'Being yourself'. What does that actually mean? This depends from which point of view you look at this. Approached simply, there are two questions in the idea of being yourself:
What do I want?
What do I want. To be yourself is to be who you want to be. Sometimes you forget what you want. You have experienced a lot in your life and you have learned a lot from that - also about what you want or think you want. The outside world may have influenced this. Unraveling what you really want is sometimes quite difficult. In addition, one thing you want may be connected to something else you want. For example:
I am safe
I am adventurous
Those two can go well together. But it may be that somewhere in your past you experienced and learned something that makes it seem like they can't both be anymore. Then one takes precedence over the other. This is how your 'wish list' develops. In order to really be yourself, you will want to take a good look at what is on your list and whether your belief in your ability to fulfill those desires has been affected. A useful starting point for this is what is now or is not. You don't have to 'think' it all up. You can just look at your life as it is now. Which experiences now and recently do you want and which not? What do you like? What felt good and what didn't feel right?
If you want to learn how to cook, you take a class or just get started. This is how you learn from your experiences. Why would that be any different for being yourself? That can also be learned, right? To be yourself is to have experiences that you want, such as the experience of cooking. Having an intimate relationship, an interesting job and a nice house - is that any different from learning to make it happen? Expressing your opinion freely, dealing with conflict, doing what you want to do - is that different from learning to drive, carpenting or write?
Maybe we've started to think of this differently because being 'yourself' seems less tangible. Learning to have an intimate relationship is a different skill than writing. Being yourself can seem emotional, dynamic, unpredictable and elusive. It may also have been unsafe to be yourself. Your environment may have expected something different from you and it was rejected, condemned and punished. You are not understood, seen or accepted. You could compare that to cooking something that you really like, but your guests don't. What conclusion do you draw from that?
If you like cooking, then why not enjoy cooking. If you like pink sneakers with stars, then wear them. If you prefer to be male or female, have green, yellow or purple hair, go on a world trip or bring 16 cats into your home - why wouldn't you?
The allowing is up to you. The ability is a matter of learning. The wanting is the desire in you.
Starting point. The intention of being yourself is to fulfill your wishes and desires - from the very small to the greater. Joy is like a clothesline - following joy leads to more joy as if you were reeling in the clothesline. During your day there are all kinds of choice moments. If you choose joy in every choice - choose what gives you joy - you will automatically end up with more joy - from socks and underpants to jeans and skirts. This way you can start very small and simply follow the clothesline in every choice that arises.
In those choices you can experience limitations or conflicts. If I choose that, then something else will come up. This can be about opinions of others who then become angry or sad, or about money, safety, responsibilities, status, not being able to, and so on. In short, it often becomes more exciting when others are involved. They can have opinions, get angry, disapprove and cast you out. Your expectations and beliefs pre-program your experiences. What you expect comes true. If not, it would be chaos. Then you have no influence whatsoever on the outcomes in your life. You may not be fully aware of your expectations, which can make it seem chaotic. It's not like that. You are constantly making choices and those choices determine the outcome. You make those choices consciously or unconsciously, based on your expectations and beliefs. You often reinforce your expectations and beliefs yourself with what is 'realistic'. If you decide to be a cow today, you will likely not be a cow tomorrow. You don't believe that's realistic. If you want the weather to be nice tomorrow, that doesn't mean it will be nice weather. That doesn't mean it couldn't be so. Based on your experience, being a cow is just beyond your capabilities right now. But the question is whether that is relevant. If somewhere deep down you really wanted to be a cow, you might have given yourself that opportunity and you might have incarnated as a cow. Who knows. The more relevant question is what you really want. And there is a very realistic chance that you have the ability to do what you want. Likewise, whether or not you have good weather is perhaps not nearly as important. It certainly doesn't have to hinder you from being yourself. Maybe it's just about being exactly what you are able to be - that's exactly what you want too. That doesn't mean that you already are that version of you, but that you have everything in you to be it. Then it may still be necessary to align your expectations and beliefs with your desires and thus to align your abilities with your desires and not the other way around. Next is learning to become that, including the skills, the trial and error, overcoming your fears, conflicts and resistances.
The many hypnosis cases show that there is no such thing as a precise manual for you. That's because you have free will. Imagine if that manual were there. That would mean that it is already known who you will be. That would also mean that it is all thought up without being experienced, because after all you have not experienced it yet. But your unique interpretation through your experience is precisely what matters. That is unpredictable and only you can do it. Compared to cooking: no pizza is the same, even though they are all pizzas. And that's how you are unique. You may have a 'blue print' or global idea of who you want to be - but the precise realization is a process in which you use your unique qualities. This addresses the idea of a life destiny that you were born with. The confusion that can arise in this that it then seems that you do not have free will after all. That it is already fixed at your birth. So it depends from which point of view you look at it. You could see it like this:
You are a timeless being, your self or 'soul'.
Once you decide to live a human life.
As a soul you have free will, so the choice is entirely yours.
You choose what you want to experience in this new life.
Then you are born and you do your best to live that life as you envisioned it before you were born.
Again, this is not so different from cooking:
You decide to cook something.
You will find a recipe for a pizza.
You buy all the ingredients for the pizza.
You make the pizza as best you can based on the recipe and ingredients.
Maybe the pizza will come out very different than you thought, but it won't be a cow.
Now if you had decided to have a certain experience in this life, you chose the ideal body, personality and environment to experience it. If the 'ingredients' turn out to be a bit different or your cooking skills leave something to be desired, you may take different paths than described in your original recipe. This recipe is the limitation you have given yourself from the free choice you made then and from which you can still deviate while cooking. But again, a cow it probably won't become. So you can also see your life as a cooking class. First you decide to learn how to make pizza, because you want to know how your unique pizza tastes. You dedicate your life to making pizza. Sometimes you decide to make soup or fish. But that never really tastes as good as even a half-baked pizza. You still gravitate towards pizza. Sometimes you completely forget that making pizza was your intention. Then you come back for another lesson on how to make pizza. So that can be a next life. In the end you won't get any further in your cooking art as long as you don't master pizza making enough.
In that sense, your higher self remains in charge. That part of you is mostly unconscious. Your worldly persona sniffs pizza every now and then to remind you that you really want it. If you don't follow that signal, the pizzas will start falling from the sky at some point. This can be in the form of illness, conflict, disorders, sadness, anger, depression, and so on. These are all messages from your higher self to remind you to work, experience and learn the original recipe.