Don’t be Yourself

Be yourself. The world’s constantly trying to make you someone else.

– The guy that dropped out of Alcoholics Anonymous.

We find ourselves in this inexplicable crucible of trying to be ourselves while simultaneously trying to answer the question “what if I am an idiot?” Let’s start with the premise that I am an idiot. There are three possible reactions:

  1. I recognize and accept you I am an idiot; mostly right.
  2. I think the other person is an idiot; mostly wrong, but sometimes undeniably verifiably true.
  3. I think “Who? Idiot! Me? No way! I am so rad.”; always wrong.

We could spend the rest of the post dismantling the meaning of be yourself and never get to an answer – and you could call me an idiot for wasting your time and move on with your life. Or we could both agree being yourself is one of those things that no one understands and talk about the truth: we all want to be someone else.

The problem with being yourself is not in the meaning. It’s in the being. Which yourself do you be? Do you be the yourself that you once were, or yourself that you now are, or the yourself you want to become? The answer seems obvious: you can only be the yourself that you are now. This begs the question:

Can you step in the same river twice?

Who you are is a constantly moving thing, like the flowing river. You may argue that fundamentally, you are still the water in the river and that’s who you will be, but that’s never enough. We want to be the potent whiteness in the falls; We want to be the eternal depth in the ocean; We want to be the falling drop in the rain. We want to be the blue that’s 70% earth! We want to be more than just water in a river. The world’s not trying to make you someone else. You are.

You know what’s harder than being yourself in a world that’s constantly trying to make you someone else? To become someone else in a world that wants you to remain who you once were.

Being someone else leaves everyone around us confused. Just when you begin to think you are at the best stage of your life, everyone around seems to say, “You’ve changed so much.” The mildly annoying part is, they don’t say much after that. Sometimes this is a positive change. Other times, you just turn into a bigger moron. Either case, it makes everyone fidgety. It’s a common qualm in relationships. You fall in love with each other and then there’s not a trace of who you fell in love with years later. Because you both have become someone else. Someone you always wanted to be. Hopefully, someone better. But, if you can’t fall in love with this someone else, well, good luck!

It’s why being a parent must be such a monkey-ride. You see this crazy metamorphosis of one person and it happens so fast that parents continue to reminisce in the memories of the yourself that we once were, afraid to accept the someone else you have become. Every time I am going through one of my crazy someone phases, my Dad reminds me of how I peed on him when I was like two or something.

It’s never about being yourself. Forget that. No one understands that. You have no freaking clue who you are. All you know is you are a complex person and have some really weird thoughts. You are always becoming someone else. You can only hope that someone else is better. It’s the only real choice that makes all the difference.

Your time is limited – Don’t waste it being yourself, when you can be Steve Jobs.

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