you are. If you struggle to love yourself, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. One simple advice is to just spend time doing things you like— whether it’s going for a walk every day or singing your heart out while doing your chores. You can do whatever that makes you feel better!
Self-love and being true to yourself go hand in hand. The more you love yourself, the more likely you are to be true to yourself. Similarly, the more accurate you are to yourself, the more you seem to love who you are!