Stay true to yourself meaning

10 Signs You're Being True to Yourself

“The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something that we know in our hearts is a lie.” ~Karen Moning

It’s painful and stressful to feel like you’re living a lie. Like you’re hiding how you really feel, saying what you think other people want to hear, and doing things you don’t actually want to do—just because you think you’re supposed to.

But sometimes we don’t recognize we’re doing this. We just know we feel off, or something feels wrong, and we’re not sure how to change it.

It makes sense that a lot of us struggle with being true to ourselves.

From a young age, we’re taught to be good, fall in line, and avoid making any waves—to lower our voices, do as we’re told, and quit our crying (or they’ll give us something to cry about).

And most of us don’t get the opportunity to foster or follow our curiosity. Instead, we learn all the same things as our peers, at the exact same time; and we live a life consumed by the mastery of these things, our bodies restless from long hours of seated study and our minds overwhelmed with memorized facts that leave very little room for free thinking.

To make things even worse, we learn to compare our accomplishments and progress—often, at things we don’t even really care about—to those of everyone around us. So we learn it’s more important to appear successful in relation to others than to feel excited or fulfilled within ourselves.

This was my experience both growing up and in my twenties. A people-pleaser who was always looking to prove that I mattered, I was like a chameleon, and I constantly felt paralyzed about which choices to make because all I knew was that they needed to be impressive.

I never knew what I really thought or felt because I was too busy suffocating my mind with fears and numbing my emotions to develop even a modicum of self-awareness.

This meant I had no idea what I needed. I only knew I didn’t feel seen or heard. I felt like no one really knew me. But how could they when I didn’t even know myself?

I know I’ve made a lot of progress with this over the years, and I have a mile-long list of unconventional choices to back that up, as well as a number of authentic, fulfilling relationships. But I’ve recently recognized some areas where I’ve shape-shifted in an attempt to please others, and in some cases, without even realizing it.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who panders to popular opinion or lets other people dictate my choices. I don’t want to waste even one minute trying to be good enough for others instead of doing what feels good to me.

I want to make my own rules, live on my own terms, and be bold, wild, and free.

This means peeling away the layers of fear and conditioning and being true to what I believe is right. But it’s hard to do this, because sometimes those layers are pretty heavy, or so transparent we don’t even realize they’re there.

With this in mind, I decided to create this reminder of what it looks and feels like to be true to myself so I can refer back to it if ever I think I’ve lost my way.

If you also value authenticity and freedom over conformity and approval, perhaps this will be useful to you too.

You know you’re being true to yourself if….

1. You’re honest with yourself about what you think, feel, want, and need.

You understand that you have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with anyone else. This means you make space in your life to connect with yourself, perhaps through meditation, journaling, or time in nature.

This also means you face the harsh realities you may be tempted to avoid. You’re self-aware when faced with hard choices—like whether or not to leave a relationship that doesn’t feel right—so you can get to the root of your fear.

You might not always do this right away, or easily, but you’re willing to ask yourself the tough questions most of us spend our lives avoiding: Why am I doing this? What am I getting from this? And what would serve me better?

2. You freely share your thoughts and feelings.

Even if you’re afraid of judgment or tempted to lie just to keep the peace, you push yourself to speak up when you have something that needs to be said.

And you refuse to stuff your feelings down just to make other people feel comfortable. You’re willing to risk feeling vulnerable and embarrassed because you know that your feelings are valid, and that sharing them is the key to healing what’s hurting or fixing what isn’t working.

3. You honor your needs and say no to requests that conflict with them.

You know what you need to feel physically, mentally, and emotionally balanced, and you prioritize those things, even if this means saying no to other people.

Sure, you might sometimes make sacrifices, but you understand it’s not selfish to honor your needs and make them a priority.

You also know your needs don’t have to look like anyone else’s. It’s irrelevant to you if someone else can function on four hours of sleep, work around the clock, or pack their schedule with social engagements. You do what’s right for you and take care good care of yourself because you recognize you’re the only one who can.

4. Some people like you, some people don’t, and you’re okay with that.

Though you may wish, at times, you could please everyone—because it feels a lot safer to receive validation than disapproval—you understand that being disliked by some is a natural byproduct of being genuine.

