Why you should be yourself in life


Kevin Mangelschots

Most of us know being jealous of someone else all too well.

Maybe it was because they were prettier than us, or because they were more skilled at something we desperately wanted to be good at ourselves.

Yet, everyone is unique, which means everyone has their gifts and imperfections. And that’s precisely why you should be yourself because everyone else is already taken. This is how to own your individuality. 

Why should you be yourself?

  • Different strengths and weaknesses

    Everyone is unique since we all have our cocktail of particular strengths and weaknesses.

    It only makes sense to tailor our personality to our specific skill set. You can’t expect an extroverted person to act the same as someone who’s introverted, for example.

    Even if they could conduct themselves the same way, the extroverted individual would not become happy behaving like an introvert, and vice versa.

  • More likely to be happy

    Image of a cat with a smile and teeth painted on a piece of paper in front of the cat's face.

    You’re much more likely to be happy when you decide to pursue life according to your values, and in the manner that you see fit.

    Copying someone else, no matter how successful they are, is unlikely to bring you happiness and contentment.

    Nevertheless, you can determine what aspects of their personality you find admirable so that you can copy those traits. For example, their kindness, discipline, or dignity. Strive to incorporate virtuous traits to enhance your life.

    Just because I advise you to be yourself doesn’t mean that I don’t want you to improve yourself, or to take inspiration from someone else. And there’s always something we can learn from those around us.

  • Others aren’t always right

    Group thinking is a real phenomenon that involves single-mindedly following the decisions of a group, instead of thinking critically for ourselves.

    This can be advantageous at times since what the majority does is generally quite good for the average person, but it can also make us susceptible to thinking errors and biases.

    Whatever you decide to do, you should always think for yourself. The group or the majority are not always right. And just because someone else jumps from a bridge doesn’t mean that you should do the same for the sake of following.

  • To develop yourself

    Woman standing in front of the sun outside.

    You can’t develop your capabilities and character when you’re too busy trying to be like someone else.

    Every single one of us needs to carve out their unique path. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be hurdles, mistakes, and failures along the way. But these are all necessary nuisances that allow us to grow as individuals.

    People will always have their unique gifts that we’re jealous of and wish we had ourselves. But others think precisely the same about some traits that we possess. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence, never forget that.

  • Different personalities

    All of the above gets us to my main point. We all have varied personalities since we are so different in many ways.

    That’s why there’s not one best answer for everyone out there, and why we all need to develop our character according to our values so that we can all live a purposeful life.

    Because ultimately, that’s where our contentment comes from. From living meaningfully by accomplishing our dreams and goals. By continuously growing as an individual. That’s a purposeful existence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does it mean to be yourself because everyone else is already taken?

The quote, “be yourself, everyone else is taken” written in white letters on a brown background.

It means that you have to live your life the way you want to, regardless of what other people do.

Everyone has their specific strengths, but also weaknesses. That’s why the right path for you is not necessarily the correct track for me to take.

These unique traits make for totally incomparable natures. That’s why you should be yourself because trying to be someone you’re not is not going to bring you happiness.

However, it should be noted that people are still more alike than they are different.

Who said everyone else is already taken?

A black and white image of Oscar Wilde sitting while holding his head.

Oscar Wilde, an Irish playwright and poet who lived from 16 October 1854 until 30 November 1900 famously said, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

Be yourself, everyone else is already taken examples

An example is when your extroverted friends are the center of attention while at a party, garnering praise and smiles from the surrounding people.

You, on the other hand, are more introverted and just enjoying the scenery, chilling in the background instead of trying to compete for attention by trying to be someone you’re not.

Instead of being jealous, you realize that your personality has unique qualities that allow you to thrive in different situations.

Why do people say, “Just be yourself?”

Illustration with one colored stick art among many gray ones with the quote, “just be yourself” written underneath him in colors.

People often say “just be yourself” to give a person confidence, and/or to promote authenticity.

It’s good advice since it’s impossible to be someone that you’re not. You can pretend for a while by putting on a “mask”, but this will not bring you happiness, nor will you be able to sustain this illusion forever.

How do you embrace who you are?

  1. Discover what your values are

    What do you find important? What’s essential for you to live a content, fulfilling life?

    Everyone’s core values will be different. However, beliefs such as respect, honesty, and loyalty are some universally valued commodities that most will find critical.

  2. Figure out what you like about yourself

    Image of multiple people giving a thumbs up.

    What are some things you like about yourself?

    Maybe you’re an upstanding citizen, a loyal friend, or maybe you’re extremely disciplined. All indispensable things to figure out what our gifts are.

  3. Examine what you dislike about yourself

    What are some aspects about yourself that you dislike and would like to change if you got the chance?

    Examining what you don’t fancy about your character also helps you determine what your core values are, and what you need to change in the future to become who you want to be.

  4. Identify who you want to become in life

    Illustration showing how we go from where we are now, to where we want to be.

    You need to envision what kind of person you want to become in the future.

    Think about it. If you have no idea who you want to become, then how are you going to evolve into someone of worth who enjoys their life?

  5. Determine where you currently are in life

    You need to consider your situation honestly by evaluating where you’re currently standing.

    That way, you know what changes you need to make to attain your goals down the road.

  6. Stop comparing yourself to other people

    The quote, “don't compare yourself to others” written in black letters in a notebook.

    Comparing yourself to others will only lead to envy in the end. That’s because we exclusively compare the skills we’re worse at than somebody else.

