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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 154 > It’s your duty to be yourself

It’s your duty to be yourself

Ali Roff sees through the fog of societal pressure and realises that honouring our authentic selves and seeking meaning will take us where we need to go
PHOTOGRAPH: LAURA RICHARDSON

While on a train recently, I took notice of the adverts in the carriage: a tech firm explaining that I can now access my work emails anywhere; a print company showing a perfect image of a couple Eskimo kissing; and a bank telling me I can finally follow my dreams with their higher interest savings rate.

In the past, I wouldn’t have given these adverts a second thought but, nonetheless, their messages would have made their way into my psyche, designed to encourage me to buy the things that would help me create what my life ‘should’ look like. How did these subtle communications make me feel? Worried. The kind of worry that eats away at you, until you wake up in the middle of the night, panicked and thinking: ‘Is this it?’ Another ad read, ‘Chin up’ – consoling us that, despite our stressful commute and boring job, tonight we could forget our dreadful life during an episode of The Walking Dead. You have to laugh.

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About Psychologies

What happens when you don’t like what you see in the world? Our dossier gives you the low-down on what you can do to step up and make the world a better place - be it making small changes in your community to founding a charity that will make a massive impact on the world. We also invite you to lighten up and have some fun this month. Katy Regan signs up to a comedy improvisation workshop – with surprising results. Suzy Bashford channels her inner punk and delights in swearing more and caring less what other people think. Still in need of some laughs? Meet Emma Stroud, Psychologies ‘clown in residence’, who must be the first person to conduct a TED talk dressed as a banana. It’s going to be an interesting month!

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