rebelling against low expectations

Why I Stopped Being Myself (And Never Want to Go Back)


“Be true to your heart.”


“Do what makes you happy.”

“Just be yourself.”

We’ve all heard them. The self esteem pep talks about loving yourself, and being true to your feelings. It’s all over the media, and it is encouraged in society as a remedy to many of our dilemmas.

Sounds good, right?

May I humbly point out, my friends, that these anthems of self praise do not seem to be doing our generation much good.

Being ourselves, our real selves, will only break us down, and leave us empty.

I tried really hard to find out what being yourself meant. It didn’t get me anywhere. Trust me.

Here’s why: Myself is a sinner. Myself is a rebel. Myself is completely numb to the needs of others.

Myself is… fallen.

My heart is misleading. My feelings are unpredictable.

Depressing, huh? Well, it doesn’t have to be. We were created to be so much more than ourselves!

I’ve been learning a lot recently about our identities in Christ, as believers. It seems so very simple, but until recently, it never really sank in.

John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

1 John 3:1 echoes, “Behold what manner of love the father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!…”

We are children of the King, bought at a price almost too lofty to comprehend. We have been given the incredible chance to truly outdo ourselves through Jesus Christ!

I’m learning to embrace my identity in Jesus, instead of blindly searching for some ultimate “me”.

Myself in Him is forgiven. Myself in Him is reconciled. Myself in Him is free. My heart is now His. My feelings don’t have to guide me anymore.

I have been made completely new. That’s amazing.

I don’t mean that we should all be identical, though. God uses unique people for His divine purposes, and thankfully, we aren’t called to be clones for the Kingdom. Through our diversities, we can do things that are so much greater.

I think the key to self-worth issues is in unlocking the myth of being ourselves. When we are enraptured in the astounding grace of Christ, everything else really does grow dim.

I don’t understand all of this. I never will, until I’m called home to Heaven. But I do know this. I’m really, really thankful that I am a child of God, and I don’t want to go back to being just myself ever again.

How about you?

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Photo courtesy of HaoJan Chang and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Alathia Hayes

is a graciously forgiven college sophomore whose broken soul has been mended by the Author of life. She has a passion for helping children and other teens know how much they are loved. When she’s not studying, you will likely find her playing piano, sipping on a cup of coffee, perusing local used book shops, or participating in an epic round of Mario Kart with her brothers.


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  • I can’t say it any better that Paul:

    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” -Galations 2:20

    Thanks for writing! =)

  • Hey everybody. I just wanted to post a comment to let you know that an error was made with the authorial credit to this article. I did NOT write it. Alathia Haylie wrote it (and she did a great job). The author credit and bio will be changed shortly.

    Sorry for the mix up.

    • Umm yeah, that would be me πŸ™‚ No worries though! I’m sure it will be fixed soon! Thanks for clarifying, Jaquelle πŸ™‚

      • Lol!! In that case, that YOU for the article!

        Alathia??? I’ve never heard that before, that’s a cool name! =)

        • I know, i actually did lol over this situation. I find it rather funny! And i’m glad you liked the article.

          P.S. Alathia is a Greek word that means truth. I’ve never met another person with my name! πŸ˜›

          • And hey, it must’ve taken some humility not to just go “HEY I WROTE THIS NOT HER!! GOSHHHH BRETT, GET IT RIGHT!!” =P

            HEY I know what you look like now! B-)

          • Whoops!! So sorry for the mis-attribution, Haylie! As you may know, we are growing our editorial team (under Jaquelle’s new leadership) and we are still working out the new system. In this case, I made a mistake by not checking with Jaquelle before posting something. =P

          • Really, it’s not a big deal AT ALL! I’m just excited it got published πŸ™‚

          • Does anyone else see the irony (or the skillfully planned mastermind plot!) in the fact that an article entitled ‘Why I Stopped Being Myself (And Never Want to Go Back)’ was published under a different name than the author? =v) Heh heh; good thinking Alathia–no one saw it coming! (^; What better way to ditch the old self and than to relinquish it of all recognition!

          • Haha, well the editorial team e-mailed me about it pretty quick, and were very informative and helpful πŸ˜› Yup, now you know what i look like!

          • I met a really sweet little girl by the name Alethia… That’s pretty close haha I thought of her when I saw your name πŸ™‚

          • To be slightly off topic, there was a private school in my hometown called Alathia School. πŸ™‚

  • Nice article Alathia. I deal with this mindset you describe CONSTANTLY since I go to a public school in a very liberal and often anti-religious area, and it is so sad to see people finding their identities in things that can never fulfill them. I never really thought about how this specific attitude/idea was in some ways against God’s word, but it totally makes sense now. We are not good people alone. True goodness comes from God alone.

