I realise that saying “be yourself” after spending most of your childhood training you not to be must seem incongruous, but in my defence, mostly it was to keep you from delinquency.
I stand by the example above though. When meeting new people especially, it is important to hold the crazy in for as long as you can manage. It is also important to be yourself though, if for no other reason than that holding in the crazy can look a bit like this:-
Seriously though, it is important to be yourself and not let other people’s preconceptions of who you should be define you. What makes this world a wonderful and interesting place is the variety of unique people you can interact with. Be yourself and add to that community.
John Lennon said it best I think with:-
This is 100% true. I’ve pretended to be someone else before (to fit in, not for any kind of identity fraud). Pretending not to be me got me the wrong friends; people I neither liked nor wanted to be around.
Actually, that’s not 100% true. That time in my life did get me one truly brilliant friend, who has stuck with me even though the crazy is now 100% out of the bag. Though in all honesty that was probably more luck than judgement.
When To Let The Crazy Out
I enjoy being myself almost all the time now. Letting the old ADHD out for a daily run is great. People who know me are used to my inability to shut up, or sit still ever, and either they’re too polite to say or they don’t mind. I choose to believe they don’t mind.
It’s not always great, sometimes I forget to “hold the crazy in” for the requisite time period and say things like this when meeting my new boss:-
He backed away slowly, smiling and nodding. That’s a good sign right?
It doesn’t always go so badly. Last week I decided to excitedly use my rudimentary “knowledge” (i.e. 2am Googling) of quantum physics to explain to a complete stranger at the tea point why I thought a watched kettle might take longer to boil. It turned into a lovely chat and ended with them reading my blog and leaving a really kind comment.
So in summary, sometimes it’s good to hold the crazy in, sometimes it’s fine to let it out, always be yourself, and if you ever find out how to balance this effectively, be sure to let me know won’t you?