We’ve all heard it at least 347409513 times in our lives: the colloquial phrase which can and has been modified to be applicable in every situation and falls under the category of “moderately decent but scarcely helpful advice.” It’s too cliche and thus your English teacher hates it; throw pillows from Pier 1 Imports love it…

…be yourself.

Seemingly a simple task, being oneself proves to be much harder than a two word imperitive would have you believe. Being yourself requires some understanding and familiarity with what yourself is, believes, dreams of, and hates. How can I be myself every day without first defining myself, a process which I understand to take an entire lifetime?

I find that there’s this unspoken pressure to continue liking the things you used to like, continue pursuing the things you once showed interest in, continue dressing the way you’ve always dressed, and for what? Consistency? This notion of “being yourself” has almost morphed into “be the person everyone knows you to be,” which is sometimes the opposite of being truly “yourself.” Maybe it’s because I’m a teenager on this magnificent journey of “finding herself” and I’m just too caught up in what “self” actually means, but I find it really difficult sometimes to question my beliefs for the sake of consistency. Maybe it’s super Transcendentalist of me but to me, if you’re not changing, adapting, growing, and learning, you’re not living.

I’m going to modify “be yourself” to be a more helpful or atleast more truthful piece of advice: just be. Don’t worry about how well it fits your brand or whether or not it’s expected of you by the folks around you: if you follow your heart, that iron string, to the end of time and let it guide you towards happiness and fulfillment, you will be inherently “being yourself.” Overthink not, fellow overly analytic freaks like myself! We’ll wind up where we need to be.