“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde”
According to the hierarchy of needs by Abraham Maslow, American professor of psychology, three of the five human needs are to belong (#3), increase esteem (#2) and achieve self-actualization (#1).
Belonging is the need of having good relationship with friends, family, work, school, community, organization, etc. On the other hand, esteem is the need of gaining respect and confidence from other people. But the highest form of need is self-actualization, which means the ability to be creative, solve problem or realizing one’s full potential.
Attaining one’s full potential is the hardest to do, I guess that’s why it’s on the top of the hierarchy. Most of us hide our true self, wants and potential, in order to belong or save our honor and prestige. As we continue to seek belonging and acceptance, by hiding our true personality, the emptier and unhappy we become with our lives. Our unhappiness often roots from our inability to live as we really are and as we really want to.
Be a first-rate version of yourself
In order to be happy with yourself, to achieve your full potential (self-actualization) in anything you do, and eventually be happier with your life, keep this mind:
“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else. – Judy Garland”
To better explain this point, I’d like to share this story I’ve read from the handbook of the Dale Carnegie Course.
Be yourself. Act on the sage advice that Irving Berlin gave to the late George Gershwin. When Berlin and Gershwin first met, Berlin was famous – but Gershwin was a struggling young composer working thirty- five dollars a week in Tin Pan Alley. Berlin, impressed by Gershwin’s ability, offered Gershwin a job as his musical secretary at almost three times the salary he was then getting. “But don’t take the job,” Berlin advised, “If you do, you may develop into a second-rate Berlin. But if you insist on being yourself, someday you’ll become a first-rate Gershwin.” Gershwin heeded that warning and slowly transformed himself into one of the significant American composer of his generation.
The point of this story is to be yourself. Don’t imitate others. Don’t live in terms of other people’s opinion. It’s not your concern what other people think about you, it’s their concerns. Focus on being yourself, who you are and who you want to become.
By being yourself, it brings more happiness in your life
If you’ve been feeling depressed and unhappy with yourself and your life, reflect on how you have been living your life.
- Do you hide your real wants and true self in order to please other people?
- Have you been living your life trying to become the person you are not?
If your answer is yes, I guess by now you understand why you’ve been unhappy with yourself and your life. Your choice to live in terms of other people, and not yourself, is what causing your dissatisfaction and frustration.
Remember that the first step in being happy with yourself, and eventually your life, is to discover who you really are and be yourself. Unless you are able to do this, it will be hard for you to attain your fullest potential and happiness in life.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss”