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Lundi_Hvalursson

Redefining the phrase "be yourself"

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I have always heard the phrase "be yourself", especially in the context of dating. Being a 30 year old single virgin has made me wonder what exactly this means, because it seems like my real self is quite off-putting. In the past, I have noticed that I have tried to be agreeable and pretend that my opinions were more "mainstream".

 

Lately, I have tried to regain my self-esteem and boost my confidence by a lot. However, now I get accused of being overly outspoken, abrasive, rude, abrupt, etc. due to my natural self being brutally honest. I do not mince words when it comes to my opinions, and often my opinions are allegedly very controversial and out of the mainstream. Being myself, I usually just blurt them out regardless of whether people like them or not.

 

A few examples:

 

-I am amongst people who make six figures or are millionaires or even richer during a meetup. I state that privatisation and private enterprise should be abolished. People call me a poor lower-class bum and/or a peasant. I tell them that they are full of sh*t and are greedy b*stards. People brand me as "rude".

 

-Despite being American, I lived in the UK during my time at university. I support Lexit, which is supporting Brexit, but due to a left-wing argument rather than a right-wing one. I support Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn instead of right-wing/centrist Labour leaders like Blair, Brown and Miliband. People berate me for being poor and/or call me stupid. I tell them that capitalism has failed people like me. Verbal argument ensues.

 

-I plan to join Bernie Sanders' campaign. People in meetups make fun of me for being poor and not having enough money. Some tell me that they would rather pay 0% taxes and see me suffer, rather than paying more in taxes like most civilised Western countries do. I tell them that they are vile, greedy excuses for human beings. Verbal argument ensues.

 

-Woman asks me why I have had no relationship nor sexual history, no girlfriends, etc. I say that it just has not happened, not my fault. She makes fun of me and calls me a virgin loser. I tell her that she is scum who has no empathy nor understanding.

 

-My mother is a socialist, and one of my grandfathers was a Maoist from China. No explanation  required as to why people here hate when I reveal this.

 

-I believe that religion should be abolished. No explanation required for this one either.

 

As you can see, I am very brutally honest and frank, especially when people insult me. This is "being myself". Yet somehow, people like me even less, the more I act "myself". So what exactly is this advice about "be yourself"? I refuse to be a carbon copy of what society asks me to be, so I am acting exactly how I feel that my true character is. But it just seems to fail as well.

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I rather hate the phrase "Be Yourself." We all wear masks to get along in everyday society. The way that I talk and act when I am at work is different from the way that I talk and act at home (I probabaly swear more at work). I too have occasionally allowed the inner bitch to come out - and it is often at a time of heightened emotion and when my depression is getting the better of me.

My mother is very hurtful and often says things that are hurtful to me and the other people in my family. Because of that - I try to live my life by the adage of never leaving anyone feeling worse for having encountered me. 

There is nothing wrong with having strong opinions, but I always try to remember that others have just as much right to their opinion as I do. If I do not want them to call be a socialist swine, I should not call them a capitalist pig. People are in general ass-hats - but I try to hold myself to a higher standard. There is a way to speak your truth without knocking the strongly held beliefs of those around you.

For example, I am a Christian, so I clearly do not think that religion should be abolished. However, I can understand why some people might have that feeling (as you do). If we were to converse about it I might ask about your beliefs and try to understand where they are coming from. I would always prefer understanding to agreement. 

I am in no way telling you how to live you life and express your thoughts and feelings. It totally makes sense that you would respond with anger when you are insulted. And I can only imagine your ASD makes it more difficult to get along in the world that it does me. But it seems that you are encountering difficulties with your current strategy - so if anything above is helpful - awesome. If not - that is cool too. You are who you are and you are enough just as you are.

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5 minutes ago, JessiesMom said:

I rather hate the phrase "Be Yourself." We all wear masks to get along in everyday society. The way that I talk and act when I am at work is different from the way that I talk and act at home (I probabaly swear more at work). I too have occasionally allowed the inner bitch to come out - and it is often at a time of heightened emotion and when my depression is getting the better of me.

