Yes indeed, this world strongly discriminates us, Europeans, especially if we compare ourselves with all those privileged starving African children. They are very happy, because no one ever forces them to be themselves. Can you imagine the following conversation between a starving African child and his mother?
- Mamaa, I’m starving!
- Just be yourself, my darling, and everything will be fine!
No, this could never ever happen, because those people in Africa do have heart.
But here in the cursed West, you always have to be yourself.
'My girlfriend doesn't talk to me and doesn't want to have sex with me since Christmas 2006, and I don't know what to do.'
'Just be yourself!'
'My colleagues don’t talk to me and they've never wanted to have sex with me because I’m ugly, and I don't know what to do.'
'Just be yourself!'
'I've applied for the post of the 'anthropoid ape' in the zoo, but I don't know what they are expecting from me and I don't know how to behave at the interview.'
'Just be yourself!'
It’s not enough to struggle with your job and your partner or with your lack of job and lack of partner, but while struggling you also have to take care of being yourself. It’s especially hard if you’re a man, as - if the urban legend is true - it’s difficult for men to focus on different things at the same time (this is why they always die when the passenger starts speaking to them while they are driving a car.)
It would be nice if there was a little creature (wearing a red cap and long yellow socks) called ‘Real Yourself’ kicking your head from the inside when you misbehave, informing you on a cartoon figure voice about your true needs, opinions and attitudes, so 'you just have to listen inward’.
However, if over the course of one day you can be a weeping little daughter, an authoritarian boss, an unkind morning girlfriend, an envious aunt and a generous uncle, depending on the interactions you take part of, your personality is rather like the Belgian weather than a stabile entity: constantly transforming and always blamed for other people's unhappiness.
Furthermore, if it's possible that in any situation you aren't yourself, then who is replacing you and where are you in the meantime? Is that the postman who popped in so he can earn some pocket money while you are taking a break and play video games in the closet?
And even if there was a real yourself, if this real yourself is a balanced, self confident, generous, superefficient and loving person, then it might be right to always be yourself. But what if the real yourself is an extremely greedy person? Shall you take the money of beggars on the street for the sake of you integrity and self realization and shall you ignore your mother’s birthday because the 'real yourself' prefers swimming in a pool full of golden coins to pleasing some elderly relatives?
But in any case, if you stubbornly believe in the 'be yourself' dream, or at least you want to give it a try, I suggest you to have one day of being truly yourself, and explore what happens. But I'm warning you that it might jeopardize all your social relations, and you risk that none of your beloved ones will bring you ginger cookies for Christmas to the mental hospital.
NORMAL DAY: Your boss calls you and asks you to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for a meeting. You certainly know that no one will ever use it, because the meeting has been already cancelled, but your boss doesn't have time to listen to your complaints. You do your senseless job submissively, but in your mind you call your boss Cheesehead every time you finish with one slide.
BEING YOURSELF DAY: Your boss calls you and asks you to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for a meeting. When he says that he doesn't have the time to listen to your complaints, you start screaming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the phone as loud as you can. When he hangs up the phone, you call him back from a private number, and on an altered voice you tell him that everyone calls him Cheesehead behind his back, and he truly deserves it, because his head looks exactly like a piece of Ementaler with 21% of fat.
NORMAL DAY: You are bored in the office. You write emails and kill time on Facebook.
BEING YOURSELF DAY: You are bored in the office. You entertain yourself with making faces of different kinds of handicapped people. You laugh out loud every time you made the Down syndrome face.
NORMAL DAY: Suddenly you turn horny in the office. You try to kill this feeling with picturing your oldest male colleague naked, dressed in a nurse costume.
BEING YOURSELF DAY: Suddenly you turn horny in the office. You kill this feeling with touching yourself while looking at pictures of women having sex with hot fishes.
NORMAL DAY: You go to the dentist. He says that he has to remove one tooth, and he will give you local anaesthesia. When he gets closer to your mouth with the needle you swallow your dread and open your mouth obediently.
BEING YOURSELF DAY: You go to the dentist. When he gets closer to your mouth with the needle you close your mouth so tight that he needs the help of two hardcore assistants and a crowbar for opening it. After he has finished with the treatment, you firmly refuse paying and tell him that you will bring a suit against him, because he promised you that it won’t hurt.
NORMAL DAY: The guy at the grocery gives you the potatoes which are old and no one else would buy them. You peacefully pay him and throw the potatoes to the garbage when you arrive home.
BEING YOURSELF DAY: The guy at the grocery gives you the potatoes which are old and no one else would buy them. You deactivate him with smashing pumpkins on his head, tie him to the cashier with his hair and force him to eat the raw potatoes one by one while educating him about the principals of good service.
NORMAL DAY: You go for a dinner with a friend. For two hours he talks about his exceptional success at work thank to his outstanding skills and talents, and about his brilliant promotional prospects. He doesn’t even ask you how you are. You listen to him patiently, and try to kill your frustration by stuffing sweets in your mouth until you feel and look as sick and fat as a Hungarian goose.
BEING YOURSELF DAY: You go for a dinner with a friend. After half an hour of listening to him you silently ask him to stop speaking. When he continues, you gently push his face to the red curry, start drumming on his head with the cutlery and don’t stop until he admits how self centred and narcissistic person he is and how deeply ashamed he feels about his overall existence.
In a world where everyone every time would be himself, we would indeed have a lot of fun. But this is not the right world for having fun.
Therefore my advise is the following: doesn't matter what kind of situation you are in, just ask yourself: what would I do if I was in this situation? (Which is indeed a very stupid question taking into account that you are in the situation). Then, when you have the answer, do exactly the opposite.
For instance, instead of pouring a cup of coffee on your partner because he hasn't been saying a word or smiling for a week, pour a cup of coffee on yourself. This will certainly make him smile. Or if you feel like killing your authoritarian colleague, get down on your knees and sing her the Whitney Houston song 'I will always love you'. As a result she might stop terrorizing you, as no one wants to provoke lunatics.
In case you feel a really strong urge from time to time to be yourself, do it when you're completely alone: there is a lot of space for self realization in the toilet.