Many of us are afraid to be our true selves. Why is that? Why are we afraid to embrace our unique personality and shine our inner light to the world?
As small children, we exuded unabashedly our true selves. We weren’t afraid to communicate how we felt, what we needed or what we wanted. We lived in the moment and relished life. We lived life with gusto - the way it is meant to be lived.
At some point, loving parents and teachers taught us that we shouldn’t be different and that we had to suppress certain aspects of our personality. “It’s dangerous to stand out. Better to play it safe, fit in and conform” is the message we were given.
In our society, we are taught that being different, in other words being our authentic selves, means we risk being criticized. And, we are taught that being criticized equals failure. And failure is seen as something that must be avoided at all costs rather than a tool that is necessary to shape our character and help us grow.
Many of us are obedient, and we listen to the message. We don’t even question it. We don't let our star-like nature shine through. We don't love ourselves. In fact, we shrink from our true selves, embarrassed and ashamed of who we really are. We build walls around ourselves so that others don't get to know us. We pretend we have it all together.
The problem is that at some point in our life, our soul, our true self fights to emerge. It lets us know the life we’re living is not coinciding with who we are or with our highest good. It lets us know that our relationships need work. It lets us know our job which makes good money, is slowly killing our soul because it’s not in line with our interests or passions. It lets us know we have neglected our health and have not treated our body with the respect it deserves.
Our soul tries in different ways to get our attention. We may develop an illness. It could be a serious one or a minor sickness. Or, maybe we have problems sleeping at night. Or, perhaps we develop an addiction to work, alcohol, drugs, exercise, shopping, playing video games, etc. to numb and distract us from the pain. We may feel restless and dissatisfied even though we have a loving partner and great kids and a good job. Part of us cries out with U2, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for..."
Today, take a deeper look at who you are. Who is the real you? Who is the person you’re afraid of showing to the world? What kind of life do you want to live and how close are you to living it?
Love yourself enough to be who you were created to be without shame or embarrassment. You are meant to be different from others. Just as no two snowflakes are the same, no two people are the same. Your life has a purpose and you have incredible value. Refuse to let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Remember this: we all have flaws, we all make mistakes and we are all beautiful in our own way. Honour that beauty today.
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."
- Joseph Campbell
- Joseph Campbell