This doesn’t mean you justify being rude and disrespectful because hey, you’re just being yourself! It just means you know you’re not for everyone; you’d rather be disliked for who you are than liked for who you’re not; and you understand the only way to find “your tribe” is to weed out the ones who belong in someone else’s.

5. You surround yourself with people who respect and support you just as you are.

You understand that the people around you affect you, so you surround yourself with people who respect and support you, which motivates you to continue being true to yourself.

You may have people in your life who don’t do these things, but if you do, you understand their issues with you are just that—their issues. And you set boundaries with them so that they don’t get in your head and convince you there’s something wrong with you or your choices.

6. You focus more on your own values than what society deems acceptable.

You’ve read the script for a socially acceptable life—climb the corporate ladder, have a lavish wedding, buy a big house, and make some babies—but you’ve seriously questioned whether this is right for you. Maybe it is, but if you go this route, it’s because this plan aligns with your own values, not because it’s what you’re supposed to do.

You know your values are your compass in life, and that they change over time. So you check in with yourself regularly to be sure you’re living a life that doesn’t just look good on paper but also feels good in your heart.

7. You listen to your intuition and trust that you know what’s best for yourself.

You not only hear the voice inside that says, “Nope, not right for you,” you trust it. Because you’ve spent a lot of time learning to distinguish between the voice of truth and fear, you recognize the difference between holding yourself back and waiting for what feels right.

You might not always make this distinction immediately, and you might sometimes be swayed by well-meaning people who want to protect you from the risks of thinking outside the box. But eventually, you tune out the noise and hone in on the only voice that truly knows what’s best for you.

8. You do what feels right for you, even if that means risking disapproval from the people around you.

Not only do you trust that you know what’s best for you, you do it. Even if it’s not a popular choice. Even if people question your judgment, vision, or sanity. You recognize that no one else is living your life, and no one else has to live with the consequences of your choices, so you make them for you and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to public perception.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have everything you want in life. It just means you hear the beat of your own drum, even if it’s silent like a dog whistle to everyone else, and you march to it—maybe slowly or awkwardly, but with your freak flag raised nice and high.

9. You allow yourself to change your mind if you recognize you made a choice that wasn’t right for you.

You may feel embarrassed to admit you’re changing directions, but you do it anyway because you’d rather risk being judged than accept a reality that just plain feels wrong for you.

Whether it’s a move that you realize you made for the wrong reasons, a job that isn’t what you expected, or a commitment you know you can’t honor in good conscience, you find the courage to say, “This isn’t right, so I’m going to make another change.”

10. You allow yourself to evolve and let go of what you’ve outgrown.

This is probably the hardest one of all because it’s not just about being true to yourself; it’s also about letting go. It’s about recognizing when something has run its course and being brave enough to end the chapter, even if you don’t know yet what’s coming next. Even if the void feels dark and scary.

But you, you recognize that the void can also feel light and thrilling. That empty space isn’t always a bad thing because it’s the breeding ground for new possibilities—for fulfillment, excitement, passion, and joy. And you’re more interested in seeing who else you can be and what else you can do than languishing forever in a comfortable life that now feels like someone else’s.

As with all things in life, we each exist on a spectrum. Every last one of us lives in the grey area, so odds are you do some of these things, some of the time, and probably never perfectly. And you may go through periods when you do few or none of these things, without even realizing you’ve slipped.

That’s how it’s been for me. I’ve gone through phases when I’ve felt completely in alignment and other times when I’ve gotten lost. I’ve had times when I’ve felt so overwhelmed by conflicting wants, needs, and beliefs—my own and other people’s—that I’ve shut down and lost touch with myself.

It happens to all of us. And that’s okay. The important thing is that we keep coming home to ourselves and we eventually ask ourselves the hard questions that decide the kind of lives we lead: What am I hiding? What am I lying about? And what truth would set me free?

**This post was originally published in 2019.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, Tiny Buddha's Worry Journal, and Tiny Buddha's Inner Strength Journal  and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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5 Warning Signs You're Not Staying True to Yourself


Reading time: 4 minutes

Do you sometimes feel inadequate, inefficient and unsatisfied with your current status?

