“How can we be true to ourselves when we are constantly comparing ourselves not only to other people, but to a version of them that doesn’t even square with their reality?”
“This above all: to thine own self be true.” In the year 1601, William Shakespeare coined this famous phrase in Act 1, Scene III of the famous play, Hamlet. 417 years later, it still rings true. Above all else, above every thought and action we have, we must first be true to ourselves. We can never lie to ourselves. Remember that, you can never lie to yourself. You may try, but you will fail. Our conscious awareness knows when we are trying to convince ourselves of something that is not true. This is an amazing truth we can use in our lives if we will just harness this power of self-awareness.
In today’s constantly connected, ever distracted world, it is so easy for us to hop onto one of the many social networks and see how our “friends”, family, random people we think are like us, and celebrities live their lives. One of the first lies we tell ourselves about social media is that it’s real. That it represents reality. It represents a curated, fake, virtual reality, sure. Does it represent everything that happens off the network perfectly? Not even close. I hope we can all agree on that.
One of the biggest problems with social media is it goes against this 417 year old truth spoken by Polonius in Shakespeare’s famous play. How can we be true to ourselves when we are constantly comparing ourselves not only to other people, but to a version of them that doesn’t even square with their reality? An old saying goes something like this, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Don’t let someone’s curated, fake, set up life distract you from being you. You are you for a reason. You have a lot to offer this world, just as you are, right now.
Trying to copy someone else is a fools errand. It is a faulty mindset. You can’t be like anyone else. You are you. You are different. And that’s a beautiful thing.
You will never reach your full potential or find lasting peace and happiness if you are not, above all else, true to yourself. That means being the most authentic, honest you. It means not worrying about being judged by someone else’s faulty opinion. It means living by a set of principles and honoring them without wavering. As soon as you stop lying to yourself, you will be happy. We convince ourselves of the stupidest things. Once you see that, it’s rather amusing. You go back and think about some of the bad choices you’ve made and think about your mindset in those situations and you realize, wow, I screwed the pooch on that one. How did I think that was okay? Well, somehow you convinced yourself it was okay. And if you dig deep and think really hard about it, you’ll come to realize that you allowed that little voice in your head to lie to you. You let that anxious, obnoxious, worried, scared little voice tell you it was okay to act how you did. So much of life is about being stronger than that negative little voice. We must cultivate the peaceful, strong, confident, optimistic, true voice that tells us we are good enough. The one that tells us we are smart enough, that we are good looking enough, that we are awesome, just the way we are. The voice that tells us we don’t need to be like everyone else, they are taken. The voice that tells us we are worth it. The voice that tells us we have so much to offer this beautiful world. The voice that tells us NO ONE can take our peace from us. NO ONE can hurt us. NO ONE can lie to us. I can only lie to myself, and that is NOT an option. You can’t be like anyone else. Be you. You are different. You are beautiful.
“This above all: to thine own self be true…”
About the Author:
Matt DiNinno is the Managing Director of DiNinno Consulting, LLC based in Redlands, California. He and his team help Small and Medium Sized Enterprises thrive. Matt spent 13 years as a licensed Financial Advisor with firms like Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch (see his FINRA Brokercheck Record here).