The advice “just be yourself” can hold you back


Isabella Chen, Staff Writer

“Just be yourself” is a quote that has been around since the day you were born, and one you have probably heard from many different people throughout your life. It can be good advice in situations where you need comfort, a boost of confidence, or when choices are overwhelming. If you really think about it, you will find this advice can limit you, which will make you stuck in your comfort zone and unable to achieve your dreams.

One flaw of “being yourself” is that it puts thoughts in your mind that your personality is already solidified and won’t change. As a high schooler, you are still in the process of deciding what you like and who you want to be. You are constantly changing and evolving to your environment, with expectations. Just being yourself can do more harm than good when you have a fixed mindset about who you are because you will not try to change for the better. What you actually need is encouragement for improving yourself. 

Sometimes, you will feel that your negative qualities are just “yourself,” causing you to make it an excuse not to grow. Instead of accepting who you are and striving to improve yourself continuously, you can trick yourself into not putting in the work and believing those aspects are just a part of you. If shy and quiet students are not encouraged to open up and express themselves in public, they will be overlooked and not shine to their full potential.

Furthermore, you can miss out on opportunities that could have been reached if you had tried to better yourself. Suppose you want to go to a certain college or start a career you always wanted to pursue. By seeing what that college or career requires, you can improve yourself to fit into those standards while still maintaining your own personality. 

An alternative to the advice “be yourself” is that you can internalize phrases like “be your best self.” By being the best you can be, you can make your life reach its full potential, even if it takes a considerable amount of effort and a lifetime of learning and improving. As a teenager with so many possibilities and potential for your future, you shouldn’t be limited to only being yourself. By coming out of your comfort zone and being the best version of yourself,  you can use the advice to “be yourself” as a way to grow and improve, allowing you to grab onto opportunities and achieve your goals.