Do you find yourself battling with self realization and not knowing exactly what to do? 

If this is the case chances are you’re not staying true to yourself. 

What does it mean to stay true to yourself? 

It means to be completely honest with yourself, staying faithful to your values, being sincere, open-minded and fair.  

It doesn’t mean that you look down on people or that you’re disrespectful.

It means that you will not let others define you or choose for you, it means you are capable of making choices for your life and able to take responsibility for it.

Below are 5 signs you are not true to yourself. 

1. Following the path of instant gratification 

Being true to yourself requires you to know what you want in life and are willing to follow the path that leads you towards it. 

But most times, we try to satisfy our immediate desires without much thought of how it will impact our lives. 

What am I getting at here? 

Each time you reach for that double cheeseburger packed with processed chemicals and dripping in trans fat, knowing it will surely add to your already excess pounds is the kind of instant gratification that won’t help if you want to be at your healthiest and happiest. 

Or if you impetuously decide to go on that expensive shopping trip for new clothes knowing your bank account is close to empty, that euphoria you had when you started won’t last and not only will your bank account be empty, but so will you.

Doing these things to satisfy your desires without thinking of its effect, is a warning sign that you’re not being true to yourself. 

I am not saying you shouldn’t have fun or give yourself a nice treat, but you need to be smart about your choices and consider their consequences, whether they are harmful or helpful. 

Next time you’re tempted, stop to think about the effect it will bring, whether now or in the future, by doing so, you’re being authentic and real to yourself. 

2. Following someone else’s script

Most people have their life scripted from birth to death, their whole lives have been carefully mapped out by cultural rules that dictate to them what they must wear, whom they must marry, how they must behave and even the careers they should pursue.

These rules are most times enforced by families…and the victims of this situation, although not thrilled with these rules, dare not question it, for fear of being cast out of the family unit. 

Eventually, they end up not fulfilling their true dreams and living a fake life.  

If this is the kind of life you’re living, then you’re not staying true to yourself, and you’re only serving the desires of those rule makers in your life.  Those, who will never have to live that life out for themselves. 

Some of these rules may not in themselves be harmful, but you need to ask yourself, “Is this what I want for my life”? 

If no, then you have to find the courage to break free from this script handed over to you and make your own rules so you can start living your dream life.

And the freedom and peace of mind you’ll enjoy will be well worth any challenges you may have to overcome.

3. Fear of change

Some people have lived a particular kind of lifestyle for some time which may not be making them happy, but fear to make changes and prefer the easier route of doing what everyone else around them is doing because inertia keeps them stuck. 

And let’s be honest here, it’s often really difficult to step out of the safe place you’ve been living in, even if it is truly better for you.

In other words, many people fear to stand at the edge of their comfort zone or even step out of it. 

There are so many people like this, and if you’re one of them, then you’re definitely not staying true to yourself. 

Making change is not easy, and it will definitely not happen all of a sudden, but you must be patient enough to see it through. 

As Roy T Bennet says: “Do not lie to yourself. We have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay in our comfort zone.”

4. People pleasing can never lead to staying true to yourself

So many people find it hard to make decisions on their own, and such life abhors a vacuum, someone will always step in and make decisions for them.

Who wants to be the one to follow or imitate others because of a desire to please others, or for fear of looking bad or rude. 

Someone once said when you don’t follow your dreams, someone else will gladly use you to fulfill theirs.  

How true is this? 

It is so true but only If you allow it.

You can become a lifelong puppet in someone else’s hands if you are not willing to find and follow your own dreams.

But it’s never too late; you can make the right decision today to stop and take an entirely different route that will lead you to your dream life. 

5. Attaching your self worth to the opinion of others

Most of us learned from an early age that to be successful in life, we have to get good grades in school, graduate with a high GPA and then work the “9-5” white collar job. 

Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

Many grew up with this idea in their head and built their self-worth around it so that if they find themselves struggling for a good grade in school or trying to manage a job that takes all their time and energy with close to no reward, they start feeling inadequate.

Maybe you’re currently experiencing this, and you cannot think of quitting your job because of what people will think or say about you.  


