Many of us have heard at one time or another, someone say “Be Yourself”. But how honest was the person being in saying this? In reality, far too often what was really meant was, “Be what I want you to be because being yourself doesn’t meet my expectations.” From early childhood throughout adulthood, subtle or not so subtle messages, are received unquestioning and eventually influence how people view themselves.
Far too many people are programmed to believe untruths about themselves regardless of how adversely they affect their lives. For them, distortions of reality becomes reality. Untruths overshadow basic truths about the goodness and competence. These distorted beliefs affect choices made that push them further from the people they truly are. It matters little whether they are satisfied with the choices they made, the behavior they exhibit, the thoughts they have. They thoughtlessly repeat patterns that don’t bring ultimate happiness and enjoyment. That is because they are not truly being themselves but merely characters programed by someone else.
Now, how do those of us change this and finally become authentic regardless of the pressure to be otherwise?
The first step is to at least intellectually accept the fact that the “true you” got lost over the years and the life you have been living has not been molded by you but by others.
Next begin to become aware of what is going on around you in the here and now, This means being aware of your feelings, thoughts and behavior. Far too often, instead of focusing on living in the moment, time is spent on ruminating about the past and worrying about the future. By being present, you will begin to become more self aware and be less influenced by former outmoded ways of thinking and behaving.
Take time out in your busy day by scheduling silence, without television or other outside chatter. This may be a bit scary for some people, fearing negative thoughts will enter their minds and overwhelm them. However, think of the thoughts like clouds that come and go across the sky. Their movement in your consciousness is temporary and can be gently be observed unjudgementally. The sky in this metaphor which symbolizes your true essence.
Be aware that much of what you heard in the past and hear in the present about how you should think, and behave may not be true. Much of those messages may be fantasies foisted upon you in order to influence who you are. Be careful not to take these influences as truths but internally challenge their validity.
Be still and take a serious, honest and unencumbered look at your strengths and weaknesses. Do you minimize your strengths? Are your weaknesses real or skewed messages conveyed to you in various ways over the years? Do identified fears keep you from achieving heathy goals on a daily basis? Know that these fears and perceived weaknesses are not truly who you are but rather masks that keep you from embracing your true self.
In order to be more authentic, take the risk of being more vulnerable getting in touch with your feelings and appropriately expressing them. Please note that there are times when expressing your feelings at certain times and to certain people may not be appropriate. Make conscious choices when expressing your vulnerability instead of expressing impulsively
Remember, embracing and owning your true self, warts and all. Being authentically you means accepting that you have compassion, integrity and goodness as well as fears, awkwardness and uncertainties. Without a nonjudgmental acceptance of all parts of you, you end up stuck in the merry go round of other’s definition of who you should be.
As always, readers are encouraged to share comments, suggestions and information that may be helpful in writing future blogs to firstname.lastname@example.org