3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Showing Your True Self To Others

When people tout phrases like “You gotta be yourself,” I cringe.

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There is a difference between being yourself and knowing yourself. The emphasis here is to know when to be your authentic self — and who deserves to witness your authentic self. 

When people tout phrases like, “You gotta be yourself,” I cringe. Because it's simply not always true. 

While I fully embrace the need for everyone to accept themselves as they are, we all need to be OK with our nuances, quirks, and whatever else we come with. But sometimes this feels like an excuse for us to be rude, to not accommodate someone else's needs or their sensitivities. 


So while we can accept ourselves unconditionally, we should not expect others to accept us, or our behavior, unconditionally — no matter how "true" we are being to ourselves. Instead, we should be authentic while filtering to help others feel comfortable.

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Three crucial questions to ask before showing the true you.

1. Do I feel safe in the environment?

Read the room.

Do you feel people (including you) might be hurt or confused by you being yourself? Just because you can say what you’re thinking doesn’t mean it needs to be said, whether it is true or not. If you decide to be yourself through word or action, how can you craft your communication to ease others into understanding where you’re coming from and why it’s so important?

If you feel unsafe and choose to be yourself in ways that could be offensive, impolite, or even benign, then you might invite conflict. You then draw in the negative feedback and drama that comes in the wake of your words or actions. This helps justify feelings that you are not accepted.

If you do what you can to find comfort or common ground with others and it’s not working, you can find other places where you are celebrated.


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2. How can I be authentic while avoiding mistakes from the past?

Think before you act or speak. Consider how a similar situation panned out in the past.

How would you like it to go differently this time? What can you do, say, or not say? How can you present yourself differently to make the moment easy, calm, and productive? Let prior experience be your guide. Avoid inflicting the same discomfort, unease, or hurt you may have experienced.

You can do this without being fake or inauthentic if you consider saying only what is true, but not saying everything that is true.


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3. Am I motivated by a need for external validation?

Know your strengths and weaknesses. You can find these by doing some inner work.

Do you rely on external validation from others for your worth? Are you able to know enough about yourself to let some things slide, scale back your participation, or amp it up based on where you are and the group of people you are with?

Like the previous questions, go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated, and then show grace. 

Knowing yourself is half the battle in determining when it’s appropriate to be yourself and when silence or inaction might be golden. Such an ability is a discerning quality.


Being ourselves is contextual and needs boundaries. 

Being who we are in the moment can be a wonderful experience, just as often as being ourselves can fall way short of the moment. It depends on the interaction involved and where we are mentally, emotionally, etc.

“Being ourselves” can put our need to express ourselves ahead of the basic needs of others and give us an excuse to be rude, mean, and entitled. Ultimately, we never really grow as an individual. Being ourselves might permit us to forgo social decorum and manners, make mountains out of molehills, and disregard common courtesy. All for the sake of being ourselves.


Expressing ourselves is a must. Our mental health requires it. We need to feel heard, loved and acknowledged. We also must realize that not everyone is willing, able, or equipped to provide any of those things in a given situation. The responsibility for our words and our actions is solely our own.

We must rely on ourselves to validate who we are. When we know who we are, external factors and judgment tend to slide away, and we can move through life centered while knowing who we truly are.

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Pamela Aloia is a certified grief coach, intuitive/medium, and author of inspirational books. Pamela supports people through change and helps them enhance their lives and experiences via energy awareness, meditation, and mindfulness.