Never be who you are supposed to be.

Every day, we are given a choice, to be who you are or to be who you’re supposed to be.

It’s never that obvious, no one really uses these words, but the results are the same.

You choose to be you,

or

you choose to be someone else.

This is especially easy given all the tools we currently have to manicure the existence we wish we had.

We craft perfect Facebook profiles. We Instagram out the parts of our lives we regret. We tweet the wins. All the while, a gap grows between who we pretend to be and who we really are.

Trying to be someone else is the most exhausting way to spend your life.

Is it easier sometimes than going your own way? It is.

Conforming is popular because conforming is comfortable.

You say the things you should say.

You do the things you should do.

You buy the things you should buy.

But in the quiet moments of the day, it sneaks back up on you. That quiet realization that you are missing something. Comedian Louis CK is right, this is why we grab our phones so frantically. When the quiet wells up, we would drain it fast with a phone that offers us a false sense of connection even as it isolates us from the one person we can’t escape, ourselves.

Live your story. The one you were given. The one that no one else got.

The one that loves other people and serves other people and helps other people. The one that knows being yourself always leads to generosity not greed. Upon stumbling upon ourselves we can’t wait to help others have the same experience.

Today you have the chance to be who you are supposed to be.

Refuse it.

That is not who the world is missing.

We have more than enough supposed to people already.

We need you instead.

33 Comments
  • Ronne Rock
    Posted at 09:33h, 26 October Reply

    Yes to this. Each and every day. We need more “just us” in this world. We’re far more colorful, far more beautiful, far more powerful than any manufactured version of us could ever be.

    • Jon Acuff
      Posted at 09:34h, 26 October Reply

      Manufactured is a great way to say it.

      • Ronne Rock
        Posted at 09:39h, 26 October Reply

        I’m writing a branding post today about being watchful of that side-view mirror. It can mess with our perspective of who we really are – and who everyone else is…

        Eyes focused forward. Head lifted up.

        Thankful for you, Jon.

  • Sarah Hubbell
    Posted at 09:37h, 26 October Reply

    If I’m honest, I really don’t know what this means for me. Maybe I’m already being myself? Or maybe I’m delusional, lol. Anyway I haven’t the faintest idea.

    • Jon Acuff
      Posted at 09:39h, 26 October Reply

      Ha! I know for me it means writing the posts I feel like I am supposed to write, not just the ones that I think will get me traffic.

      • Libby Norcross
        Posted at 09:52h, 26 October Reply

        Jon,

        That’s a great example! It sounds all brave and awesome, but I know it’s hard. I actually laughed aloud at myself once when I realized I was debating internally about whether to post a Facebook status update about something I cared about, because I knew it would not get lots of “likes” as my normal updates do. Absurd! But we also so stealthily into that mindset.

        Keep posting what matters!

        -Libby

  • Dan Niedbalski
    Posted at 09:40h, 26 October Reply

    Thank you Jon. I cannot agree more that most of us fear the quiet time. Even in a crowd, we fear our own thoughts that call us out.

  • Winfred Roach
    Posted at 09:41h, 26 October Reply

    Well put; that we need just to be ourselves. To sift out the influences that have conscientiously or unconscientlousy become part of a facade that we show the world. I am reminded of John C. Maxwell’s practice of taking a full day to think. To think of who I am now and exactly what I am giving back to the world.

    • Jon Acuff
      Posted at 09:43h, 26 October Reply

      I love the concept of a thinking day.

  • Jodi
    Posted at 09:45h, 26 October Reply

    Excellent post and reminder to is all!

  • Keri
    Posted at 09:45h, 26 October Reply

    You know what’s ironic? I think I was more myself as a teenager than I am now. I’ve allowed life and its’ troubles to bury the real me. It’s freeing to start discovering yourself all over again in your 30s.

  • Monica
    Posted at 09:49h, 26 October Reply

    It took me a few reads through to fully understand the message here. This is what I’ve been reflecting on a lot this week as I start a new position doing work I was put here to do. Thank you Jon.

  • Brian
    Posted at 09:52h, 26 October Reply

    What if the “real me” is often a self absorbed jerk?

    • Jon Acuff
      Posted at 09:55h, 26 October Reply

      Then, don’t be a jerk.

  • Kelley
    Posted at 09:55h, 26 October Reply

    This is hard when you feel like you’re a terrible person and like if you act like yourself you’re going to hurt people–unintentionally leave a path of destruction behind you…

  • Mandy
    Posted at 10:13h, 26 October Reply

    Thank you so much for this. You get so wrapped up in trying to be what you want people to see, especially when you’re in leadership in ministry. I’m learning people want to see the real you. Community is messy! We need to embrace the messiness.

  • Adam M
    Posted at 10:18h, 26 October Reply

    Great post. I would add that others can tell the difference when we live out of who we are vs when we live the supposed to versions of ourselves. I think we draw others to us when we live authentically which allows us to love more fully.

