My philosophy for a happy life: stay true, stay you. It actually sounds similar to a sentiment echoed throughout the ages from wise men and saints. “Become who you are,” ordered Pindar. “Be who you are, and be that well,” instructed St. Francis. “Not to be one’s self, as God created you, is despair,” warned Kierkegaard.
A phrase that usually goes along with “be yourself” is another me-culture slogan: “You can be whatever you want.” And while “be yourself” turns out to be immensely classical when looked at philosophically... Our dreams, preferences, personalities, and desires change, and according to Aristotle (et al.) those traits depend on the quality of the person; in other words, our tastes and our expectations of the world are based on the foundation of the true self. People who fail at being themselves can only live in the world of appearances. So many of us are obsessed with how we look on social media or what other people say about us, but our life does not consist of how other people perceive us or what other people think about us. Seneca wrote, “Death falls heavy upon those who are known too much to others and too little to themselves.” Plato wrote, “The most damaging thing about stupidity is its self-satisfaction.” Those who are most in need of wisdom are the ones who are least aware of it. “There are two kinds of people in the world: the fools who think that they are wise, and the wise who know that they are fools.” I believe the self exists to be given away and share, transmit to the others.As one of the great selves of fictional characters, the Bishop in Les Miserables said, “I am not in the world to care for myself, but for souls.” The self is a gift given freely to us so that we might give it away freely...Stay true, stay you!
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