Fed up with feeling like a poser, Ryan Cosgrove of Nashville, Tennessee, tried just being himself but found that things quickly got confusing.
"To thine own self be true was going to be my motto," said Cosgrove. "But it ended up being kind of a s***-show. To be brutally honest, things never even really got off the ground."
He added, "On top of everything else, I'm obviously going to need a new motto."
As Cosgrove explained it, he soon realized that one issue he really ought to have settled before going fully authentic was which self he was going to be. "My best self, my highest self, my loser self? There were a lot of options I hadn't completely thought through," he said. "You don't realize how complicated some things are until you really go all in. Lesson learned."
Further complicating the self-integrity agenda, the people in Cosgrove's life all had differing expectations of the "self" he was bringing to the table - and he hated letting anyone down. "I started feeling really selfish," he said. "Which wasn't at all the idea. True self, not selfish, was the concept. They sound similar, but totally different at their core."
Humbled by the stumbling blocks he encountered, Cosgrove says that, at least for now, he is taking a break from the monumental task of being himself, and intends to try cutting his teeth on a more readily-achievable personal improvement project: vulnerability.
"I'm hearing so much these days about the power of vulnerability," he said. "I'm a little nervous about trying it, because I've been hurt in the past by some people who weren't emotionally safe for me, but I'm ready to start letting go of the shame, even if it's scary." He grinned. "There, that was pretty good, right? I think I might have a knack for this."