One of the many things we humans all have in common is that, deep down, what we all want most is the freedom to just be ourselves.
We want to be as strong as we can be, to reach our own full potential, and to shine as brightly as we can possibly shine. We also want (actually, need) to be accepted for our vulnerability, to have the liberty of acknowledging our own insecurities, and to feel safe admitting that we’re not exactly perfect.
Unfortunately, we started learning at an early age that not everyone was going to accept us when we were just being ourselves. In fact, some people were going to reject us, or make fun of us, or hurt us when we were just being ourselves. Maybe, our “self” was not enough. Or, maybe, our “self” was too much. It really didn’t matter because the rejection, the embarassment, and the pain all felt the same.
So, little by little, we started trying to figure out how we might fit in with others a little better: how we might avoid all the unpleasant experiences that seemed to arise when we were being ourselves.
Even for those of us who have never been very good at hiding our feelings or just saying what others wanted to hear, there was still a part of us that wanted to fit in. It’s an unavoidable characteristic of the human condition.
We all want to feel like we belong. So, we have a tendency to want to “fit in.”
If we want to fit in, however, we have to start consciously or unconsciously splitting off unacceptable parts of our Self, hiding personality traits that are too different to meet approval, and suffocating our soul with a blanket of limited self-expression. All these coping strategies make us feel more separate and isolated inside. But, hey, at least we “fit in.” Right?
It’s almost like a slap in the face of Divine Creativity, that we each have a tendency to want to hide all the things that make us so very unique. Undoubtedly, it’s the ego that makes us do it.
The ego is very protective, and it works hard to protect us from things like rejection, embarassment, or pain. The ego is dedicated to doing its job well and does not always see the harm it does to the Self in an effort to protect wounded or frightened parts of us.
Thankfully, the soul is a powerful force of its own. And none of us can tolerate the fragmentation, constant doubt, and fundamental insecurity that accompanies the futile task of trying to fit in. We either get tired of trying or our degree of fragmentation reaches a breaking point. One way or another, the soul’s call for a return to Self always wins out.
Take it from someone who has never been very good at fitting in, or even at trying, you’re better off just being yourself and trusting that it’s all you ever really need to be.
People might not like your authenticity. They might not understand your transparency. But they will respect it. They’ll respect it because it will show them what is possible for them: freedom.
It might be a little (or a lot) uncomfortable for you to just be yourself (to be transparent); but I can assure you that it will serve you well in the long run.
The people who are able and willing to love you (just the way you are) will show up in your life. They will naturally change you, not because they want to but because they truly love you (just the way you are). The sense of safety and assurance you’ll receive in those relationships will allow you to expand, to stand up and stretch your Self into its next level of potential. And that is an amazing feeling. Much more amazing than simply “fitting in.”
You will finally be free to express yourself, authentically and fully. Isn’t that what you always wanted, anyway?
It takes a lot of guts to just be yourself, whatever that might mean. Sometimes, being yourself means revealing what still needs to heal in you or the ways you still need to grow. By committing to transparency, you’ll actually make healing and growth much more bearable. You will soon realize that it’s much easier to change what you are not trying to hide.
If you want to become more transparent (to start just being yourself), here’s where to start.
*Decide that you are going to love yourself completely and do what is necessary to make that happen. Find a transformation coach or other guide who can help you develop self-love practices and show you how to change self-destructive thought patterns. With dedication and effort, you can stop the negative self-talk that wears down your sense of Self and makes you vulnerable to outside influences.
*Learn how to stop judging other people. It will make it easier for you to be yourself. When you are judging someone else, you are really judging yourself. There’s no way to judge another person without condemning some part of yourself. Note, however, that deciding what kind of person you will or will not be does not require judgments; it only requires decisions. There is a difference.
*Be honest with other people about your feelings, even when it might lead to a disagreement or even rejection. If you refuse to be honest when someone else’s behavior hurts you or upsets you, you’re engaging in a cover up. That does not serve you, or them, well.
*Be honest with yourself about your feelings and be willing to engage in the art of self-examination frequently. If you aren’t willing to take a good look at yourself, including your unpleasant feelings, there’s something hidden inside you that needs your attention. What is hidden likes to stay hidden, which blocks authenticity and transparency.
*Make soulful communion a part of your everyday life. Feed your soul with what nourishes your soul. A nourished soul is an empowered soul.
© T. Sloan Rawlins
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