Is saying "Be yourself!" a bad advice?

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XSara
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25 Apr 2021, 4:12 am

As autistic people we struggle to express our emotions, we always have to force ourself to appear sociable by producing facial expressions. We also have sensory issues that cause us to stim in embarassing ways sometimes, and we try to hide that. If we want to fit in I think we have to act like we're somebody else, somebody cool. That's the only way, I think, people could find us interesting. In my life, everytime i acted like myself, i was ostracized. Everytime i acted like somebody else i made friends. I wish i could be myself with people but it doesn't seem possible. I care too much about having friends and not being alone and useless.

So is people saying to us "be yourself" , bad advice? What are your thoughts about it? I know that there could be many points of view. Thank you :)



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25 Apr 2021, 4:51 am

I put some effort into being polite and interested in other people, but that is not in conflict with being myself, but a way to express it. I only have one good friend now, but I live with very few people around. In general, I found artistic communities more accepting of eccentricity. I would not want a "friend" who only knew me as a role I was playing - that would be useless in a crisis, and hollow all the time. My ex took her public persona to the therapist, and it was a total waste of effort.



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25 Apr 2021, 4:56 am

No but it is if you want to get ahead in a capitalist, NT world.

For mental health reasons it's good advice.

I tried not doing it for years and it made me ill. Trying to be someone that everyone wanted rather than myself.


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superboyian
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25 Apr 2021, 6:59 am

XSara wrote:
As autistic people we struggle to express our emotions, we always have to force ourself to appear sociable by producing facial expressions. We also have sensory issues that cause us to stim in embarassing ways sometimes, and we try to hide that. If we want to fit in I think we have to act like we're somebody else, somebody cool. That's the only way, I think, people could find us interesting. In my life, everytime i acted like myself, i was ostracized. Everytime i acted like somebody else i made friends. I wish i could be myself with people but it doesn't seem possible. I care too much about having friends and not being alone and useless.

So is people saying to us "be yourself" , bad advice? What are your thoughts about it? I know that there could be many points of view. Thank you :)


I grew doing exactly what you did and to some degree up until I was about roughly 25.

Acting like someone else, you can make friends but does this well and truly bring us happiness if we have to constantly walk around with a mask on? I'd rather be myself and if I gain friends and they accept me for who I am, that's far better than them being friends with me for the image I've built myself and then finding out that this is not who I am. Already risking breaking friendships this way also. Also not great for the mental health.

Here's a piece of advice which may help you in a long run. Learn to embrace yourself and love yourself and all else follows. The mindset shouldn't be gaining as many friends, because as we grow older, all this stuff just becomes irrelevant. In a time of crisis, you will find out of that many hundreds, only a very few will be there.


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25 Apr 2021, 8:58 am

I think "be yourself" isn't to be taken literally. But if being someone else has made you succeed socially then I guess the "be yourself" advice doesn't need to apply to you.

I always assumed that "be yourself" means don't be ashamed of who you really are and that if you be someone you're not you might end up making more of a fool of yourself than what you'd have done not being someone you're not. So if you're shy or something, show that you're shy but still willing to make friends. Don't try to act like an extrovert when you're simply not. That sort of thing.


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25 Apr 2021, 1:52 pm

It depends on who you say it too and the circumstances.

To me be yourself means don't fake a personality and don't pretend you know stuff to impress someone and don't pretend you dress a certain way and don't lie and make stuff up to impress someone and don't pretend what your views are.


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25 Apr 2021, 1:58 pm

Always be yourself.
Unless ...
YOU CAN BE THE UNICORN!
Then...
ALWAYS be the UNICORN!


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25 Apr 2021, 2:09 pm

Imma terrible person, be yourself is terrible advice. :twisted:


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quite an extreme
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25 Apr 2021, 2:10 pm

Don't know. People don't get me that much either. Sometimes it's fun to disturb them a bit by intentionally not caring the social rules. They care you more and treat you differently and usually a lot more respectfully once they are fearing you or that whats their empathy tells them about you. But if that's me? May be the playful part of me ... :wink:


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25 Apr 2021, 2:14 pm

The exception would be "fake it 'till you make it." If you want to change, sometimes you can push yourself to change your behaviour, and then become comfortable with it. I am currently very rural, so if I had to move to a city, I would have to pretend I was comfortable there, while working hard to familiarize myself. There are major limits to that technique, though. A friend of mine got a job driving Taxi, and tried to "drive like a Taxi driver." Unfortunately, he didn't know where Taxi drivers look, and totalled the car on his first shift.



quite an extreme
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25 Apr 2021, 2:38 pm

Dear_one wrote:
The exception would be "fake it 'till you make it."

Better 'feel it till you make it'. The empathy of people makes them trusting your feelings even more then their eyes.
So feel like a mafia boss for being treated like one. Hey - I didn't invent that empathy thing ... :shrug: :wink:
It's the NTs who want you to care them suffering and relying on that sh*t.


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25 Apr 2021, 4:39 pm

Ohh f**k empathy :roll:


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25 Apr 2021, 4:55 pm

I don't get the "Be yourself" thing, because when I am more of being myself, people tell me I should be myself? It all gets very confusing and I never know what they mean!



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26 Apr 2021, 10:16 am

I think it's more important that I be myself, because I'll be happier in the long run. I'm happier today than I was in 2015 because I'm being myself now.


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26 Apr 2021, 10:17 am

The sad thing about being myself is that other people often mistake me for trying to imitate someone else.



KT67
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26 Apr 2021, 10:22 am

The sad thing is that by the time I internalised it enough to listen to it, I was ill.

I was a trans guy but I grew my hair out like Tarzan - everyone else saw 'little girl'. I never bathed. I basically wore PJs all day long. When I did move out of my white room it was into a wooden cabin.

Not out of choice. Not out of innate desire.

Out of desire to keep everything as natural as possible as if that was what 'be yourself' means.

The best way to 'be yourself', I find, is to let your decisions be guided by your own will and inner desires rather than a need to 'fit in' and 'conform'.

Here I am in a maximalist, Edwardian style house at a table with a tablecloth and a centrepiece, just after a bath and I am totally 'being myself'. Why? Cos these are things that I am driven to do myself and I would do if nobody was watching.

Which they (probably) aren't.

That's what 'be yourself' really boils down to.


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