Can you imagine spending a day being completely true to yourself? A day in which you were utterly comfortable in your own skin, and in which the only decisions you made were those that you knew would serve you in the best and highest way possible? How about spending a week like this? How about the rest of your life? Sound like fantasy?
I believe we ALL have the capacity to live our lives as the truest version of ourselves, regardless of our life circumstances. The problem that a lot of us face (myself included) is that we often don’t know how to summon the courage to become our true selves.
Most of us spend a good portion of our lives, maybe due to childhood family conditioning, living according to the various labels assigned to us. We are a certain sex, a certain religion, of a certain race, of a certain class. We grow up believing all of these ‘facts’ about ourselves and do our very best to adhere to them, lest we upset our families, or whomever else we are afraid of offending.
Personally, I was so afraid of what would happen if I allowed my true self to show an appearance – let alone shine – that I hid for years. It may not have been obvious to all of those around me that I was hiding, but I was hiding.
It is only now, after almost four years of soul-searching that I’ve come to realise I spent the first four decades of my life afraid - afraid of upsetting the apple cart, afraid of disappointing those around me, afraid to truly live life.
Today, I still have my ‘afraid’ days. But that small, scared girl inside of me is gaining momentum. She is slowly yet surely finding the courage to become the woman she was always meant to be. A woman who makes mistakes and falls over sometimes (sometimes a lot), but who has learnt that it is not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ to be who she wants to be – to be her TRUE self.
Here are 2 simple ways YOU can start finding the courage to become your TRUE self:
Learn to take back your power:
We ALL have power. All of us. We can all choose who we let in to our lives, how we react to situations, and who we no longer wish to interact with.
Somewhere along the way, most of us have forgotten how to access that power. Again, maybe due to childhood conditioning, we feel that we must react to certain people in certain ways, or that we must put up with bad behaviour from others because ‘that’s just the way they are’. Even if said people are causing us untold misery and harm.
I have finally learnt that I have the power to CHOOSE who I have in my life. I have finally learnt that people will only treat us as we allow them to.
Don’t spend precious energy justifying yourself, or your decisions, to ANYONE. Obviously, be mindful that your actions aren’t impacting negatively on another person or persons. But do not feel guilt, or shame, for a thing or things that have nothing to do with you. Erect boundaries and learn to stick to them – do your best not to allow anyone negative space in your head.
If you’ve made an error somewhere along the way, apologise for it. Do your best to make amends and to learn from the mistake. THEN WALK AWAY FROM IT. Don’t allow it be a continual chain around your neck.
Don’t get caught up in mindless arguments with a toxic person. Understand always that you can NEVER win an argument with such a person. And nor should you want to! Direct your precious energy elsewhere. When such an argument occurs, do not allow yourself to be dragged into it. Detach yourself emotionally, then WALK AWAY. It is truly NOT worth your energy. It is not worth your sanity.
Learn to listen to and TRUST your intuition. We can get so caught up in trying to live up to everybody else’s expectations of us that we lose sight of the fact that we usually DO know what’s best for us!
CHECK IN with yourself regularly. Assess how YOU are feeling:
For a long time, I was a virtual slave to my feelings and emotions. If I felt low, bad or anxious I assumed that this was the way it had to be. I very rarely looked any deeper into the feeling - instead I would merely hope, pray and wait for it to pass.
It did pass, as all things pass, but until it did I was forced to put up with the fear and the dread which in turn affected everything around me – my perspective, my people, my work.
Now, when an unpleasant feeling comes upon me, I literally stop and ‘check in’ with myself. I very consciously ask myself why I am feeling as I do. It sometimes takes seconds, it sometimes takes minutes, but an answer always comes to me. And with the answer comes a sense of relief.
If I can do something about the thing that is making me anxious, I do. If I can’t, at least I know that in all likelihood I won’t still be feeling it a week from now.
This little exercise may sound simple, but it has made a significant improvement to my quality of life. It has given me back a sense of power - the assurance that I don’t need to be a mere victim of my circumstances AND the knowledge that our feelings act as our teachers – when something isn’t right, our feelings will always alert us to it.
At the end of the day, and indeed at the end of your life, you will want to feel as though you have lived your very best life. A life that is true to YOU. A life in which you have no regrets – a life in which you may have made mistakes and fallen flat on your face once or twice or hundreds of times (as I have), but a life that was truly and authentically YOU.
Don’t leave it too late. Start finding the courage to live this life today.
What does the term 'True Self' mean to you? Please, share your thoughts in the comments!
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