on the advice to "just be yourself"
February 10, 2015 at 9:30 am #72760CartooxParticipant
I found this old post from Mark Manson, I tried getting the link but its not on his new site so I have cut and pasted the entire article instead ……
“Just Be yourself”
If you’re anything like me, your blood boils when anyone tells you to “be yourself.” What? What does that even mean? It’s like IKEA deciding those furniture assembly instructions are just too much damn work and replacing them with a single sheet of paper telling you, “Throw this shit together. Good luck.” But ask any Ashley for dating advice, and that’s the vague answer you’ll get. Wanna attract that girl? Just be yourself. Wanna be a cool guy to be around? Be yourself. Wanna be popular and attractive? Be yourself.
What if you’re a Dungeons & Dragons nerd who doesn’t care about the way he dresses, hates going out, and prefers to read about how to pick up girls on the internet? Problem solved? I think not. I venture to say that “be yourself” is perhaps the most well-intentioned yet least helpful advice I’ve ever received.
But in the context of what she’s saying – from her mindset – the plea to “be yourself” is not a lie. She’s telling you the truth of what she wants in a different language. Men speak in terms of plans, statistics, and actions, which is why that advice is so insanely frustrating and why men turn to structured models and lines to solve the problem. “If Situation X happens, I will respond by doing Y and Z.” Men like that. Women, on the other hand, speak in terms of emotions and feelings, and Mother Nature designed them to communicate almost exclusively through the subcommunications of conversation. That’s body language, that’s vocal tone, that’s overall vibe – not words. When she’s saying “be yourself,” She’s not trying to be vague; she just wants a relaxed and confident version of you and has trouble articulating what that looks like.
She’s not saying you should accept the habits that have held you back. If you’re emotionally erratic, dependent, or socially awkward, that is not you. If you’re clumsy, anxious, depressed, or bitter, that is not you. If you’re bad at fashion, overweight, or unattractive, that is not you. If you’re needy for her validation, that is not you. When she tells you to “be yourself,” she’s not telling you to act true to those things.
Instead, she (and every other girl on Earth) is telling you to develop a strong identity and assert the fuck out of it. Decide specifically who you’re going to be – independent of anyone else – and live your life from that perspective. She’s telling you to stop seeking the approval of other people, decide what you are, and discover how to be happy in that. A wonderful exercise is to imagine the guy you want to be –remember, independent of women – and fill a page with descriptions of his behaviors, his looks, his vibe.
What does that guy look like? He’s probably in shape. He probably dresses sharp. He’s probably relaxed, confident, and has a great sense of humor. He probably has hobbies he’s dedicated to and feels quite strongly about his mission in life. He challenges himself to new heights in his career. He’s comfortable sharing himself and his opinions but doesn’t impose them in a way that is validation-seeking. He probably socializes and is friendly, even when he doesn’t feel like it. He’s aware of his emotions, but screens them before acting on the destructive ones. He’s not ashamed of his sexuality and unapologetically expresses his desires in a socially intuitive way. He’s probably unreactive and lives in the moment, unworried if any particular girl called or texted him back. He’s a leader of himself, not a follower of anyone else’s standard. He’s a pioneer. He’s relaxed. Most of all, he values his time greatly and spends each day as if it were his last, free of both guilt and worry.
These are all universally attractive traits; they’re behaviors you exhibit when you’re comfortable and confident with yourself. But this is only half of what she means by “be yourself.” The other half is your half. It’s a half where you and I will differ markedly, and it’s going to gain you a lot of girls and lose you a lot of girls, but you have to do it. And you have to do it on your own.
No one can decide the specifics of your style but you. A sense of humor is universally attractive, but everyone has a different style of humor. Some people are goofy, some people are clever and quick witted, some sarcastic, yet others prefer stories. That’s why lines and routines that work for one guy may not work for you: it’s a matter of congruency. It’s healthy to experiment and see what style you have the most fun with. Humor, like conversation, is a skill that can be developed and learned.
So is fashion! Experiment with at least three vastly different styles of fashion and gauge which one works for you. Force yourself to get out of your comfort zone, and I promise you’ll be genuinely surprised by the results. I have at least 5 staples to my current outfits I only bought because I thought, “I could never see myself wearing this.” As it turns out, straight guys can be poor judges of stylish clothes. Go figure. Your clothes speak volumes about you, whether you intend them to or not. If you’re wearing old jeans and a free t-shirt, you’re telling the crowd that you don’t care about dressing well or turning heads. Why leave the free points on the table? Instead of using excuses like “fashion isn’t my thing,” use your clothes to say something about you.
And so it goes with your hobbies, the sports you play, the movies you watch. Journal specifically what you like, what you don’t like, how you’d like to react in situations. What you choose isn’t so important as the fact that you choose something. And yes, taking a strong stand will polarize girls. You will lose some. But that’s ok. Rejection is gift that keeps you from wasting your time. But you’ll also gain a deeper and richer connection with the women who do like who you are. And isn’t that what this is all about?