Because the “9-5” is what everybody else is doing and you don’t want to be the odd one out by doing something else, something that is far from usual. 

You’re not staying true to yourself if this is the mindset you carry. 

If you want to be successful and happy and fulfilled, then you must be willing to break the trend and become an innovator, making your own mark by doing that which adds more value to your life. 

Do not hesitate to join the likes of those breaking the norms today, be true to yourself and enjoy the freedom you deserve. 

You will never know your true capabilities unless you step out of your comfort zone. 

So, don’t be too nervous to try, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be scared to jump into your the world that is right for you, that’s there for the living. 

Many will call you foolish; they will look at your decisions and call it ridiculous; some will even laugh and call you a dreamer. 

But as long as you know what you want and what you are aiming for, as long as you have a goal to reach, it doesn’t matter what they say because your determination will drive you to your success.  

If you’re ready to turn your world around, you can begin today by staying true to yourself.

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Cephas Tope is the author of The Road Map to Your Extraordinary Life. He writes at, where he shares self improvement and business tips. you can join his free newsletter to learn how to make unshakeable progress and how to create extraordinary super life.


What it means to be true to yourself, and why we should all do it

“Be true to yourself, and then, just as surely as night follows day, loyalty to other people will follow”, William Shakespeare .

Some time ago, a friend of mine gave me a compliment that somewhat surprised me: "I really admire how true to yourself you are."

I thought, "Damn, what does he mean?" I had never thought about it, so it became interesting for me to reflect on what it means to be true to yourself and what benefits it brings in ordinary life. And here are the conclusions I came to.

1. If you are true to yourself, then you are interested in knowing yourself.

We are surrounded by a lot of people who watch the same movies as their friends, prefer the same coffee that their boss drinks, and find sexy what their co-workers do. And even if we have our own taste, how often do we stick to it?

You don't have to be selfish to respect your own preferences. But usually it seems to us that other people are ahead of us in some way, that they understand us more, that they are simply better than us. Therefore, being true to yourself means not only knowing what makes you happy, but also not being afraid to follow your choice.

For example, in my case this means that I have come to terms with the fact that I am an introvert and have stopped trying to be an extrovert.

I remain true to myself and turn down career prospects that I am sure will exhaust me. Moreover, I refuse to blame myself for my choice. And this is the key point! It's just that many people who decide to follow the path of the heart, after a while, begin to scold themselves for being lazy, selfish, or even just not like the rest.

2. You like yourself!

This is quite a difficult task for many of us. We often treat ourselves much harder than the people around us. Listen to how you usually communicate with yourself. Do you cheer and congratulate yourself, or do you only blame and scold? Think about it, would you talk to a child like that?

Being true to yourself means treating yourself gently, kindly, understanding and forgiving yourself. It means seeing the good in ourselves, and not just what we don't like and what we would like to change. Why is it so hard for us to treat ourselves like this?

Maybe we feel like we can never achieve anything unless we are tough enough on ourselves? Do you really find this kind of treatment motivating? We hear a better relationship with ourselves.


You respect your own feelings.

Again, we tend to be too respectful of the feelings of others and too shallow of our own. The downside of this attitude is that in difficult situations, we begin to drown in our own emotions.

To avoid this, all you have to do is learn to pay attention to your own feelings at least as much as other people's feelings.

The biggest problem with the feelings of others is that we usually only have to guess about them. In the past, I have spent many, many hours trying to figure out what other people think of me. But somehow it never occurred to me to spend as much time asking myself what I think of them!

When you start putting your feelings first, you will feel much freer, you will become much less concerned about what other people think. And the more you treat yourself with more respect and trust, the more you will like the people around you (this is precisely the reason for my friend's compliment).

There is something very attractive about people who do not hide their feelings either from themselves or from others. Other people feel calm and at ease around them, as they completely trust them.

4. You are not afraid to be yourself.

If you stop worrying about how other people see you, you can show your true self to those around you. Of course, not everyone will be able to accept the real you, it's true, but everyone else will love and accept you the way you are. And it's much more interesting!