  • I am getting to the point where I simply cannot stand any more worldly, self-esteem, positive, happy, yadayadayada talks from the world. thank you for this post. it came at the exact right time.

  • Wonderful post Alathia! I try to keep this in mind because I think “Oh something positive!” Until you really break it down and think what it fully means! This is something I have been thinking on for a while.

  • I have actually never thought about this before, but now that I think about it you’re totally right! We aren’t called to be ourselves, but rather children of God. Great post!
    -Grace (

  • This is actually something that I’ve been needing to remind myself of lately. Even though I’m a bit older than the average revolutionary now (I’m 19, and God has blessed me with a husband and a baby on the way already!), I still find these articles useful to my daily life. I applied to be a small group leader for Junior Highers at my church recently and I put the reason why I want to do so is because during times where our identity seems so uncertain, holding onto the fact that we are children of God and we are found in Him and not “self esteem” is very important. In my early years of high school, I was in therapy and even though it was through a Christian counselor, it took me awhile to realize that there were still very worldly viewpoints I was encouraged to embrace, self esteem being one of them. Thanks Haylie for writing this and sharing a very important message to the world! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Marissa!

      I think it is vital that older rebelutionaries continue to engage and share with the community.

      These ideas are supposed to be carried with us and to carry us into adulthood (and the many hard things adulthood brings).

      Congratulations on your marriage and baby on the way!

    • @Marissa__Owens:disqus, I too am older than many on here, but like you, I too gain so much from many of the posts and they can always be applied to all ages. Glad to see someone who closer to my generation on here. πŸ˜‰

  • YEAH thank God for people like you guys! All of you who write this amazing and encouraging posts!
    Thanks, Haylie!!
    This Rebelution Blog is being a great blessing in my life πŸ˜€

        • Yes. This is Ramona (A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel if you want to know), and I have been to Argentina. My mom is actually from Argentina, so I can understand a fair bit of Spanish. I can’t speak as well though!

          • Ohhh love her name! And the little I can see of her, she’s beautiful!
            Awesome! What part did you come to? and where did your mom live? πŸ˜€

  • It’s a bit ironic that all the talk about “being yourself” is often an excuse for choosing anything other than the purpose for which God created us. Being yourself doesn’t mean much when that self is twisted into a different and perverted form.

    Thanks for a great article, Alathia. The “astounding grace of Christ” really is amazing.

  • Pretty name! I know a little 4-year-old who has the same name but spelled Aletheia. Means truth in Greek, right?

  • At my school, the seniors gave last advice to the student body. A couple of them gave the advice to just be yourself. But it didn’t sit right with me. I go to a christian school yet we r so easily influenced by such things. It’s crazy how society can influence us in phases that seem innocent and sound good but truly are supporting our sinful selves.

    • Mary, I wholeheartedly believe that was the Holy Spirit’s conviction with the ill feeling you got when the senior’s advice was to “be yourself.” Even though you go to a Christian school, you still need to be on your guard! Remember, Satan tempted Jesus with Scripture taken out of context. Stay alert and follow Christ with all your heart!!!

    • Yup, that’s very true. It can seem so overwhelming! But we just have to remember to stay alert, and run everything we see and hear through the grid of God’s Holy Word. Keep being a light for Jesus, Mary!

  • Off all the posts I have read on the Reb (and I certainly cannot claim to have read them all, I admit) this is my favorite πŸ™‚ I can’t count how many times I’ve bombarded my friends by sending them links to it xP

  • How funny……I recently started a book/blog on Wattpad called Life as a Christian Teen. This was my first topic.

  • What I have learned form this article is to not be shy, to show how you really are in the inside and also we should not waste the love and care that Jesus brought to us .

  • we shouldn’t waste our time trying to be cool or looking good because Jesus gave up his life for us to be wasting it on trying to be what we are not. We should just be ourselves because that’s how Jesus wants us.

  • I have learned so much about this article.It is really inspiring . I understood that is important to be grateful for what I have and never judge orders.

  • Over the past few years, I’ve found myself saying “Just be yourself” or “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” This article has really given me a “wake up call” to man’s inherent condition– which is that we are sinners. Satan tempts us to rebel against God and his word, do whatever pleases us and satisfies us, with a “benefit” that it “promotes our well-being” or “makes us happy”. The benefit is really poison to our soul, and our wanting to be “happy” will never be satisfied with earthly things, no matter how much we have. We will only be satisfied by trusting Jesus as our savior and keeping his commandments. Thanks for writing this article, Haylie! It’s such an inspiration and is what this youthful generation [myself included] really needs to hear. πŸ™‚

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsβ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More β†’