What does it mean to be yourself?

I came across this TEDx talk that provides a nice little addition to the article that I posted last month about Being yourself  by asking an important question – What Does It Mean To Be Yourself?

Carly Sotas is the author of Illusion, a non-fiction book which explores questions of identity, happiness, and success. She shares her challenges, and insights from her book. Sotas explores how the fear of not being good enough prevents us making an impact and achieving our dreams. It is partly relatable to Brené Brown’s talk about vulnerability – What if I am not good enough? that I had shared here earlier.

This is what Carly Sotas says about her experiences as a teenager –

The truth that we’re afraid to be ourselves because we don’t think that we’re good enough. How many times have you looked in the mirror and told yourself, “I’m not muscular enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough.”

It all comes down to those two words –  Not enough.

Unlike most of the TED talks I have shared here, Carly Sotas is not a research scholar or professor discussing her work and discussing her findings with some level of authority. Yet, you cannot miss the authenticity in her earnest words. There is no theory or model here, just simple, humble experiences and her narration is quite relatable as well. I think a lot of people try to imitate others because they often believe that they are not good enough and perhaps it is not worth being themselves.

It is wonderful to listen to her own experience of finding an internship position in New York, then finding reasons why she wasn’t capable enough, and finally deciding to move there and work with people that she admired on TV. Do watch her talk here –


Sotas’ story about writing her experiences and her unwillingness to share them is intriguing as well. She found her inspiration in another first-time author Adam Braun and went on to publish her book – Illusion. This is how she puts it in her talk –

I realized that if you have a story that has the potential to inspire someone or to let just one other person know that they are not alone then you have a responsibility to share that story. We have the ability to inspire other people simply by being who we are, and it doesn’t mean we have to be successful or have all the answers; we just have to be honest and open about our insecurities.

~ Carly Sotas

I have nothing more to add to this honest insight. 🙂

About the featured image:

The featured image for this article is a free wallpaper from QuoteFancy and it features Friedrich Nietzsche’s quote that captures essence of this article quite well with the photo credited to Jay Mantri. I am using this image here with gratitude.

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