We lose so much when we trade our real selves for public approval. We lose our spontaneity and vitality. We lose confidence in our own desires and tastes. We can lose ourselves, often forever. And the world is losing the contribution you could make if you remained authentic.

At first, when I decided to remain myself in all situations, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of joy and fear at the same time. I was not at all sure that those around me were really ready to accept that strange, quirky person that I knew myself in the depths of my soul, but now I began to love myself much more than in those days when I did not live, but played role.

And it takes so much energy to control your every word and action! When I became myself and began to do what I really want, I discovered a crazy flow of creativity and joy inside of me.

5. And here's the best part: you give other people a reason to love you.

In this way, you can make this world a better place. Your authentic self, which you present to the world, calls out to the authentic self in the people around you. This is what we are actually born for, relationships formed between people who are who they really are.

People actually treat you the same way you treat yourself. If you are true to yourself, if you understand and love yourself, if you respect your own feelings and are not afraid to be authentic, then you will be able to love other people as well. Self-love and honesty will allow you to show true love and honesty in any relationship. As Shakespeare wrote, one cannot deceive others while remaining true to oneself.

Try to ask yourself the following questions as often as possible: Is this what I really want? How do I really feel in this situation?

You can still sometimes give in to the whims of your loved one, but it will be a freely made choice, and not an obligation, a blind habit or a manipulative trick on his part.

You will make the right decisions based on the needs of your true self. You will feel like a happy person and live with yourself in peace.


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[To home] [Power of the Weak]

Vladimir Ivanov (Bulgaria, Sofia)

All over the world, in the vast universe, everything is in continuous motion: of course, man, including, of course, you and me. Nothing remains at rest, in one place, in one state. The grown man bears little resemblance to the child, the old man to the young man he was. However, although in constant change, he remains in his main characteristic, and above all in continuity, the same person. He has a quality that distinguishes him from all other people on earth.

But what is this quality, what is its characteristic? Maybe it's facial features, height, skeletal structure and muscles, eye and hair color? Yes, of course, we cannot imagine this person without his appearance. But is that its essence? What makes a person unique is his soulfulness. It determines his thoughts and feelings, his attitude towards the world and his fellows, his actions and behavior in general, although they, of course, also change.

The soul of a newborn is a tabula raza. Nothing is written on it yet, it has not yet experienced anything. The child looks at the world with great surprise. He is interested in everything, everything can give him pleasure and joy. His soul is open to goodness. If a child does harm to someone (a person, an animal or a dead object), it is either as a joke or out of curiosity (to try what will happen and how).

And little by little, step by step, a growing person accumulates more and more impressions and knowledge, develops stronger relationships to the world and people, stereotypes of emotional experiences and behavior. It is difficult to say when and how all these elements begin to connect, to form a holistic view of the world around us and one's own life and system of human values. in some individuals this occurs very early, almost from childhood, in others much later, in others it does not occur at all.

It is difficult to assess the significance of all possible factors that form a person's mental make-up. Here we must take into account both the number and the state of neurons in the brain (a normal adult has about 100 billion of them!), And the complex biochemical processes that take place in them, and the endless effects on higher nervous activity from the moment of birth, and especially since then. when the child begins to comprehend them.

Once formed, the spiritual image of a person remains more or less stable. However, persistent in its main focus, and not in the content of experiences due to the dynamics of life. On his life path, a person faces many problems, and they change with a change in both his age and social conditions in society.

A young man is inclined to idealize reality, to believe in goodness, in honesty, in higher justice. He easily creates idols and ideals for himself, to which he wants to devote his life. However, reality usually turns out to be more rough and cruel than we expected. And here it comes not only to an abstract worldview, but also practically to the solution of specific everyday problems.

It is often very difficult to ensure a normal existence for oneself sometimes this requires the rejection of those principles that a person believed and swore by. Is it possible to "land" without losing one's mental make-up, while maintaining human dignity? For this, strong will, strength and stability of spirit are needed, so that although making small worldly compromises not change the “general line” of one's individuality. This can be made easier if there are people around you who understand, believe and support you.

The worst thing is if your friends, your closest people, have changed and become different, with whom, despising earthly blessings, you dreamed of a perfect society in which everyone could be happy, live in peace and love.

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