You Can't Fake It
In the previous Daily Freedom article, "Being Truly Yourself" I compared being yourself with being an actor, because one is whatever they choose to make themselves and being one's self is intentionally being and doing what one chooses to be and do—the opposite of someone whose actions and behavior are determined by feelings, whims, or irrational desires. Being one's self is being in total control of one's own life freely determining, by choice, all one does. Not intentionally choosing all of one's behavior is being out of control, or under the control of irrational, feelings, fears, desires, or whims one knows neither the reason for or cause of.
Intentionally being what you are is not pretending to be what your are not.
Not Faking It
Being what you choose to be must not be confused with being a phony or a fake. Being who you are means doing and being what you deliberately choose to do what your best reason convinces you is right. The difference is a matter of motive.
If your motive is to be the best human being you can be, to achieve all you possibly can, and to enjoy a life that is worth living because you have earned it, how you choose to behave and present yourself is a reflection of your own virtue and character, no matter what anyone else thinks, believes, or says about you.
If your motive is to be seen by others as important, erudite, virtuous, or admirable in any way, whether you are or are not any of those things, you are a phony and a fake, pretending to be what you think others expect or want you to be.
Not Being In Control Is Being Out Of Control
There is a very bad idea in the world that being yourself means behaving without thought or design allowing any whim or impulse to determine what you say and do. The very opposite is true. Your desires and whims are not you, but things that happen to you, feelings which may or may not reflect what you truly think and believe. Only what you do by deliberate considered intention is you.
You are only being you when you are in control of everything you think and do—from the way you speak to the way you walk, every word you speak or write, every expression, every gesture is yours only if you consciously choose them.
Until It Becomes Natural
Sometimes the advice to, "just be yourself," is explained as, "just be natural." The idea is to not fake what you are doing, as if acting deliberately and by intention was automatically, "faking it." Like everything else in life, our total sense of life and manner of living begins by choice and when the most important things are well learned, they become almost automatic. Riding a bicycle, roller skating, typing, and driving a car seem almost natural, because we can do them without thinking about them. The process is called habituation, and after some time are manner of living becomes automatic and it is not necessary to pay attention to every detail all the time, but that does not happen automatically. That kind of living, like all other forms of behavior, must be chosen and practiced until they become, "second nature." Then we can, "just be ourselves," and, "just be natural," because we will have created our own nature and self to be what we have chosen to be.
You Cannot Fake It
Those who never make the effort to deliberately make something of themselves, believing they can go through life guided only by whatever whims and desires they are currently experiencing, making no preparation for the future and taking no measures to develop their own knowledge and abilities, counting on being able to fool others into thinking they are something important and good, may be able to fool the world, but they can never fool themselves.
No matter how much one is admired or esteemed by others, how much celebrity they enjoy or how much glory is showered on them, it is ultimately what one knows they truly are that their self-confidence, self-esteem, and sense of self-worth depend on, and all the worldly praise there is cannot wipe out the inevitable disappointment and regret the one who attempts to fake life will suffer.