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  • Mansuer Mohammad

The Art of Being Yourself

The best thing you can be is yourself

Now, the best thing you can be is yourself. I say that vocally more than ever because it means something. We live in a world where we adjust ourselves to every opinion we hear about ourselves. “That red beanie makes you look childish”, those shoes are really old” and in my case, “You’re bad at soccer, you’re just not good enough”. At some point, I used to believe these opinions were the truth and that maybe I wasn’t cut out for soccer.

The human body can be hurt in many ways but being hit mentally is a different wound and one that takes forever to recover from. Throughout my life, I’ve noticed my mind paint a picture of myself along with the description of what someone else’s opinion is of me, and ultimately, it would end up in poor self-visualization. I want to tell you right now that, those opinions, are just opinions.

They are never factual to any extent and the deal with opinions is that they can either be right or wrong but the point I want to stress is that it is never a true statement. As I continued playing soccer while carrying the weight of the opinions telling me I’m not good enough, it did bother me and eventually, my confidence was at an all-time low. I couldn’t even perform the basics right all because my mind was too busy repeating an outside voice to myself.

The power of self-visualization

I watched a couple of motivational videos and most of them spoke vocally about self-visualization. In an interview with Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer player of Manchester United, he mentioned how he envisions himself as the best and that he does not care what others have to say.

When asked if he is the best soccer player in the world right now? He said: “I think so yes. In my mind, I am always the best. I don’t care what the people are thinking, what they say, in my mind, not just this year but always, I’m the best. I’m always going to say that”.

At first, I thought it was a very self-centered mentality but as I dug deeper into his answer, it made sense to me that the only opinion that matters is the one you have of yourself which isn’t influenced by any outside factors.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, also a soccer player who plays for AC Milan, although some consider him an arrogant personality, he is another good example of self-visualization. In an interview at Manchester United, when he was asked how he sees himself compared to the other center forwards in the league; he replied: “Lions don’t compare themselves to humans”. Based on these examples, self-visualization goes a long way to being who you want to be.

Don't underestimate your capabilities

Myself included, we tend to underestimate ourselves.

A coach once told me: "If you keep underestimating yourself, you will never realize your potential. You are far more capable than you believe”.

A quote from Maya Angelou that I always share is: “If you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how amazing you can be”. Normal is a flexible term, there is no fixed definition of what is normal. We define normal based on our life experiences, so what we consider normal may not be normal to others. Likewise, I would suggest not to feel down if you’re ever told or asked to be normal. The title says it, but I’ll repeat myself; Be yourself.

Don’t ever let an opinion change how you visualize yourself because, at the end of the day, that is an opinion of someone else and opinions are never factual. While others may think I'm boring because I play soccer on weekends, doing what I love, to me, it's a great way to spend my time. If you start prioritizing your thoughts over others' opinions, you'll be in command of your life at that moment, and nothing can stop you from exceeding your goals.

Emma Stone, who played the role of Gwen Stacy in “The Amazing Spider-man 2”, during her graduation speech, said: “What makes life valuable is that it doesn’t last forever. What makes it precious is that it ends. I know that now more than ever and I say it today of all days to remind us that time is luck. So don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Make yours count for something, fight for what matters to you. No matter what, because even if we fall short, what better way is there to live?”

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