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Image / Self / Advice

11 simple ways to be more yourself


By Niamh Ennis
22nd Mar 2024
11 simple ways to be more yourself

The question “who are you really?” evokes a sense of panic in the best of us. When you try to answer by applying logic to it you may find yourself speechless. Don’t you think that it’s odd that you have answers to hundreds, even thousands, of questions in your head, but you still find it impossible to answer this simple one?

To be fair, it’s not that you should be expected to have just one response or indeed if you’re lucky enough to find it; to have the same one for the rest of your days. Quite the opposite in fact. As you move through life, growing and expanding, the answer to who you are should also constantly be changing with you.

In order to help get you closer to your own answer of who it is you are, let’s look at these eleven simple ways that could reveal the information you need, in a way that you know to be true for you. See which jump out from the page and watch when and where they show up in your life.

1. Mind your language
We know that our doubts, fears and limiting beliefs show up in much of our negative self-talk. The language we use further cements this. Observe how you speak to yourself, the words, and the tone and then ask yourself if you would speak to a friend the same way. I’m guessing not. Be aware that your mind does not know when you are being sarcastic or self-deprecating. It hears the words you use and it believes them.

Watch also how you try and pre-empt disappointment; by using phrases like ‘I’ve never been able to’, ‘I am useless at’ or ‘this is so typical of me’. Consider that, while this might be you trying to protect yourself; you are, in fact, setting yourself up for failure. If you don’t believe you can do it, there’s every chance that you’ll prove yourself right.

2. Get to know yourself a little bit better
How we view ourselves has an awful lot to do with how others tell us that they see us. When we were younger, our gauge was measured by what we heard from our parents and teachers. It was from them that we learned which camp we belonged to – the good or the not-so-good, the worthy or undeserving, the loved or the tolerated. Unconsciously, they told us who we were, before we had ever stopped to wonder for ourselves. But fast forward to now, to this stage of your life. I want you to challenge your own beliefs about yourself and try to let go of how others see you putting your focus back on how it is you see yourself.

3.Focus on your strengths
You’re conditioned to place your attention on what’s missing from your life rather than celebrate those gifts and abilities that are uniquely yours. Your negative attributes are not who you are. Identify what you know your strengths to be and create affirmations using them and observe how, over time, they begin to alter how you feel about yourself. When you focus on the traits that you’re proud to possess, you have the power to think about yourself in a more positive and affirmative way. By finding the evidence you are connecting to that feeling of confidence in yourself. Reflect on those times in your past when you felt proud of yourself. Remind yourself how good it felt and then begin replicating the steps you took then, for what it is you want now.

4. Let go of past mistakes
Every single one of us has made mistakes. It’s part of the human experience. We’ve all done things that we aren’t particularly proud of, but just don’t let them define how you are now or to impact on who it is you can become. Let go of the regret and guilt that’s plaguing you and remind yourself that the only person getting in your way from now on will be you. Promise yourself that you’re not going to let that happen, acknowledging that while events may have shaped your past, you aren’t going to allow them to determine your future!

5. Stop caring about what others think
For years, I cared far too much about what other people thought and I measured my worth based on their opinion of me. It was exhausting and thankless. But trust me, you can’t ever please everyone, no matter how hard you try or how much of yourself you sacrifice. Focus instead on developing the most important relationship you have, and that’s with yourself, by doing more of what you love with who you love. Remember we teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves, so start there.

6. Commit to change
If you are not happy being who you are now, then there is one obvious solution – change it. The power to change direction in your life is within your hands but, and this is important, you must really want it. Once you commit to change and doing what’s necessary, opportunities will magically appear in front of you. So, the real question for you now is just how much do you want it? Are you willing to do what it takes, even if that means leaning into discomfort?

7. Take the mask off
If, like me, there are traces of a people pleaser in you, then you’ll know all the tricks and tools when it comes to letting people only see the parts of you that you want them to see. You hide so much of yourself including your pain and hurt. You’re afraid to ask for help for fear it makes you look weak. But when you do open up and share those parts of yourself, you quickly realise that it strengthens your relationships and friendships. Please remember that none of us were ever meant to do this business of life alone.

8. Journal
Regular readers will know that I believe journaling is a powerful medicine. I say this because it reconnects you to that part of you that feels, loves, intuits and creates, as well as to your purpose. When you journal regularly you move what is in your crowded, busy mind onto the paper in front of you and you create space for new thoughts and ideas to land. This practise, repeated daily, really helps you observe the patterns of what’s consuming you and identify just what needs clearing.

9. Get out of your comfort zone
Your deep resistance to change will result in you convincing yourself that you’re better off staying where you are – even if that place is making you miserable and unhappy. But the truth is, if you want your life to feel different, then it is going to require making some profound changes in your life. It simply won’t happen by staying where you are. That may not be what you want to hear, but trust me that the feeling once you do move from here to there will totally justify the discomfort. Take the risk.

10. Find your community
Watch whose company you’re keeping. Do those you’re spending the most time with really want what’s best for you? Are they cheering you on? When you get good news, are you excited to share it or do you keep it to yourself for fear it might not go down so well? Think about the last few times you were in the company of others – did you find yourself dimming your light? Did you leave feeling not so good about yourself? If this resonates, you might need to think about pulling back, even just for a while. You deserve to feel good about yourself and what you’re doing. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

11. Take action
You can dream up all the plans, you can attach yourself to great goals and you can learn all you need to in order to make it happen, but if you don’t take action, nothing happens and nothing changes. Just don’t let this become another navel-gazing exercise, do what you need to do so that you can finally feel free to be yourself. It’s your time to shine and nobody can turn that light on, apart from you.

Some of these may seem obvious while some will feel entirely doable, but I would recommend that if you feel triggered by any of them, then explore just why that might be and know that this information is also telling you something! When it comes to being more yourself and what that should look like, I’m going to leave the final say to Coco Chanel who, to my mind, says it best with the words “A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.”

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading change & transformation coach and author of Get Unstuck who through her private practice, writings, programmes, workshops and podcast has inspired, activated and helped thousands of people to make significant changes in their lives. She is an accredited Personal, Leadership & Executive Coach and the Lead Coach in the IMAGE Business Club. Niamh is currently accepting applications for The RESET for Change her 3 month bespoke 1-1 coaching programme.  Follow her on Instagram at @1niamhennis.

This article was originally published in April 2023.