If you’ve ever nervously talked to a friend before going on a date before, or had to muster up the courage to tell someone something important, you’ve probably heard the old saying “just be yourself” plenty of times.

But what if you’re shy or just naturally anxious?

Well, in some ways this advice is actually the best and the worst advice you could get.

It’s the best advice because it is absolutely true. However, it is also the worst advice because so many people think that they are being themselves when they really are not.

You see, as an example, although you think you may just be naturally shy, that really isn’t you. Shyness is nothing more than a form of social anxiety. A fear or concern about what others will think about you.

The real you is the uninhibited you that lies beneath any inhibitions or fears. You are not the sum of your limitations or inhibitions.

The goal then becomes not trying to just be yourself, but with striving toward being your “best self.”

The way that you do this is not to memorize a bunch of pick up lines to attract women, comeback lines to “defeat” your husband during your next argument, or subtle psychological triggers to make your partner respect you more.

The secret is to remove the stuff that is already keeping you from being your authentic self, not adding more things on top of that.

The secret to being yourself isn’t to learn more, it is to unlearn all the many little things you do or don’t do that keep you from fully expressing yourself to others in your life.

The way that you are, right now, you are already completely good enough to get all the love, affection, and respect that you want. The problem isn’t in learning how to manipulate people, but in how to remove the blocks that you put in place yourself that keep you from getting what you want in the first place.

And that’s really what people mean when they tell you to just be yourself. They want you to let go of all the anxiety and apprehension that you cling to, All the reasons you don’t believe that you deserve what you want, and all the beliefs that you don’t believe that you are enough.

Instead, let go of those thoughts and embrace the person you already are.

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If you found this helpful and you'd like to learn more about relationship advice, check out this article on how to just be yourself.