So the next time you hear a girl tell you to “be yourself,” smile knowingly and remember she wants you to decide your identity and assert the fuck out of it. And it’s damn good advice.
No related posts.February 10, 2015 at 1:06 pm #72761zhelyazkoParticipant
Very useful. Thank you for sharing this.February 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm #72762The_HurricaneKeymaster
I agree with this 100%. Be yourself should really mean: aspire to be unique and excellent and, as you become that person, own your new personality.
That’s why the idea of saying whatever comes to mind is, in my opinion, totally stupid.
What comes to mind right now is not what will come to mind after some practice. You want to be able to say cool, interesting, and revealing things, things that both impress and challenge women.
That’s what you should practice until those cool, interesting, and revealing things are what actually comes to mind when you’re talking to women. When that happens, you will be yourself, the self that says cool, interesting, and revealing things, not the self that you are now.
–LeeFebruary 10, 2015 at 3:42 pm #72764zhelyazkoParticipant
Yes, I completely agree with that approach. The same is true about martial arts. All the new strikes are unnatural at first, but with practice are much more beneficial to you than a default reaction.February 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm #72767MrAntiquityParticipant
I agree that “be yourself” fails miserably as advice–but i’m not sure I agree that “be yourself” means building your identity–and to be honest there’s some things about the description in the original post that are cookie-cutter and don’t really appeal to me. i see it as a release rather than a construction. Ever hear of people who suffer from depression, anxiety, etc. say something like “If I could just get rid of the x feelings, I would be fully real, I would truly be myself?”
I see it as more like that. The hangups being things like social anxiety, fear of approaching/escalation/talking to girls etc/not knowing what to do in sexual situations…
I tend see this stuff as innate, but socially blocked off for some people. To me, “Be Yourself” means to release that. Which obviously someone telling you to “Be YOurself” is not going to help.February 10, 2015 at 8:21 pm #72770ryanoParticipant
I agree with the overall tone of this. I’ve been preaching the “be yourself thing” forever on this forum.
but i’d like to take it a little bit further than your post. BE YOURSELF. means, yes, you can be that fat, d&d nerd, and still have success.
and no you don’t need to: “He’s probably in shape. He probably dresses sharp. He’s probably relaxed, confident, and has a great sense of humor. He probably has hobbies he’s dedicated to and feels quite strongly about his mission in life.”
You don’t need any of that. that’s a cop out. you’re good enough the way you are.
you don’t need to dress sharp. you don’t need money. you can be old. it doesn’t matter really. you can be anything.
if i was back in highschool right now and you gave me the outfit of a nerd: glasses, pocket protector, everything. i’d still be able to get chicks.
the only thing it is for me is a realization that taking ACTION is above everything. And people’s interests. and people’s interests contradict each other. there’s so many weird fetishes out there. some girls like fat men. some girls like old men. some girls like fit men. some girls like confident men. some girls like nerds. some girls want orgies. some girls are secretely lesbians. some girls want a husband. some girls want bukkake. some girls want a lover. some girls want to be treated with respect. some want to be treated like shit.
there’s a girl for everyone. so whatever and whoever you are. just be that and don’t change for the girl. just by taking action and understanding that rejection is a part of the process, because you simply can’t fit all interests. but if you remain true to yourself, and you approach enough, you’ll find your match.February 11, 2015 at 4:58 am #72776CartooxParticipant
@ ryanno – I would say the opposite, that not working on yourself, not working on removing all those social blocks and fear based actions from a lifetime of bad social conformity training , not working to bring out the best you can be , is a cop out….anyone doing that is short changing themselves in life. Look at all the work you’ve done yourself to successfully overcome your AA.
Yes , there’s a chick for everyone , just as there’s a guy for everyone….but sorry, that’s mostly all mediocrity …..we, and I mean almost all of us on this forum, are in the outlier category or at least actively working to be more than just mediocre….
@ Lee – perfect summary there !February 11, 2015 at 5:50 am #72778ryanoParticipant
@Cartoox you’re not getting me. All I’m saying is that a guy doesn’t need to change his interests to attract girls. For example, a guy that likes to play D&D doesn’t need to do something else all of a sudden to win over a girl. A poor guy doesn’t need to be rich to attract a girl. There’s no archetype for the “perfect man” in girls eyes. That’s just a fantasy hollywood plays on people.
The thing that men need to change is accepting who they are, and going out and approaching more girls. That’s about it. Sure a little bit of work doesn’t hurt, like changing style, going to gym, etc. But these are little things compared to the work they need to just go out there and learn to express themselves. And learn how to communicate better. Check out how hard it is for guys on this forum just to approach these little chicks. Why is it so hard? Because of years of social conditioning like you said. But getting money, changing interests, or changing into a new suit won’t change any of that. All I’m saying is that most guys that I’ve encountered are “enough”. They just need to work on approaching and escalating.
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