One of the most common advice, and also the one that can cause the most damage is: "be yourself". Many people have been successful by being themselves, but many others have failed or have had serious problems. While it may seem like a contradiction and many are likely to disagree, being ourselves is no guarantee of success or satisfaction in life. Or at least, not always.
Why is it not always advisable to "be yourself"?
Let's not be fooled, we have as many strengths as weaknesses, as many lights as shadows. In some cases, being ourselves can mean the possibility of those shadows obscuring our lights.
While we don't normally like to admit it, our behavior and decisions are determined by multiple factors that we aren't always aware of. For example, our nervous system determines our relationship with the world from birth. This is why there are nervous children who are easily frightened and others who are much more phlegmatic and resilient. The characteristics of our nervous system influence our character, making it more or less impulsive, more or less phlegmatic.
Of course, life experiences also determine who we are. The attachment that we develop in childhood towards our parents, their educational style and even their personality characteristics, have been imprinted somewhere in our mind and from there continue to condition the relationship we establish with ourselves and with. the others. How we process such experiences becomes our model of the world, which can be more or less subjective.
Being ourselves implies, in a certain way, giving free rein to those less desirable characteristics and condemning ourselves to immobility.
In fact, there is a big difference between developmental and conservative self-acceptance. Accepting ourselves implies, first of all, knowing ourselves well, but it also means recognizing and assuming that there are aspects that we do not like. At this point we could adopt a conservative stance and just accept what we don't like, thinking that “we are like this and we cannot change”, or we can adopt a development stance and strive to improve a little more every day.
Be our best version
If you are an impulsive person, who makes decisions without thinking, who quits homework in the middle, who falls apart at the first hurdle, or usually focuses on the negative, being yourself won't give you many rewarding experiences. On the contrary, it can create a vicious circle that gives way to psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Therefore, the best advice is: "be the best version of yourself". This does not mean feeling guilty or unhappy for our "shadows", but striving every day to be the person we would like to be.
Being the best version of ourselves does not mean being inconsistent or ceasing to be authentic, authenticity is the ability to express who we are, but in the most assertive way possible, without harming others or ourselves. If being authentic means hurting yourself and limiting yourself or harming others, then we have a problem.
In this case, it is important to do an exercise in introspection and ask ourselves if there is no excuse behind that presumed "authenticity" not to work on the shadows of our personality. Taming our nervous system and silencing the influence of our past experiences is difficult, so we often feel much more comfortable in the comfort zone we have created. The problem is that in that limited space we don't grow.
Therefore, be authentic, but always try to be the best version of yourself possible. Don't love yourself too much that you make the mistake of thinking that there is no more room for growth and development.