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  • jeannette robson

Being True to Yourself

‘Be true to yourself’ is a phrase that has become very popular in recent years. But what does it mean and how does it impact us and those around us?

 Many definitions refer to being honest with yourself regarding your character, needs and values. However, it seems more often to be interpreted as being entitled to satisfy all our desires, wants and aspirations without much thought of others. I wonder whether this could result in us not being true to ourselves? Do we sometimes want things that are not good for us, or things that in the moment feel satisfying but in the long term could be damaging.


I may in the moment want that gorgeous red soft top sports car, which I really can’t afford. However, I might believe that it fits in with my self-image of how I see myself and how I want others to see me. So what, if I have to arrange a larger loan from the bank, it’s only money! I believe that I could make small cut backs on other spending, so I’ll be able to manage financially. The thrill of driving it and being seen in it, will be amazing! However, the reality is that it’s hard to continually make those other cut backs, and then there’s the financial pressure, trying to make ends meet. It may change how others see me, but essentially, I’m still the same. So even though my external image has changed, it’s not changed how I feel about myself on the inside. In fact, I may be feeling more anxious as I try to manage my finances. How does this impact my relationships with those I care about?  


If we feel low, that we just don’t fit in or that there is something about ourselves that we need to fix, we could think that doing or being something different may make it all okay. That this means we are being true to ourselves. Unfortunately, there is seldom one thing /change that is a fix all. We are very complicated beings and often there are multiple layers that need to be addressed. It is hard work, but with the right support we can make huge progress. It may be that we do some work on ourselves and then spend time consolidating it, before going back for more. Sometimes again and again.


We do not live in isolation and there are many things that we do or decisions that we make, that affect the people we are close to. So can we be true to ourselves without having any consideration of the impact on those we love or care about? I wonder if ‘being true to ourselves’ really means that, while we act in line with our own character and values, we also consider the needs of those we love and care about. Do we need to consider the long term implications for ourselves and our loved ones, not simply our own gratification?  Not being true to our character, values and needs can have serious implications for our mental health. So maybe a good start would be to better understand our own character and values, which in turn will give us a better understanding of our needs. Then, when we know what these are, we can work on being true to ourselves and our loved ones.

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