Be yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken.

What’s been on my mind lately is how we all make conscious and subconscious decisions about what we reveal to people and what we hide. Many of us are scared to be ourselves and rightfully so; we’re a judgmental lot.

I chose this title—SORRY I’M NOT WHO YOU THOUGHT I WAS—because even when we’re not saying it out loud, I think it’s what many of us feel when we’ve disappointed someone. But the “sorry” is propped up with an {ughhhhh} and the dissatisfaction is in place, firmly rooted, not going anywhere. What originated as an expectation becomes a resentment.

But who exactly are we disappointing? Is it really the other person, or are we disappointing ourselves because we haven’t been genuine and authentic? It is exhausting work to try to be who someone else wants you to be. Attempting to figure out what or who someone wants you to be and then to try to fit the ideal is a slippery slope at best.

Maybe it’s because we haven’t been honest about our capabilities and limitations, or maybe we haven’t been honest about our truth, our shortcomings, and our darker sides. But it doesn’t have to be so dire. Have you ever just felt like you’re pretending?

The best solution to any and all of this is, in the words of Oscar Wilde: Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. But reality is tough business, and I think we’ve all pretended to be something we’re not. A better daughter. A devoted employee. A fair employer. A faithful spouse. A good neighbor. A trusted confidante. An impartial judge. A loyal friend. A badass skier. A victim. A hero. And I ask you this question for the sake of the conversation: what have you pretended?


  1. EWR says:

    In control. Always trying but never really there.

    1. jaimestathis says:

      Pretending to be in control sounds like it could be a little dangerous, but it depends on what you’re trying to control. If you’re trying to control your emotions I say “to hell with it.” Fly your freak flag high in the sky. If you’re always trying you will eventually get where you’re trying to be. Don’t give up.

      On the other hand, If you’re trying to control anything that has to do with anyone else my advice is the opposite: give that up immediately. Like, yesterday. Steve Jobs is on the brain right now, and this quote seems fitting for you.

      “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

  2. CCC says:

    i pretend to be positive, but I have a horrible outlook on most things and think, feel, and dread that most things just don’t go your way in life.

    1. jaimestathis says:

      CCC: First of all, I want to thank you for your post. It takes courage to admit what you did, and you deserve props for that. Now….I want to say about a million things but I’ll start small(ish). Pretending to be positive is an interesting one. I really like the phrase/slogan “fake it til you make it.” My guess is that if you remain positive, positive experiences will surround you, and you’ll realize you are actually feeling more positive, and the amount of time you’re pretending will lessen. If you said you were pretending to be happy I’d worry, but pretending to be positive sounds like it could actually help get your headspace turned around.

      The sad truth is that a lot of horrific things happen everywhere, all the time, but there’s a lot of good out there too. It can be easy to focus on the bad—especially during hard times—but things do get better. As far as “most things don’t go your way in life,” well, I can’t really argue with you on that one. We can plan out the details of our lives, but that doesn’t leave much room for new opportunities, does it? It can be discouraging when things don’t go the way we planned, but sometimes really terrific things occur because we don’t get our way. (Take a look at some of the Steve Jobs interviews for inspiration. That guy didn’t always get his way, but look at what he created.)

      That said, this pretending business that we’re all doing is terribly exhausting and no way to live. I hope you have some friends and family who you trust enough to be yourself with them. The mental and emotional load can really be lightened when we have a safe place to say some of the things we think, feel, and dread out loud. Shine a bright light on it, all of it. But most of all, and in the spirit of this blog, don’t be afraid to disappoint people. If you’re being your genuine, authentic self you won’t disappoint anyone, and the people who love you will still love you just as much, maybe more. And if they don’t you can consider it a litmus test. Then you’ll be free to spend more of your energy focusing on like-minded folks. Thanks for showing up here. JAS

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