    But honestly, the only person you should be competing with is you. Try to be the best version of yourself by attempting to do a bit better each day.

  7. Live according to your values

    You can only live a meaningful life if you adhere to your intrinsic values.

    That’s why trying to be someone you’re not will not bring you happiness, even though you might portray a superficial sense of confidence and charm to the masses.

  8. Learn to say no

    Image of a man holding out his hand, indicating he's telling to stop.

    You can’t be yourself if you’re constantly saying yes to please others, or because you’re scared to reject those around you out of insecurity.

    Yet, it’s required if you want to live your existence the way you want to. Others will always have something to say about your choices, so it’s best not to bother, or let it get to you too much.

  9. Understand and accept that nobody’s perfect

    Nobody is perfect. No matter how many strong points we have, and how disciplined we are, we’re always going to have our detriments, since we’re only human in the end.

    Yet, that doesn’t make striving for improvement a bad thing at all. It’s just that you should keep in mind that perfection is unattainable, no matter who you are, and what advantages you received at birth.

How do I stop being like everyone else?

  1. Accept that you’re unique

    Everyone is different, with each their unique edges, but also drawbacks given to us at birth.

    That’s why there’s not a single best way of living that’s appropriate for everyone. You should celebrate your uniqueness by playing to your strengths instead of looking at what others do better than you.

  2. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence

    The quote, “the grass is always greener, until you have to mow it” written in white letters, with green as the background

    No matter what, and how much we have, human nature is such that we’re never satisfied with what we do own.

    You should keep that in mind when you’re comparing yourself to other people. Try this instead. Take a look at what you possess that others don’t, and practice gratefulness for the advantages you were given.

  3. Live according to your core values

    When you live according to your intrinsic values, you’re automatically going to stop being like everyone else since we’re all different and find diverse things meaningful as a result.

    Follow your own beliefs instead of worrying about what others might think of you. You’re never going to please everyone out there, seeing as everyone has such a varied character.

  4. Stop trying to please others

    The quote, “just a quick reminder: you can't please everyone” written in black letters on a gray background.

    Pleasing others means you’re trying to adjust your personality to match their needs and wants.

    That conveys that you’re not being your authentic self, and rather trying to be who others want you to be.

  5. Let the people you admire guide your path

    You should never simply copy another individual, even though you might admire them. Chances are that they have their lesser qualities that you don’t want to imitate as well.

    But what you can do is take a look at what features you value about their character, and incorporate them into your own identity.

  6. Reflect on your lifestyle

    We can’t change things when we’re unconscious of the fact that there’s something wrong, or when we have no clue how to fix it.

    Reflecting often leads to an increased awareness of the things that might have lingered in our subconscious mind.

What does it mean to be different from everyone else?

The quote, “people may hate you for being different and not living by society's standards, but deep down, they wish they had the courage to do the same” written in green letters on a greenish background.
Being different from everyone else conveys that you stand out due to having different qualities than the average person, or simply because you’re not trying to fit in, and be like everyone else.
While that can make you feel estranged and isolated at times, it’s not a bad thing. The masses generally try to blend in, doing their absolute best not to stand out due to fear of rejection, and insecurity.

But being unique means you’re courageous enough to be genuine, and not just trying to fit in by doing what’s comfortable and deemed “normal.”

Is “Be yourself” good or bad advice?

Illustration of a road sign saying “good”, pointing to the right, and a road sign saying “bad”, pointing to the left.
“Be yourself” can be good and bad advice depending on the circumstances.
It can be a reasonable suggestion to promote authenticity and boost someone’s self-esteem so that they’re daring enough to be themselves.

But it can be poor counsel if you have a flawed character. Think of features such as being socially awkward, uninteresting, rude, and condescending toward others.

The ideal feedback in that particular instance would be to improve their abilities rather than just accepting all their bad traits without making any attempts to get better.

How do I know if I’m being myself?

“Did you know?” Written in black letters on a white background.
You know you’re being true to yourself if:
  1. You’re honest with yourself and others.
  2. You’re unafraid to share your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions.
  3. You have haters.
  4. You feel unashamed.
  5. You’re not suffering from cognitive dissonance.
On the contrary, these are some possible signs that you’re not being true to yourself:
  1. You’re trying to please everyone.
  2. You feel ashamed and anxious about what you’re saying.
  3. You constantly worry about what other people think of you.
  4. You’re resentful of others.
  5. You feel selfish when prioritizing your own needs and desires.
  6. You feel burned out.

Is it good if people are different?

The quote, “the best way to get along with people is to not expect them to be like you.” Written by Joyce Meyers.
Even though people are more alike than they are dissimilar, it’s good that people have their differences.

Diversity prevents stagnation since unusual thoughts lead to varied ideas and solutions. And we know that we typically need other thought processes than what created the problems in the first place.

It promotes learning since we’re incentivized to put ourselves in the shoes of others to understand their points of view.

And finally, it makes the world a more interesting place. Just imagine how boring life would become if everyone were to be, and thus, think and act the same. That would be a dull existence indeed.


Always be who you are, everyone else is taken. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds, as it requires boldness in addition to confidence to be yourself.

Embrace your uniqueness. Don’t compare yourself to those around you since different folks will always have certain gifts you don’t have, just like you have advantages that they don’t possess.

Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to evolve, or that you can’t take inspiration from those you deem to be role models. It simply means you shouldn’t try to be someone you’re not.