My mother is very hurtful and often says things that are hurtful to me and the other people in my family. Because of that - I try to live my life by the adage of never leaving anyone feeling worse for having encountered me. 

There is nothing wrong with having strong opinions, but I always try to remember that others have just as much right to their opinion as I do. If I do not want them to call be a socialist swine, I should not call them a capitalist pig. People are in general ass-hats - but I try to hold myself to a higher standard. There is a way to speak your truth without knocking the strongly held beliefs of those around you.

For example, I am a Christian, so I clearly do not think that religion should be abolished. However, I can understand why some people might have that feeling (as you do). If we were to converse about it I might ask about your beliefs and try to understand where they are coming from. I would always prefer understanding to agreement. 

I am in no way telling you how to live you life and express your thoughts and feelings. It totally makes sense that you would respond with anger when you are insulted. And I can only imagine your ASD makes it more difficult to get along in the world that it does me. But it seems that you are encountering difficulties with your current strategy - so if anything above is helpful - awesome. If not - that is cool too. You are who you are and you are enough just as you are.

I find it interesting that you curse more at work, usually I thought that it was the opposite. I have had to decrease the amount of cursing that I did in general, because I am usually a sailor. 

I can relate about family being hurtful. But I think that most of my family are just brutally honest--I just grew up like that. Not telling people what they want to hear, but telling people unadulterated, brutal truths that could easily cause people to even cry. 

I think that it is hard when speaking to people who insult first. As in, you talk neutrally throughout the conversation, or at least try to. Then someone launches either passive-aggressive or more forward insults to you. So you think about what to say to them. To accept their insults, or insult them back in no uncertain terms? Of course this raises the question of how to meet people who are not sh*theads like these, but that is another story.

Since I live in a place which is highly populated with people making six figures and over, my belief that all income earned past $1 million should be taxed at 100% is not well-received. I say this, then they say that I am a poor peasant or whatever. Insult back or ignore? That is the question. Being myself, I am inclined to tell them how they are greedy pieces of sh*t.

Yes, the ASD certainly does not help. I should add that my mother also has Asperger's. She is actually much more brutally honest towards people that I am. If anyone even slightly insults her, she could easily yell at them and spout a continuous line of expletives to their face. It is just how she is, which perhaps might explain why I am also very honest and insult others when they insult me.

Finding a good balance of brutal honest without pissing people off on a regular basis is not easy, but I suppose that finding any balance with ASD is not easy. 

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Hmm i think it’s rather like the phrase “make yourself at home” which people say when we enter their house. It’s like telling us to make ourselves comfortable, but still respect that it’s another person’s house so we do not go to their bedroom and sleep, which is what we would have done at our own home. So I guess “be yourself” is to tell you to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible while also respecting the other person.

I hear it a lot too in dating, I’m guessing cos it’s hard to be ourselves when people only look at what they like.. so we tend to pretend to be a version that the other person would like.  Frankly I was never really myself during the time I was dating my current husband. I desperately needed someone in my life cos I was very lonely, so I become a version that he likes, which I thought is enough for him, but now we are married and he sees my true personality, there’s a LOT of surprises n arguments n regrets n many things we needed to work on to accept each other. So maybe that phrase comes from people who regret not being themselves, telling their peers to show their true personality so that the other person like you for yourself instead of liking a fake you. 

I myself find it hard to be myself cos of my ideas being different from the people around me. I try to avoid meaningless arguments that turns to insults cos I don’t see the point of socially destructive conversations. It did take time for me to control my emotions to not insult back when being insulted. Debates can be fun with actual ideas or facts being shared, but if the other person can’t grasp the concept of different perspectives and the conversation becomes empty, harsh n cruel words that condemns another person, it’s no longer worth conversing. I was raised with the phrase “if you point a finger at someone, three of your fingers are pointing back at you”. Seriously, people who call you a loser are losers themselves in other aspects of their lives.

