To thine own self be true.
Yes, you’ve heard it before, I know you have.
No, it doesn’t appear in the Bible, contrary to popular belief!
It comes from William Shakespeare’s popular tragedy Hamlet.
During a monologue by Polonius, he uttered these words to his son Laertes:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!
In the Elizabethan language, the words self and true had different meanings than they do today.
Some Shakespearean scholars say that Polonius was advising Laertes to act in his own best interest, to benefit himself first.
Today, “to thine own self be true” is used to advise yourself to be authentic and honest with yourself, and to do the right thing.
Think about these questions:
• What does “being yourself” really mean?
• How well do you know yourself? Do you really know the real you?
• Are you the person you want to be or the person others want you to be?
• Are you easily influenced by other people? Do you live your life as others wish or are others influencing you?
• Are you the real you all of the time? Truthfully, do you ever act a certain way that’s not really you? Do you put on an act in front of certain people?
• Can you truly be yourself? And again, what does “being yourself” really mean?
I’d like to hear what your thoughts are.