“Just Be Yourself.”
It’s the worst – well meaning – piece of dating advice you can receive.
“Any advice for my date tonight mum?”
“Oh darling, just be yourself.”
When applied the way most people do, “Just be yourself”, it is horrible dating advice.
The confusing part is it can also be damn good advice. It depends what you do with it.
So what does “Just Be Yourself” mean?
For most people, “Just Be Yourself” is passive advice. It means do nothing new.
“Let things happen. Keep doing what has come naturally.”
And herein, lies the problem.
If you’re still out there in the dating world, what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working for you. So far, it’s attracted the wrong people and has failed to net you Mr. Right.
And if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.
You are not your habits
“Just be yourself” presents as passive dating advice, so we interpret it as a reason to continue our current habits… no matter how unhelpful they may be.
Common habits that lead to poor results with men:
• Not being playful or touchy with men
• Not being confident, or emotionally expressive around men
• Not putting yourself out there to talk to men
It’s safe to say women with these habits will attract and date, on average, fewer men.
Yet, as a coach, many times when I tell a female client to “Be more playful” or “Practice expressing yourself more”, they tell me “I can’t. That’s just not me.”
They’ve taken their habits – habits they somewhere-along-the-line unintentionally adopted (probably as a coping mechanism in middle school) and made them part of their identity.
How do I know this?
Because even the shyest, most emotionally inhibited, non-sexual woman is not any of these things under the right circumstances.
I’ll wager serious coin that the same woman who tells me being emotionally expressive around men “Isn’t her”, sings in the shower, dances when no one is watching, and laughs confidently around her girlfriends.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t have conversational skills. Having a serious personality doesn’t mean you’re not playful.
Now you see what I’m getting at.
What “Just Be Yourself” really means
Just be yourself is an active process.
It does NOT mean “Keep doing what has come naturally.”
It means, “Practice bringing out your most attractive social habits to better reflect the person you are when you’re most comfortable.” – i.e. most yourself
“Just be yourself” doesn’t change the content of you. But it often means changing how and when you present it.
Example: You’re an introvert who loves Disney and watching Big Bang Theory with your girlfriends.
How not to do it: Your girlfriends suggest you go out and meet some men. You tentatively agree to go out, but don’t try to meet men, because that’s ‘not you’. One guy approaches, and asks “What would an ideal night for you be?” You’re not sure how your love of Disney will be received, so you tell him you like to go out. The few men you meet don’t click with you.
How to do it: Though it scares you, you put your introverted habits aside and make yourself to talk to guys. When you do, you practice being real, showing as much excitement around the men as you would around your girls, owning that you love Disney and your ideal night is spent watching Big Bang Theory with your friends. Men resonate with you.
When you do this, it will feel like it “isn’t you.”
That’s only because you’ve been holding those parts of yourself back for years.
After the initial discomfort, weeks or months of practice will lead to a massive surge in your confidence as you better connect with who you really are, drawing out those parts of you that guys will absolutely swoon over.
True confidence is “Just being yourself”
No one would deny confidence is attractive. But have you ever thought about why?
True confidence – where you can be as comfortable around an attractive man as you are around your best friend- is the definition of being genuine. And genuineness is what’s attractive about confidence.
Playfulness. Wittiness. Expressiveness. These are all things every woman (and man) possess. Once you change your habits and practice bringing out these parts of yourselves, you’ll become more confident in truly “being yourself” and be perceived as more genuine.
How to “Just Be Yourself”
• Mentally redefine “you” (i.e. Disassociate from your habits).
Remember, learning to ‘Be Yourself’ means doing things you have previously done in situations you haven’t previously done them.
Consider this list of attractive habits that are part of your personality, but which you may not be accustomed to bringing out around men:
• Playfulness and wittiness
• Outgoing and chattiness
• Affectionately touching people
• Exhibiting a sexual energy
List these, or other attractive traits, with examples of rare times you HAVE exhibited them, even though they are not typically ‘you’.
If you’ve never been able to talk about your passions confidently around men, think of times you have done this around your friends or other people. If you’ve previously been a ‘serious’ type of personality, write examples of times you’ve been flirty and playful, either on your own, or with friends. If you’ve never been comfortable being sexual around men, write example of times you’ve truly connected with your sexual essence, either alone, or with a previous boyfriend.
Realise, these are all parts of you.
• Present the new ‘you’ to lots of new men.
Now that you’ve redefined yourself, make these rediscovered aspects of your personality part of ‘Being Yourself’ around men. Practice bringing them out each and every time you meet a new man.
It will feel uncomfortable at first. It won’t feel like you. This is normal. You may never have brought these sides of yourself to the table when meeting men before.
As you continue to embrace them, slowly but surely, they’ll become more natural. You’ll realise they were part of who you were all along, and they’ll take their rightful place as a well-used part of your personality.
Practicing your new and improved ‘self’ requires volume. When I went out to practice being myself, I had to commit to meeting at least 12 women each night. You won’t need that many, but the point stands. If you’re going to learn some new skills, you will need plenty of new men to practice them on.
• Become less outcome orientated.
Make talking to men and practicing your new habits your only goal.
Trust the process. The more you force things to work with that one particular guy, the more you’ll be nervous for the outcome and return to your old, inhibited habits.
When you’re not outcome orientated, you can relax and have fun, knowing there’s plenty of other fish in the sea. Ironically, this will attract him to you more.
I hope, today, I’ve helped you forever redefine what that annoying little piece of advice, “Just Be Yourself”, means. Next time you hear someone say it, in your own head, secretly translate it to, “Bring the most attractive parts of myself out for the world to see.”
Make life a project of working on yourself and improving who you are, and pretty soon, a guy who does the same will be there to join you in the journey.