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TAI Motivational Moments Blog

  • Writer's pictureJerry Justice

Becoming Who You Want to Be, Not What Others Expect

Silhouette of a woman standing on a mountain top looking out over the other mountains with the inscription "Be Yourself" written across the sky.

Although I typically write about leadership and business topics, it is equally important that we work on our personal development. There's certainly more to our lives than any one aspect of it. We're not JUST an employee or a significant other or a parent or a child or a sibling or a friend. Many of us may be several of those.

In our journey through life, we often find ourselves at a crossroads: the person we want to be versus the person others expect us to be. This conflict can lead to a profound sense of dissatisfaction and confusion, as we struggle to balance our own aspirations with external pressures. Understanding this distinction and making choices aligned with our true selves is essential for living a fulfilling and authentic life. Let's discuss becoming who you want to be and not what others expect.

The Fallacy of Pleasing Others

One of the most common traps we fall into is trying to please others. Whether it’s parents, friends, colleagues or society at large, the pressure to conform can be overwhelming. But this path leads to a false sense of achievement and often, a hollow existence. When our actions and choices are driven by the desire to gain approval or avoid criticism, we sacrifice our authenticity. We become shadows of ourselves, constantly chasing an ever-changing standard set by others.

Pleasing others is a fallacy because it is impossible to meet everyone's expectations. People's opinions and demands are as diverse as their personalities and trying to accommodate them all can lead to exhaustion and a loss of self. More importantly, it diverts us from our true purpose and potential. We end up living someone else’s life instead of our own.

Tips for Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

1. Self-Reflection: Take time to understand who you are and what you truly want. Reflect on your passions, values and goals. Journaling, meditation or talking with a trusted friend or mentor can help clarify your thoughts. Reflections for me have ranged from a few minutes of alone time to a planned weekly appointment to distant trips where I wanted to spend considerable time reflecting on larger issues like perhaps achievements of the past year and goals and plans for the future.

2. Set Boundaries: Boundaries are essential in all kinds of relationships. They protect your time, energy and emotional well-being. Clearly define what is acceptable and what is not, and communicate these boundaries to others. Remember, setting boundaries is not about pushing people away; it’s about creating a healthy space for yourself.

3. Pursue Your Passions: Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Whether it’s a hobby, career path or personal project, make time for what you love. This not only boosts your happiness but also reinforces your sense of self.

4. Learn to Say No: It’s okay to decline requests or invitations that do not align with your goals or values. Saying no is a powerful way to stay true to yourself and maintain your boundaries.

5. Surround Yourself with Supportive People: Build a network of friends, family and mentors who respect your choices and support your growth. Positive influences can provide encouragement and help you stay on track.

6. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself, especially when you make mistakes or face setbacks. Treat yourself with the same understanding and compassion you would offer a friend.

7. Continuous Learning and Growth: Commit to lifelong learning and personal development. Read, take courses, seek new experiences and stay curious. Growth is a continuous process that helps you evolve into the best version of yourself.

Living Your Best Life

Living your best life means aligning your actions with your true self and not the expectations of others. It requires courage and commitment to stay true to your values and passions. By setting and maintaining boundaries, you protect your authenticity and create a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.

Remember, the journey to becoming the person you want to be is ongoing. Embrace the process, celebrate your progress and stay committed to your path. Your best life is one where you are true to yourself, continually growing and unapologetically you.

Call to Action

Reflect on your life and identify areas where you might be compromising your true self to please others. What changes can you make to align your life with your authentic self? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Let's inspire each other to live our best lives!


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