Here's what pops into my head when I think about being true to yourself -- integrity, beliefs, personal values, honesty, sincerity, unwavering principles, being complete, authentic, living by what is and what is not acceptable to you, morals, ethics, right and wrong, honor, not being false, truth...
The words feel good to me -- positive, healthy, strong, peaceful and happy.
So -- it seems being true to yourself is a good thing.
Here's how 2 B U
- Being true to yourself starts with knowing who you are and accepting yourself; knowing your strengths, passions, limitations and purpose in life and then living that way all the time. You come to know yourself only by living life. Finding what works for you. What defines you and makes you whole.
- Being true to yourself is a personal choice for truth; making choices about how you want to live. You have the total power to live your life any way you want and to be faithful and factual to the truth about you.
- Being true to yourself means you don't worry about pleasing other people; living by someone else's standards or rules. You don't care what people think of you. You live as your natural self. Without compromise. No one can tell you how to be true to yourself except you.
- Being true to yourself is this simple -- either you live in integrity or you live out of integrity. That's it. In or out. Moment to moment. No other choices. No other way to live other than being true to who you are. You choose one course of action. One way to be.
1. I love how author and spiritualist Don Miguel Ruiz describes it:
"Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean.
Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love."
Can you really live one way?
Start examining your life and see if every single situation you're involved with is healthy for you in your mind and heart. Ask: Am I being true to myself here? If not, find out why and then change it. Go ahead and tell the truth about yourself to everyone.
Yup. That's right. Tell the whole truth. You'll probably shake things up and disrupt some people but when the 'fall out' settles you'll be saying -- "This is who I am. This is how I intend to live my life. This is the real me!"
In the process of speaking your truth you'll garner something wonderful -- authenticity -- living your values and your beliefs.
2. Gandhi gives us three wise and basic guide lines to live your values:
"Be congruent. Be authentic. Be your true self."
I'm not saying be any way you want. Jails are full of people who do that and don't care at all about the effect they have on others or the world. It means being responsible; holding yourself accountable for your thoughts and actions.
We're all born with instincts about how to live. If you go away from those innate feelings you may feel bad; you'll hurt, be ashamed and even get angry.
When I look back on my life I sometimes cringe thinking about some of the things I said and did. Wishing I could change it. Well you can. That's the gift. The bad feelings are your internal, ethical GPS letting you know that the direction you went in was unjust to someone or something or yourself. It's an opportunity because you can always change how you see it, grow and be different. Never do it again.
In life there are no mistakes. Everything is a learning experience which helps you know how you can be true to yourself.
3. Joan of Arc was passionate about living your beliefs:
"One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it.
But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief,
that is a fate more terrible than dying."
When you're true to yourself you're also true to other people. And in being true to others you're being true right back at yourself. It's an inseparable dance of ethics.
Sure you'll be finding your way. Sometimes you'll slip, falter, fall down and completely fail but that is perfectly OK because it's these life lessons that make you the person you are; they build and hone the essence of you and help you choose the real YOU.
To be true to yourself means never to lessen the meaning of who you are. Never to be partial. Never living two different ways.
Often I say to my coaching clients -- find out what you want. Because when you know exactly what you want in life then you'll be able to go after it full force and that means being true to yourself, living in integrity and trusting in a self-purpose that sets you free, guides and leads you to be your true self and live your heart felt dreams, even while you're in process and working to change.
Give yourself permission to be your true self
I'm still becoming Michael. Still discovering who I am and working at being true to myself. It's an exhilarating way to live and I've discovered one mighty and liberating fact -- it's OK to be me and to want to be true to myself!
Remember -- you're the game changer - you're in charge -- you're the boss of you -- you set the ground rules and boundaries -- no one else has that superb power or pleasure. No one else ever should. Live your truth.
4. You'll know this truth by Shakespeare:
"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."