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What Being Yourself Actually Means

By Brooke Bajgrowicz

“Don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself, because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.” -Ben Platt

“Just be yourself.” We hear this advice from the time we’re young. We’re told to not care what other people think and be comfortable in our own skin, yet we’re not even allowed to come up with an independent thought.

It’s hard to figure out who we are. We’re shoved into a classroom for 12 years, pushed into a political party (that of course, we must exclusively agree with) and are constantly bombarded with pressure from parents, teachers and friends.

We’re allowed to be ourselves, but only if who we are fits into a very specific cookie-cutter box.

It’s no wonder we feel the need to laugh when everyone else is laughing. It’s no wonder we feel the need to drink when everyone else is drinking. It’s no wonder we pursue the careers that we think will make our parents happy. Being an average college student is such a comfortable box to be in. But when did average ever change the world? Why is it so wrong to embrace the parts of us that make us unique?

You are never going to create real change if you look and act and think like everyone around you. When you conform to the box that culture puts you in, the world misses out on something you could offer it. Why rob it of your skills, talents and ideas just because they’re different?

Being liked is overrated. If you’re not happy with yourself, why does it matter if someone else is? People you love are going to judge you. You’ll be judged for your job choice, who you’re dating, what you wear and how much money you spend – and you’re going to be judged regardless of whether or not you’re embracing every unique part of you. So what’s keeping you from finding yourself?

When you stop acting like the person others think you should be and start acting like the person you want to be, life gets better. You gain more confidence. You make a difference.

So why wait? Being powerful starts with being who you are.

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