“To be yourself is all that you can do” is how the song goes, but that’s more a wish than reality for many of us. In many social circumstances, we are at best showing selective smaller bits of who we are, while in others we downright compromise and reduce ourselves to a distorted, non-recognizable caricature of our true self. All in the name of fitting in and making peace with the situation.
And that’s a choice we wrestle with everyday, from moment to moment. Do you choose to be yourself? It may seem like it’s a no-win situation — if you choose to be yourself, you risk create conflicts with others. The other choice is safer but the conflict then resides inside you, that tension you feel from forcing yourself to be something you are not. Both choices are hard and lead to unwanted consequences — but one of them does offer a hope that perhaps if you keep choosing it, you’ll end up carving out a place where who you are is exactly what’s needed and wanted. My mentor from college told me that where your career lies is where your needs and the world’s needs meet. That’s actually applicable to more than careers. The best place to be is where your needs and the world’s needs meet. But you can’t hope to find that place unless you discover who you are, and choose to honor it.
So, the question offers two hard choices, but only one of them with a chance to win. I hope we all choose to take that chance.