Most of us have grown up with the famous saying "Be yourself" constantly ingrained in the back of our head. Yet during the period of childhood and young adulthood which encouraged individualism, everyone seemed to be doing the opposite-chasing labels and identities which prohibited self-authenticity.
People would endlessly search for the meaning behind fancy clothes, cars, and other objects, only to find that there was no meaning in them at all. Experiencing a Gatsby-like dilemma, they realized that these objects had no substance to them. They realized, or maybe they did not, that these objects will continuously fail to give meaning to your life. Why? Because you are the only person who can define yourself.
With that realization in mind, you are able to undergo self-growth. Self-growth is necessary for your health and your happiness. Sometimes, you need to change or refine how you talk, act and think in efforts to mature. When you search for material objects to fulfill yourself, you inhibit your own self-growth. You block your ways to grow only because you have an innate craving to "fit in".
Following the well-known saying "Be yourself", how can you be yourself when that person stands out from the crowd? Simply, how do you fit in when you clearly stand out? Do you wither in shame and guilt and conform to the opinions and actions of the majority? Or do you coexist with the majority, acknowledging and appreciating the differences you have with others?
Why is our society so scared of a difference? It is true that each human being is unique, it is more than their one-in-a-kind fingerprint. Each person has different ideas, passions, talents, weaknesses, and contributions. By conforming to the mannerisms of others surrounding us, we forget our individual talents and ways in which we, and we alone, can offer ourselves.
Then another question arises, how can we get comfortable standing out from the crowd?
Self-growth is only one part of the process of recognizing your self-authenticity. Another is self-reflection or even meditation. A simple 5 minutes or an hour in yoga can not only calm yourself but also relieve stress and the invisible pressures which coerce us to "fit in" with everyone else.
Another step to this imminent self-growth is dialogue with others. How can we even know who we are, what we believe, and what we think without having a conversation with others? These dialogues can range from all sorts of topics, and they can most likely teach us something new each conversation we have.
The way to grow is to be able to get out of your comfort zone, to ask questions, to engage with the people surrounding you. These conversations do not necessarily mean you have to be indoctrinated to another's perspective, or way of thinking. It simply means that you are willing to learn through the experience of others. And maybe you can learn something completely new, create an entirely different perspective based on who you are, what you believe, and how you wish to live your life.
Like that saying in pre-school went, "Be yourself", despite the pressure to fit in. If you prove to be an exception to this social conformation, then you are proof that there are exceptions to "fitting in" and difference. And through these differences, whether external or internal, there is true beauty.