no body but yourself

All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself. ~Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal”

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. ~Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem. ~David Carradine

A man who is “of sound mind” is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key. ~Paul Valéry, Mauvaises pensées et autres, 1942

I am told to just be myself, but as much as I have practiced the impression, I am still no good at it. ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com

The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike, and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. ~Boris Pasternak

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~e.e. cummings

Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep. ~Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, 1750

Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another. ~Homer

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone. ~Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

“Be yourself” is about the worst advice you can give some people. ~Tom Masson

I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part. ~Shirley MacLaine

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself. ~Harvey Fierstein

Learn to… be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not. ~Henri Frederic Amiel

I am much better employed from every point of view, when I live solely for my own satisfaction, than when I begin to worry about the world. The world frightens me, and a frightened man is no good for anything. ~George Gissing

No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character. ~John Morley

There is just one life for each of us: our own. ~Euripides

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth. ~Benjamin Disraeli

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise. ~Johann von Goethe

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~Confucius

Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you? ~Fanny Brice