To Thine Own Self Be True

“To Thine Own Self Be True” wrote William Shakespeare in Hamlet.

As a young girl, my grandmother often offered me this piece of advice whenever I presented her with a personal dilemma. In fact, I had heard this so often, and was so sure that I understood what this pearl of wisdom truly meant, that I used this line as the opening statement in the essay for my college application and then went on to naively write about what Shakespeare meant when he wrote this line. You see, at sixteen, I somehow concluded that I had accumulated enough wisdom to not only know myself, but to be honest and truthful as to what my self needed to survive and thrive.

Well, I was wrong. It has officially taken me an additional forty years to figure out what being true to thine own self really means. Some of us are lucky and figure it our much sooner, but for others, we need to go through the trials and tribulations and the ups and downs of life to really crystalize who we are and what we need to do in order to capitalize on being our best selves.

So forty years later, what does being true to yourself mean? For me it means being free to live your best life. It means trusting your capacity to make decisions that are right for you. It means finally having the wisdom to allow life to play itself out a little bit, knowing that patience is a virtue you have finally developed. It means knowing what brings you joy and certainly what does not, thereby allowing you to avoid those circumstances you do not wish to partake in any longer…in other words, YOU know what makes YOU tick and you like yourself more for that. Dare I say that you may even LOVE yourself more, because if you have done this thing called “Life” long enough, I think that is what is supposed to happen. You are meant to fall in love with your SELF.

So, now when I think back to my grandmother saying to me, “ To thine own self be true,” her words have a richness and depth I could never have imagined as a young girl . I now realize that when you are true to yourself, you give yourself permission to love who you are, as well as the journey it took to get you here. No excuses. No regrets. Just love.