It’s an unbearable agony, being you. You try to fit in but you want to break free. The solution? You do you, babes.
In an age in which Brexit means Brexit, haters gonna hate and nothing else makes much sense, these are the words we need to live by. Embrace your inner narcissist.
This, at least, is the message from “You Do You: How to be who you are and use what you’ve got to get what you want”, the latest self-help craic from anti-guru Sarah Knight. “There is nothing wrong with you,” she says, in the follow-up to her other hits The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a F*** and Get Your Sh*t Together.
Here is how to be your best self:
Rise above the lowest common denominator
LCD living, Knight says, is the condition of stifling your most unusual, rebellious or least popular quirks for the sake of “just getting by”. “I can personally guarantee that it’s fun (and productive) to speak your mind in a meeting without caring whether people think you’re being difficult,” says Knight.
Channel Diane Morgan’s character Liz in BBC hit Motherland. She has realised that it is far more fun to not care what people think about you and just cause mischief, jamming together Colin the Caterpillar cakes into a “human centipede” and putting her friend up for sale at the PTA auction.
Selfishness is a perfectly healthy quality. For starters, it is a filter: stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and put yourself first. The brain is like an internet browser: open too many tabs simultaneously and the whole thing freezes.
“You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself,” says Knight. Self-interest doesn’t turn you into a monster: you can still whip up a sandwich when someone says they’re hungry, or offer your friend a lift. But treating yourself to a lie-in when you could, theoretically, be making someone else breakfast never hurt anyone.
Be SPF happy
We have a mental block about selfishness, and we’re conditioned to be so. Knight wants you to think about your own happiness as like sun cream.
“Do you wear a seat-belt in the car? Sunscreen at the beach? Do you go to sleep when you’re tired and drink water when you’re thirsty?” asks Knight. “The same goes for protecting your happiness.” No one else will do it for you.
You don’t have to be perfect, even though your Instagram feed might convince you otherwise. Lower the bar. Look around you (“the world is full of dumb asses”).
Don’t be afraid to be the first to get something wrong (the sooner you know the worst that can happen, the sooner you can stop worrying about it, like the fear of getting the new carpet dirty). “Talk to literally any old person,” concludes Knight. They “have been through it all” and know there is no point in being perfect.
Ignore the doubters, prove the haters wrong and clap back. Don’t be afraid to: change your look, audition for something, make a big purchase or wear your heart on your sleeve. This is all part of Project You. Start a “side hustle” — whether it’s a web design or an Etsy store. You could even write a self-help book...
You Do You by Sarah Knight is published tomorrow (Quercus, £12.99)