Like what you mentioned, healthy relationships with anyone require a fragile balance—the ability to be yourself, for yourself, while also being accepted by others. Being in a society with so many people with so many different thoughts and ideas, is it really possible to be ourselves 100% while maintaining the other person’s dignity and respect? Nope it’s pretty darn difficult. Communication takes a LOT of practice, especially since there are so many people with so many different perspectives and personalities, even I am still learning to do it right.

Edited by Depressedgurl007

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3 minutes ago, sober4life said:

If you be yourself you attract people like you and I don't like myself so it's no surprise I have no friends.

I totally understand and also people don’t like people, who try to be happy instead of being broken and sad all the time.  It actually goes both ways people don’t like depressed people and they also don’t like happy people.

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5 hours ago, Depressedgurl007 said:

Hmm i think it’s rather like the phrase “make yourself at home” which people say when we enter their house. It’s like telling us to make ourselves comfortable, but still respect that it’s another person’s house so we do not go to their bedroom and sleep, which is what we would have done at our own home. So I guess “be yourself” is to tell you to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible while also respecting the other person.

I hear it a lot too in dating, I’m guessing cos it’s hard to be ourselves when people only look at what they like.. so we tend to pretend to be a version that the other person would like.  Frankly I was never really myself during the time I was dating my current husband. I desperately needed someone in my life cos I was very lonely, so I become a version that he likes, which I thought is enough for him, but now we are married and he sees my true personality, there’s a LOT of surprises n arguments n regrets n many things we needed to work on to accept each other. So maybe that phrase comes from people who regret not being themselves, telling their peers to show their true personality so that the other person like you for yourself instead of liking a fake you. 

I myself find it hard to be myself cos of my ideas being different from the people around me. I try to avoid meaningless arguments that turns to insults cos I don’t see the point of socially destructive conversations. It did take time for me to control my emotions to not insult back when being insulted. Debates can be fun with actual ideas or facts being shared, but if the other person can’t grasp the concept of different perspectives and the conversation becomes empty, harsh n cruel words that condemns another person, it’s no longer worth conversing. I was raised with the phrase “if you point a finger at someone, three of your fingers are pointing back at you”. Seriously, people who call you a loser are losers themselves in other aspects of their lives.

Like what you mentioned, healthy relationships with anyone require a fragile balance—the ability to be yourself, for yourself, while also being accepted by others. Being in a society with so many people with so many different thoughts and ideas, is it really possible to be ourselves 100% while maintaining the other person’s dignity and respect? Nope it’s pretty darn difficult. Communication takes a LOT of practice, especially since there are so many people with so many different perspectives and personalities, even I am still learning to do it right.

You really made some very strong points about people not accepting one another for their uniqueness.  But, instead people are trying to gain favor by just giving in and giving the other person what they want despite of their very own happiness.

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There is always a trade-off. Trying to placate and appease others, at least in my case, almost invariably leads to my being perceived as weak, indecisive and just bland. I used to try to look and act normal, often ending up looking weird in the first place, but when it did "work", it was impossible to keep up this act. Trying to please both sides of the coin, so to speak. In politics, they call this "triangulation". Often trying to please various differing opinions instead of taking your own stance just ends up pleasing nobody.

For example, people used to tell me, "I love dancing. Especially with flashy moves, like salsa", or "I love dancing in nightclubs". I used to say, "Oh, yeah me too", which is a complete lie. Temporarily it would make me "appear" more normal. But I did not feel normal inside. Right now, I would just say, "No, I like neither" regardless of what others think. Then they say I am rude and abrupt for not agreeing with them.

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I know how you feel.  Myself isn't good enough and whoever I pretend to be isn't good enough either.  There is no version of me people like.  Appearing to be normal is miserable.  Being here at all is a prison sentence.

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I attempt to hold both honesty and compassion in balance, though I cannot always live up to this value.

