Your best friends, various rappers, and sometimes your mother will encourage you throughout your life, using whatever language, to “do you.” But what does that mean? How does one “do them?” I turned to the highly credible Urban Dictionary for help.
My favorite definition of “doing you” came from one user, PheeelandFerndeeezy, who wrote,
Doing you is when you lose all regard for other people’s opinions and are finally at peace with yourself. No one can ever hate on someone else for doing them; unless while in the act of doing them one impedes on others. You can’t do you if it is going to have negative effects on others or the community. As long as doing you is chill, then ain’t no one going to stop you. One cannot hate on someone for doing them, they can have opinions, but after it is all said and done, respect must be given for anyone doing them.
But the top rated response, from one DarkNova, simply stated, “Do what you feel is best for you, in short, do you,” and was accompanied by an equally quaint example that said, “Forget ya triflin’ friends, you need to do you!”
With these definitions in my arsenal, I will rely on four clichés—because clichés are truth—stepping stones for doing you.
Step 1: Dance like no one is watching. The first step in doing you is to stop caring what other people think. However, remain cognizant of PheeelandFerndeeezy’s advice; you’re not doing you correctly if you hurt or impede on others. So, for this step, I do not mean you can start cutting people in line at Top Dog or telling your best friend that that her hips look too wide in that new skirt because—hey—you don’t care about other people’s opinions! No. What I mean is that if you dance through life as if in front of an audience of critics, you’ll never fully express yourself, and even worse: you might end up copying someone else’s moves. Remember that not everything that people say to you or about you is factual and that only you know what is best for you.
Step 2: Follow your heart. This goes along with step #1. You can’t follow your heart if you’re letting other people’s expectations or rules hold you back. In order to complete this step, you must put yourself first; you must hone your individuality and independence. Following your heart will allow you to achieve your biggest goals, if and only if you are courageous enough to listen and respond to the dreams that beckon you.
Step 3: Rome was not built in a day. The only thing worse than living according to someone else’s expectations is placing unrealistic ones on yourself. Doing you is like learning a new language—the language of free self-expression and total empowerment—it takes time. So, give yourself some! Spend it getting to know yourself and what you want out of life.
Step 4: Your body is a temple. To some people, this strictly means eating healthy and exercising often. For others it might mean splurging on Chipotle after a particularly difficult test or getting a new tattoo that makes you, for once, actually comfortable in your own skin. Whatever your method, remember that your body is good and important because it houses the only (insert your name here) on this crazy planet. As such, learn to treat it with respect and admiration. You can’t do you if there’s no vessel in which you can grow.
Remember, as long as you’re alive, the world is giving you opportunities to grow! There is no better time than right now to begin.