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  • julianagmorehouse

'Being yourself' is not an excuse for immoral behavior

Recently, I was watching a youtube video of an influencer and podcaster I follow. She seems like a nice girl despite her often vulgar and promiscuous page. While I don’t look to emulate my life after hers, I do find her entertaining. In the video I was watching, she was doing a Q + A. A viewer asked her something along the lines of, “Do you worry what your future husband’s parents will think of your instagram page?” To put it in perspective, she uses curse words frequently while also talking openly about her sex life and promoting her party lifestyle. Her instagram does not exactly portray a ‘take home to mom and dad’ type of girl. After she read the question aloud, she explained that she had spent some time thinking and worrying about this subject. But, she ultimately concluded that it was important to ‘be herself.’ She stressed how she needed to ‘do her’ and not try to ‘be something she isn’t.’

So, what does it really mean to ‘be yourself?’ Does it mean to embrace your shortcomings even if they are immoral and inappropriate? Does it mean you are perfect and without flaw just the way you are? What if you aren’t the picture of human decency and morality for which we should be striving?

On the one hand, I do believe that each person is uniquely made in the image of God. Each person has a certain authenticity and a set of God-given gifts which should be used and need to be used. However, using your skillset is quite different from capitalizing on your depraved tendencies or lewd personality traits.

If you haven’t already noticed, our culture has become especially you-centric. We worship the god of self and you are supposed to be the center of your own universe. Your happiness and your contentment are presented as the pinnacles of human existence. ‘Be yourself’ has become this slogan we use to make our friends feel better. Feeling down? Be yourself. Having trouble confronting your qualities that are less than charming? Be yourself. Did something wrong? It’s okay; you were just ‘being yourself.’

We have to accept that we are not perfect the way we are. We aren’t enough. We always have room to improve. I am not saying we should hate ourselves or be negative about who we are. I am not suggesting that we have low self-esteem. But rather, I am imploring you to practice a frame of mind that has become quite scarce in our modern moment, and that is: humility. Be humble when embracing your gifts. Be humble enough to admit your wrongs and your flaws.

Let me challenge you to do something a little different than ‘be yourself.’ Instead of striving to ‘be yourself,’ why don’t you strive to be better than yourself? Sharpen your good qualities, and improve your bad qualities. Don’t ‘do you.’ Do better than you. Keep bettering yourself so that you can better those around you. Don’t be yourself. Be better than yourself.

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