I admit it's difficult for me to give space to other people's joy and pleasure when I'm feeling truly awful. So I may self-censor if I can't join in with them - I'm not going along to get along but rather, I'm giving them space to enjoy an authentic feeling of their own.

The way I would like to balance honesty and compassion, when I'm able, goes like this:

Recognizing that honesty without compassion or kindness can be brutal, cruel, arrogant and it disconnects me from others. I find no authenticity or satisfaction in inflicting hurt upon another because I feel pain or because I'm hurt by how others have treated me. And I recognize how honesty without compassion can also be perceived as resentment or insensitivity, whether I mean it to or not, which also disconnects me from others. 

On the other side of the scale: kindness without honesty can be manipulative, inauthentic, belittling and enabling - which also disconnects me from others and it's not being true to myself. If I'm doing this, I'm probably trying to get something or feel some way about myself and that undermines the sincerity of the (empty) gesture. 

I want to be honest AND kind to another individual because I feel better (less self-hatred) when I am. When achieving this balance, I can be respectful of another while also respecting myself. 

What about moods? Yes, they're authentic but emotions aren't facts they're feelings. What I mean is, if I feel a certain way (dumb, ugly, useless) it doesn't mean that's what I am.

 

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2 hours ago, Atra said:

I attempt to hold both honesty and compassion in balance, though I cannot always live up to this value.

I admit it's difficult for me to give space to other people's joy and pleasure when I'm feeling truly awful. So I may self-censor if I can't join in with them - I'm not going along to get along but rather, I'm giving them space to enjoy an authentic feeling of their own.

The way I would like to balance honesty and compassion, when I'm able, goes like this:

Recognizing that honesty without compassion or kindness can be brutal, cruel, arrogant and it disconnects me from others. I find no authenticity or satisfaction in inflicting hurt upon another because I feel pain or because I'm hurt by how others have treated me. And I recognize how honesty without compassion can also be perceived as resentment or insensitivity, whether I mean it to or not, which also disconnects me from others. 

On the other side of the scale: kindness without honesty can be manipulative, inauthentic, belittling and enabling - which also disconnects me from others and it's not being true to myself. If I'm doing this, I'm probably trying to get something or feel some way about myself and that undermines the sincerity of the (empty) gesture. 

I want to be honest AND kind to another individual because I feel better (less self-hatred) when I am. When achieving this balance, I can be respectful of another while also respecting myself. 

What about moods? Yes, they're authentic but emotions aren't facts they're feelings. What I mean is, if I feel a certain way (dumb, ugly, useless) it doesn't mean that's what I am.

 

Honesty and compassion-- there is more peace (for us, for others) on this road.  Even if we can't balance it out, or we fail on both-- just trying seems to bring a more calmness, inner peace, knowing you tried.  Atra thank you for this post.

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On 12/15/2019 at 2:55 AM, Lundi_Hvalursson said:

There is always a trade-off. Trying to placate and appease others, at least in my case, almost invariably leads to my being perceived as weak, indecisive and just bland. I used to try to look and act normal, often ending up looking weird in the first place, but when it did "work", it was impossible to keep up this act. Trying to please both sides of the coin, so to speak. In politics, they call this "triangulation". Often trying to please various differing opinions instead of taking your own stance just ends up pleasing nobody.

For example, people used to tell me, "I love dancing. Especially with flashy moves, like salsa", or "I love dancing in nightclubs". I used to say, "Oh, yeah me too", which is a complete lie. Temporarily it would make me "appear" more normal. But I did not feel normal inside. Right now, I would just say, "No, I like neither" regardless of what others think. Then they say I am rude and abrupt for not agreeing with them.

So what?  I haven't read all of this thread, but based upon your last entry, there seems to be a conflict between  your being yourself and your desire for approval.  The only approval you might want to worry about is that of family, friends (and most of the time, not even them) and whoever signs your paycheck.  I'm old enough now, emotionally, to live by that standard.  Not doing so made me miserable.

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