Sometimes I want to be anyone but who I am. No, make that sometimes I always want to be anyone but who I am. Why is that you ask? Is it because I’m fat or ugly or stupid or unsuccessful? Is it because I’m depressed or lonely or confused or lost in life? It’s all and none. It’s true and false. It’s that I hate who I am. It’s that I love who I am. It’s that I just don’t always know.
I think a lot about what it would be like to be other people. Or to be myself but if I was living a different life. It’s a nice fantasy to drift into when I’m feeling down about myself. But then there are times when I’m hit with irreplaceable joy at being alive. I’m so happy to be living and so floored by the idea that I am living as ME that I can’t imagine existing any other way. And it’s in those moments that I have to revel in the beauty of life. They don’t come all that often, but when they do, it’s the most glorious feeling. And it’s that feeling—that pure JOY of being who you are—that I want to share with you today in hopes that you might find it and enjoy it in the moment as well.
1.) You are the only you.
Doppelgängers aside, the you that is inside, the one that has completely unique characteristics, DNA, and history, that “you” can never be replicated by another person. In nature or by man’s intervention, it’s impossible to recreate all those tiny and seemingly insignificant factors that went into making you who you are. You are, in truth, “special” because there is no one else like you nor can there ever be anyone else like you. Rejoice! You are the singular stakeholder in the stock that is “you,” and you get to keep it for all of your life.
2.) You, being you, brings others joy.
But then you might say, “what does it matter if I’m the only me? I don’t like who I am, special or not.” Ah, but you see, you bring joy to someone. You may not know who. It may only be your mother or the man who runs the fish market down the street, but don’t they matter? Isn’t their joy important? Doesn’t it make you feel just a little bit amazing to know that your mere existence—your non-effort at being yourself—makes someone else happy? I might just have a people-pleasing problem, but I find it reassuring to know that there are people out there who want me and need me to be me because it makes being themselves easier.
3.) If you aren’t you, then who will be?
Imagining ourselves as other people is a standard past time. It’s portrayed in movies and books and short stories, but is it realistic? Of course not. You can’t just decide that you’re going to be someone else, walk out of your skin, and step into someone else’s shoes. (What a terror that would be! People just get tired of their lives at any point and becoming someone rich and famous. But what would happen to their original selves? Who would fill their shoes? It’s not so simple as deciding you don’t want to be yourself anymore. It would leaves ripples in the universe that would disrupt the balance of things. You being you—or at least the fact that you EXIST—is essential to the way the world works. If you just disappeared, we’d be left with a hole that you might think is insignificant but truly does matter in the grand scheme of things. No one is going to come take your place, and that’s why it’s so important for you to be you.
4.) You can’t be truly happy without being you.
This is the number one reason that I advocate for being yourself. People like to believe that they can just pretend to be something they’re not—something or someone they think would make their life better if they were—only to spend their lives feeling empty, worthless, and pointless. Feeling these negative emotions is completely understandable, but I think they only truly occur when we aren’t honest with ourselves about who we are. When we try to scrunch and squeeze into a mold that isn’t our own, we diminish ourselves and our potential for happiness. Our real happiness can only come from embracing all of our idiosyncrasies and quirks—all those things we try to hide and we think makes us undesirable or weird or unworthy. But, in truth, it’s those little things that make us unique and when we accept them and feel others accept them too, we find happiness.
5.) “You” isn’t static.
While point four is my number one reason for being yourself, point five is the most important. I think most of us believe that we are who we are and that’s it. If we feel like that person isn’t desirable to the rest of the world then we lose all hope for a bright future and happiness. But what you have to understand is that we have the greatest capability for change, and we change naturally. There is deciding that you don’t like who you are and that you need to be someone who you think is more awesome, and then there is naturally and gradually growing and developing into the best version of you. There is a huge difference between these two approaches to life. I think we are always ourselves, but I think we also always have potential for growth. We must continually strive towards the better and fuller version of ourselves. I think that’s where we find our peace. Where we find our happiness. Where we find truth.
You aren’t static. You are a dynamic, ever-growing human who has potential and a future. And if you didn’t exist, especially if you didn’t exist as the person you are now, the world would never and could never be the same. So be who you are because you are important piece of the grand puzzle of the universe.