We live in the heyday of “be yourself” culture. Heck, it even got our current president elected. How many people have you heard say, “He tells it like he sees it, and I like that.”

There’s merit to the “be yourself” philosophy. After all, if you’re trying to be someone else, the best you can ever be is 2nd best.

Self improvement and personal development are all about being your authentic self, loving yourself, and having the sense of self-worth to act in the world as yourself. Those are admiral aspirations. Is that what people mean when they say “be yourself”?

“Be yourself” isn’t what you think.

What does “being yourself” mean? Do you just let it all hang out for the sake of “being yourself”? What if you’re in a crappy place?

Is being yourself an excuse for being a jerk to other people? Does being yourself mean you give yourself a pass to sleep through your alarm, abuse your health, and play video games all day? Is being yourself your excuse to get in arguments, hold grudges, or have emotional meltdowns?

What “self” are you “being”?

You have more than one self. For ease, let’s stick to your higher/spiritual self and your human/ego self.

Your higher self is at peace. It’s eager to learn. It’s grounded. It has compassion. It’s core component is love. It doesn’t concern itself with things like having the last word, getting attention, being superior to others, or striving for titles.

Your lower self identifies with its stories and labels. It’s tribal. It’s easily hurt or offended. It thinks it has all the answers. It needs to dominate. It needs to be heard, even if it has to shock or hurt as it says what it pleases.

You can tell if you’re being spurred to act by your higher or your lower self by digging down a layer to get to your motives.

Are you giving the gift with no expectations or are you hoping you’ll gain something from it?
Are you making a correction to be genuinely helpful or because you have to be right?
Are you speaking your mind to help uplift the situation, or because you need to be in charge or appear strong?
Are you kind and helpful because you need people to like you?
Is the action going to build up or tear down?

Read more: The Confidence of the Ego Versus the Confidence of the Spirit

Don’t just be yourself, be your higher self.

Understand what motivates you. If it’s coming from your lower self, then I say, don’t be yourself.

When your motives are coming from deep seated fears, doubts, insecurities, or rage, you’re not really being your authentic self when you think you’re being yourself. You’re letting your ego take over.

The phrase isn’t “be your ego”.

The secret to a carefree and happy life is to know your true self and be that.

If you don’t know your true self, how can you be it?

You probably use hundreds of labels to define who you are.

Your gender
Your title
The town you grew up in
The school you went to
The sports teams you follow
Your race
Your age
Your income
Your career or vocation
Your relationship status
Your political affiliation

Those are just a few of the more common identifiers. The catch is, you’re none of these things. You’re none of the labels that come from the human world.

Strip away the human-made stories and labels, and you’re left with two small, but powerful words that tell you who you really are.

I am.

You just are.

Read more: You’re Not Who You Think You Are

You’re cut from the same cloth as the divine. You’re the image and likeness of your maker. You’re a spiritual being having a physical experience. You’re nothing more than divine love and it’s related qualities of joy, truth, peace, and light.

Know who you are. Know your spiritual qualities. Demonstrate those to the world. That’s when it’s time to be yourself. Be your higher self.

Read more: You Are – a poem of truth

Get my new book Happy Ever After and learn how to cultivate true and lasting happiness in your life. 

I made a free 5-day Mastering Happiness email course, and I want to share it with you! Visit me at christinebradstreet.com where you can get your course for free.

Cross posted at www.christinebradstreet.com and Change Your Mind Change Your Life at Medium

all images open source from pixabay.com