Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.

by Nelson Caparas

I was browsing my computer’s hard drive and came across with this e-book, Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken by Mike Robbins. The book is all about authenticity. I remember what Hamlet said to Ophelia (I had to Google this because I can’t remember the exact words :p), “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” I’m guilty, I needed to read it.

“Why is it so hard to be authentic?”

We weren’t taught or encouraged to be authentic, we were told to do what’s right. What’s good in others’ eyes. Since we were little, we were always told to be quiet, don’t interrupt, don’t talk back, you can’t say that, etc. Our parents always hold us up to say what we want to say. Variations of these phrases continue to be said to us in school and at work. Most of us interpreted these words as “shut up and keep away from trouble” and we started living it throughout our lives.

We then started living with fear. The fear of failure, rejection, disappointment and others’ judgments. According to the book, Judgment is the “granddaddy” of all of our fears. We are obsessed with what will people think about us but the truth is, their opinions aren’t true. They are just opinions and it doesn’t matter. But we’re still scared and we do a lot of things to avoid being judged. Here’s a list (from the book) of the things that our fear of being judged stops us from doing:

• Speaking our truth
• Disagreeing with someone “important”
• Standing up for what we believe in
• Admitting we don’t know something, understand some-
thing, or like something we think we’re “supposed” to
• Taking risks
• Changing our life circumstances—career, relationships,
location, and so on
• Doing things differently than others around us—at work,
at home, in our community, and so on
• Changing our minds
• Doing things we really want to do that we assume others
won’t like, understand, or approve of

These are all made by our “Gremlins”, according to Mike Robbins, The Gremlin is the voice in our heads made up of all the negative and critical thoughts we have about ourselves on a regular basis. Our Gremlins often say or ask things like:

• “You can’t do that.”
• “Who do you think you are?”
• “Everyone will laugh at you.”
• “Remember the last time you tried something like this
and what a mess you made of that?”
• “Why do you always say and do such stupid stuff?”
• “You don’t have what it takes.”

Your Gremlin doesn’t want you to live an authentic life, speak your truth, express your real emotions, go for what you want, or celebrate who you are. It relishes in your self-criticism, doubt, and limitation.

We have to kill that Gremlin to be authentic and actually start living.
And for us to be able to do that, we have to know the five principles of authenticity.

Quoted from the book, here’s the five important principles of authenticity:

Principle 1: KnowYourself
Knowing ourselves is the first step to being ourselves in an authentic way. It takes courage to really look within and become aware of who we truly are at the deepest level. Our commitment to personal growth, to discovering more of who we are, and to allowing the support, honest feedback, and guidance of others is essential in our ability to know ourselves and thus be authentic.

Principle 2: Transform Your Fear
We all get scared in life, especially when we live, speak, and act in an authentic way. There’s nothing wrong with us for feeling fear; it’s one of the most basic and common human emotions. Our resistance to and denial of our fear are the real problems. When we’re able to admit, own, feel, and express our fear, we have the ability to transform it and utilize its power in a positive way. Taking action in the face of our fear is courageous and empower- ing. Being able to feel our fear and at the same time not allow it to stop us is essential in our commitment to live with authenticity.
living your authentic life.

Principle 3: Express Yourself
Expressing ourselves fully is one of the most important aspects of being authentic. When we have the courage to speak our truth, deal with conflicts directly, and express our emotions completely, we empower ourselves to be who we really are with others and in life in general. Being vulnerable and real, which on the surface are often seen as “weak,” in actuality are what give us access to authenticity, freedom, and power in our lives, our work, and our relationships.

Principle 4: Be Bold
Being bold is about living, speaking, and acting with courage and authenticity. It takes boldness to be true to ourselves and live an authentic life. Things we can do to be bold in our lives are be true to ourselves, live with passion, step out, lean on others, and when we fall down, get back up. When we remember and practice these important ele- ments of boldness with courage, we’re able to be who we truly are in a bold and authentic way.

Principle 5: Celebrate Who You Are
Celebrating who we are, completely, is the most important element to truly being ourselves. This is not about being arrogant or perfect, or having everything handled in life—it’s about accepting, acknowledging, and owning all of who we are, both our light sides and our dark sides, and choosing to celebrate ourselves. There is and only ever will be one of each of us. It’s our challenge in life to love our- selves in a genuine way if we want to live with a true sense of authenticity, fulfillment, and confidence. Being who we really are is all about celebrating ourselves.

These five principles of authenticity are powerful concepts that, with commitment, awareness, and courage, can be incorporated into your life on a regular basis. Each principle builds on the one before it, leading you through a process that starts with knowing yourself, then looks at confronting and transforming your fear, moves on to expressing yourself fully, continues with you being bold, and concludes with the most essential aspect of all: cele- brating and loving who you are.

I learned a lot from this book, but you see, there are always two sides to every person, one that we reveal to the world and another that we keep in ourselves. That is the fact that we can never change. But still, let’s try! :)

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