  • Ryan
    Posted at 10:28h, 26 October Reply

    I heard it put something like this once: ‘I want the person I see myself as, who others see me as & God sees me as to be the same’ … There is freedom in authenticity, but so easy to fall into the comparison game. GREAT post!

  • Aaron Welty
    Posted at 10:33h, 26 October Reply

    This is good, Jon. Even when who we are is misunderstood and confounding to some, we still need to be who we are. Even when others can’t put us in the boxes they have in their brains, we still need to be who we were created to be (which is often different than who/what culture says we’re supposed to be). There’s a reason Paul wrote 1 Cor 1:27 and talked about the foolish things, the weak things, the things that are not, and the power they have to confound the wise and powerful. If that’s who you are, be that; be the one who causes others to scratch their heads in wonder at the mystery created when you were made. It’s easier to be Iron Man than to be Tony Stark, much less show the latter to others. That is one of the brilliant things about Iron Man 3, is that Stark spends so much of it as Stark, outside the suit, so that the challenge given him by Captain America in Avengers – what are you without the suit? – actually happens; we see what he is without the armor. Armor protects, but it often inhibits. It is the inner man/woman that is the confounding mystery to many when/if they see it.

    In the Firefly pilot, Shepard Book comments that he is fascinated by Captain Malcolm Reynolds because he is something of a mystery. He then asks Inara why she too is drawn to him and she says: “because so few men are”. Go forth and confound the world around us, be the mystery that draws people in.

    • HelloSweetie
      Posted at 14:12h, 27 October Reply

      Especially love the Firefly reference. I was beating myself up a few years ago because I felt like I was frustrating to be around, because I always, in the most oblivious and unintentional way ever, ask the hard questions that no one ever wants to think about: at work, at home, in social relationships, at church, wherever.

      And I felt like God just told me, ‘Exactly. That’s who I made you to be. That’s who you are, the one who challenges rote beliefs, even when you don’t mean to.’

      So, there’s that. Also, you can’t take the sky from me. 🙂

  • Melissa Ogden
    Posted at 10:55h, 26 October Reply

    Perfect. We all need to be more than our facebook highlight reels. You always have the perfect words at the perfect time. Thank you once again Jon.

  • Darla Baergbaerg
    Posted at 10:59h, 26 October Reply

    I think this is one of your beat blogs . So glad you are back.

    • Darla Baergbaerg
      Posted at 11:00h, 26 October Reply

      Best!! :

  • Cherisse
    Posted at 11:59h, 26 October Reply

    Ahhh this is so good. It’s so hard to be authentic in this social media driven world. We constantly compare ourselves to the people online, whether we mean to or not. We are living in a place where the amount of “likes” or “retweets” is more important than our character and the health of our souls. Thanks for this awesome post Jon!

  • Katie M
    Posted at 12:11h, 26 October Reply

    This is powerful for me. I have spent my life doing what I “should” and being the person I was told I am “supposed to be”. A hard thing to acknowledge and try to change in my 30s…

  • Brian
    Posted at 13:15h, 26 October Reply

    I spent so much of my life following a script others had given to me. It was so liberating to throw it all away and find myself.

  • David Mike
    Posted at 16:16h, 26 October Reply

    Clearly if you have read my blog, I am the real me in all my nerdyness. Also I share my worst moments. Nothing to hide. http://dilemmamike.com

  • Melissa Hawks
    Posted at 16:16h, 26 October Reply

    This. SO good. I just saw it after going on a minor rant/challenge to a lovely community of people about being them instead of trying to be someone else. I’m so tired of us placing others on higher levels than ourselves and saying, “If I could just be them or could just get there…to that one BIG moment…it would be enough.” THESE moments, the tiny small ones, seemingly insignificant conversations – they’re what make a difference, impact lives, and change the course of history. Being you. It really is the most genius thing you can do. Love these thoughts, Jon, and the way you presented them.

  • Larry Youngren
    Posted at 20:48h, 27 October Reply

    Good post. There is so much pressure to conform to the world. It is difficult to be honest with yourself or as Andy Andrews would say the 11th commandment would be, “Thou shall not kid thyself,” if Moses would have staye,d on the mountain longer. Even more difficult is to have a circle of friends that are brutally honest. When I find myself a greeting conventional wisdom them its time to step back and reevaluate and reassessment.

  • Jenny Barker
    Posted at 06:15h, 28 October Reply

    Such freedom and beauty and life come from us just simply leaning back, resting, and being ourselves… who we are, where we are, as God uniquely designed us. It’s the very thing that God continues to call and invite me to over and over again… to “be… and keep being”. And at 43 years old, I’ve never felt more me… more comfortable, free, and alive in my own skin and story than I do now. I’m so grateful.

    Thank you for your heart in this post… for giving people the freedom and permission to just be themselves. There’s such life there!

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