To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
~e.e. cummings, 1955
He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.
God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with:that I am nobody but myself.
~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another.
~James Matthew Barrie
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
~Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905
Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.
~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.
A man who is "of sound mind" is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.
~Paul Valéry, Mauvaises pensées et autres, 1942
I am told to just be myself, but as much as I have practiced the impression, I am still no good at it.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant duplicity.Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike, and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.
~Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, 1750
Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.
How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.
~Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
"Be yourself" is about the worst advice you can give some people.
I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I've written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself.
Learn to... be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.
~Henri Frederic Amiel
I am much better employed from every point of view, when I live solely for my own satisfaction, than when I begin to worry about the world. The world frightens me, and a frightened man is no good for anything.
No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character.
There is just one life for each of us: our own.
Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.
If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.
~Johann von Goethe
Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?
Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.
At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.
The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Originality is... a by-product of sincerity.
Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.
To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.
All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
~Johann von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774
When one is pretending the entire body revolts.
It is not only possible to be the person you pretend to be, but there is less effort involved.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com/div>
We are betrayed by what is false within.
No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
My mom always said I liked to stir the pot with a glittering spoon.
No creature is fully itself till it is, like the dandelion, opened in the bloom of pure relationship to the sun, the entire living cosmos.
Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.
It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is.
Like the sky opens after a rainy day we must open to ourselves.... Learn to love yourself for who you are and open so the world can see you shine.
All the mistakes I make arise from forsaking my own station and trying to see the object from another person's point of view.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.
~Julius Charles Hare
We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.
~André Berthiaume, Contretemps
An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man's entire existence.
~Honoré de Balzac, "Scnes de la vie Parisienne," La Maison Nucingen, 1838
He who travels in search of something which he has not got, travels away from himself and grows old even in youth among old things.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"
There lurks, perhaps, in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man first to hope, and then to believe, that Nature has given him something peculiar to himself.
You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.
~Irene C. Kassorla
Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves.
You were born an original. Don't die a copy.
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.
There is in a man an upwelling spring of life, energy, love, whatever you like to call it. If a course is not cut for it, it turns the ground round it into a swamp.
~Mark Rutherford (William Hale White), More Pages from a Journal, 1910
Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul.
~Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
Most of our faults are more pardonable than the means we use to conceal them.
~François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims, 1665
Man would be "otherwise." That's the essence of the specifically human. Individualism is rather like innocence: There must be something unconscious about it.
~Louis Kronenberger, Company Manners, 1954
Why try to be someone you're not? Life is hard enough without adding impersonation to the skills required.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
One's real life is often the life that one does not lead.
~Oscar Wilde, L'Envoi to Rose-leaf and Apple-leaf, 1882
The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow.
~Charles R. Brown
Rabbi Zusya said that on the Day of Judgment, God would ask him, not why he had not been Moses, but why he had not been Zusya.