To Thine Own Self Be True

A good friend recently shared with me her favorite quote. “This above all: to thine own self be true,” coined by William Shakespeare in Scene III of Hamlet. That line presents a word and idea that I inspire my life around – authenticity.

We are often swayed by opinions and desires. We often search for the approval of others to fit in. Sometimes we try to live a life our parents dreamed for us, instead of following our own passions. Sometimes we change ourselves to impress others, or make ourselves how we should be according to societal standards.

But what about the traits that make us uniquely us? What about living your truths and values as a daily practice?

For example, I’m not a fan of going out and partying. I don’t usually attend big events and I’m not always comfortable being in big groups of people and large social settings. Do I ever wish I could be a social butterfly? All the time – but I’m not. I can proudly be the person who goes to bed at 10 p.m. on a weekend after reading several chapters of a book because that’s what I value. I love to be the girl with a small group of friends, rather than large groups of friends, because that’s who I am and that is my truth.

Before you can be yourself, you have to know yourself. It’s taken me a lot of time to figure that out, but after the realizations come to fruition, it’s an awesome feeling.

I am a fully functioning introvert, and I own it. I’m loyal, independent, committed, confident and focused. I enjoy solitude. I often feel alone in a crowd. I’m an old soul. I’m more of an observer than a talker. The list goes on. Do some people misunderstand me because of that? Yes. Do some people wonder how a broadcast journalist could be the “quiet type?” Absolutely.

But those traits make me ME. And you all have qualities that make you YOU. Have the courage to show other people how different you are and risk not being accepted.

Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

There you have it. Put your soul on display, people. Nobody else is you. Be proud of that.