Be You, Be True
By: Elias Azizi, Contributing Writer
Since the beginning of time, people have always looked up to others like celebrities, politicians, or even friends. Not to mention, some individuals even try to shape their lifestyle and personality to match someone else’s. This is specifically common amongst teens. Whether it’s acting like someone else in order to feel cool, or dressing like someone else to fit in, teens around the world love to live their lives like their friends. Although acting or being like others isn’t always a bad thing, not being yourself at all can have a negative effect on your mental health.
1. Being yourself will help you accept who you are
This point can closely relate to the school setting. For example, a low achieving high school student, in this case, may decide to take multiple AP classes just because their friend is doing the same. When it comes to advanced level classes, you should only take as many as you can handle so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. In this example, the student is taking an inappropriately high amount of AP courses. This would have a negative impact on their mental health and grades in the long run because a student who is not academically inclined simply cannot handle a very rigorous schedule. If this student acted more like themself, instead of focusing on others, this student would have chosen more wisely by picking the level courses that match this student’s needs and abilities. Therefore, by being yourself, you will be able to accept who you are as a person, which can have a positive impact on your mental health. By understanding who you are, you can be more confident in yourself, and avoid unnecessary stress.
2. It will be very difficult, maybe even impossible, to keep up a facade
One may be wondering, why would it be difficult? When acting like others, you are ignoring your own needs and personality, which means that you aren’t making decisions that are right for you. One may be able to imitate someone else’s action for a few weeks, maybe even months, but at a certain point, one’s mind will not be able to handle such a drastic adaptation. When changing lifestyles, one must change slowly in order to not overwhelm themselves. However, by acting like others, one is changing a lot very rapidly, which isn’t sustainable physically, emotionally, or mentally. For example, one may want to exercise intensely for 4 hours a day just like their YouTube fitness idol. An individual may be able to do this for a few weeks, but at a certain point, their body will not be able to handle such intense, sudden pressure. One’s body may become sore, or even injured from such a change in weekly physical activity, making it impossible to sustainably continue to act as the fitness YouTuber.
3. In the end, after acting like someone else instead of yourself, you will certainly feel unhappy, whether you succeed or not
Some may think that success is all that matters, regardless of the sacrifices. However, if one of those sacrifices were your personality, the success wasn’t worth it. How can one feel accomplished with success when they succeeded as someone else and not themselves? Looking back, one would feel extremely disappointed knowing that they didn’t succeed as themselves. To add on, acting like others instead of yourself can lead to feelings of regret. When one looks back at their life, they will likely regret not being themselves all those years, which can lead to an emotional breakdown. By acting like others, one is practically wasting their own potential. One’s life could be extremely different and diverse if they acted like themselves instead of others. These thoughts can haunt one’s mind for eternity. Stress and anxiety like this is not something that will go away easily. So, to avoid all this unnecessary distress, one should always be themselves.
Based on the previous three points, one should be able to understand that being yourself is much better than acting like others. Sometimes, being like others may seem to be the best thing to do in order to succeed. However, being more like others instead of yourself can lead to immense struggle throughout one’s life, and even thoughts of regret and sadness when reminiscing. By being yourself, one can accept who they are as an individual, which can lead to increased self-esteem, confidence, and overall happiness. Every individual on Earth is unique and their own way; our jobs are to embrace our differences and unlock our true potential by being ourselves. Yes, one can always use honorary citizens as role models or inspiration, but one should never have to abandon their own personality and lifestyle. Always remember the simple phrase; be you, be true.