Funny question. How important is it to be you?
Being you is a frightening concept to many people. They may define themselves by their professional situation, their academic prestige, their social position or family background, their finances and material well-being, their political party or religious convictions, they may define themselves by the people they know, the places they frequent, they may even define themselves by their looks and their physical attributes.
While all of the above is in fact, part of who we are, it does not necessarily define us. If a man is given professional recognition as a lawyer and is part of a conservative party due to his family's leaning over generations, and it is expected that he follow that political line, we might say that he is living an authentic life if we don't scratch beneath the surface. What if this man is gay? How much of his mode of living can be true to himself if he needs to hide or is afraid to show that most important aspect of his being? Or what if he is a closet liberal, politically speaking? What if he is a lawyer because it was expected, or because it would give him a good income, but at heart he wanted to write or paint? Or be a travel journalist?
You clearly see what I am driving at. Not being you implies potential tragedy. Not being you implies a life half lived. Not being you may erode your health...physiological, psychological or spiritual.
There is another important facet to not being you. Many of us simply don't know who we are. Not necessarily our fault, you know. Schools teach us so much: reading, writing, mathematics, history, geography, etc., but when are we ever taught about ourselves, and how important it is to get to know ourselves...this person with whom we will live all our lives? When are we shown the importance of taking the journey within?
This is a topic I would like to explore at greater length - perhaps in one of my newsletter articles, because we tend to gloss over it - not because we are necessarily shallow materialists, but because it is not emphasized to the degree that it could be done, if we as a society placed as much importance on the inner quest as on the outer search for excellence.