Show up as yourself

Readers want the person who is talking to them to sound genuine. Therefore a fundamental rule is: be yourself.

-William Zinsser

“Be yourself.” Another writing/life lesson.

Why is this so damn hard?

Why do we have to write and write and write, consistently, bad sentence after bad sentence, time and time again (a couple years, according to Ira) in order for our true selves to begin to emerge on the page?

Why is it that, when we write a piece, it takes at least three or four paragraphs of fluff and boring, drab lead-up in order to get to the point?

Here’s my theory… I think it’s because we feel an extensive need to explain ourselves and justify our existence to the world.

Think about it. When you meet someone new, what’s the social ritual?

To ease into things. To not be too vulnerable. To put on a bit of a show. To get to know them first. To make small-talk. To not talk politics or religion. To not discuss anything deeper than the weather or comparing what you do for a living.

MAYBE after a few months, or possibly years, of knowing someone, you become ‘friends’ and feel comfortable expressing the ‘real you’.

We humans are so guarded. We live afraid with delicate little egos and easily hurt feelings.

Why don’t we just show up at the first handshake with chutzpah?! Bam! This is who I am. Take it or leave it? (Some of my friends do this well — I envy them.)

We’re made of God-stuff, damn it! We’re infinite beings — all interesting in our own profound ways. When are we going to start living like that? Why are we all trying to fit in?

Try showing up as you (I’ll try too). To both the first handshake and the first sentence. Practice one to practice the other.


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Jonas stands on his soapbox daily at Medium. To get his meditations delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.