Don’t be yourself
"Just be yourself"
This pop phrase is bad advice.
It's usually said with good intentions, as in "Be authentic."
But there is a more insidious meaning behind those words.
You’re about to go on a date, or go in for a job interview. You’re nervous. A friend says, “Relax and just be yourself!”
Which self? The you that lazes around at home when alone? The you that shies away from strangers at parties?
What if your natural self is not courageous?
Most of what makes you “you” is below your consciousness. There’s so much more about you than you can be aware of. It’s hard to be true to yourself when it’s impossible to know what your true self is.
Or maybe, however you act is exactly aligned with your true self...
This begs the philosophical question: What is self?
Do we even have a self? In Buddhism there is the concept of the "no self." Self is an illusion. In that case "Be yourself" = “Remain in illusion”
The Ship of Theseus shows that whatever your "self" is, it’s not set in stone.
Down to your very cells, they are not satisfied with just being themselves. They are constantly dividing and growing.
Life is growth. “Just be” leads to decay.
Let's not become complacent. Strive to be "Just Beyond Yourself" (poem title by David Whyte)
Don't be yourself. Become better.
This is a repost of this tweet thread. Apr 15, 2021