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The Art of Being Yourself

November 7, 2018

Quote: “This above all, — to thine own self be true.” Polonius from Hamlet Act 1. Scene 3. line 78

In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius is seen giving his son advice as he is leaving for college. Amongst this advice, many will argue that “to thine own self be true” is the most import of these wise words. Every generation has had its own unique road blocks against self-confidence and presentation. The main roadblock today are politics and opinions, as they can scare someone into suppressing their true beliefs and feelings, as they do not want their friends to think differently of them or are just trying to save themselves a fight with said friends. Even in today’s world, where “everything/everyone should be accepted” is shouted from the rooftops in various voices, teens specifically still have difficulties in distinguishing the difference between “fitting in” and being accepted. With certain differences being publicized and celebrated, it may come as a shock to some, that some students still find being themselves and speaking their minds as a choice with ugly consequences. In a generation where equality and acceptance of all is a focus, you see large numbers of self- confused teens, wanting to be accepted but failing to see the point of the mainstream message. Acceptance is important and might be part of the solution, but acceptance is not the solution; confidence is. For many adolescents the complication of being themselves lies in the lack of knowing who they really are, Self-discovery and acceptance is a big part of feeling comfortable in your own skin. For how can you relish in someone you’ve only just met? While other teens, have some idea of who they are, or rather who they used to be and try to be that person without realizing they too have become a stranger. Confidence plays a huge part in being able to embrace one’s true nature. If you like who you are and feel confident as you are, you are more likely to let those true colors show. Once you know, respect and accept who are, others with follow, and if they don’t then they are the ones who need to change and not you. Disguising one’s true intentions and self can be more damaging to one’s self and those around them, than facing adversity and staying true to yourself. Drawing from Hamlet as an example of how dangerous denying ones’ inner self can be; Hamlet “pretended” to be insane and instead of thinking clearly, was focused on proving himself to his father’s ghost, however not being a coward cost, him his family, girl, friends, and ultimately his life.

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