Who Are You?
Seems like a pretty innocent question, right?! I mean, it’s not like this is the only time you’ve had to pull out your identity box and give the obligatory answers.
I think most of us fall prey to the idea that we are our identity boxes. We say things like “I am a pilot, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a vegan,” etc. to try and answer the complicated question… Who Are You?
But have you ever stopped to think, who are you besides your job titles or your relationship title? If you couldn’t use an identity title or occupation title, how would you describe YOU?
Your answer may seem just a bit more elusive at this point. It is a rarity in a society that we allow ourselves to operate 100% authentically, without being swayed or influenced by our past, or the people around us.
What perhaps is equally important, is the purity of yourself, without falling prey to the drama of your emotions.
I mean, we’ve all been there, right? We feel a strong sense of anger or fury or depression or excitement or whatever, and we automatically assume that since we think something or feel something, that must be a reflection of ME.
But what if it isn’t?
What if you are NOT your emotions? Your feelings? Your thoughts? Your identities boxes? Your past?
If you aren’t all of these things, who then, are YOU?
What Does It Mean, To Be Authentic To Yourself?
Imagonna define authenticity first before I start going down this rabbit hole because let’s be honest…authenticity is a cool concept and all, but the scope of applying that to oneself is hard as shit. Sure, we’d love to all think we are faithful to yourself. Yeah, it’d be easy to assume we were “born this way.” And although the word “authentic” was a buzz word of 2018, I challenge you to define it, as it applies to who you honestly are.
The definition below, is my own, as it applies to the concept of defining oneself.
Authentic: a genuine expression of spirit or soul, without reservation, and free of shame or fear. Purity, humility, a complete sense of self. 100% love.
If I’m honest with myself, I would say that very rarely, if ever, am I an authentic version of myself. Oh hell, even a better version of myself. It’s incredibly easy I’ll admit, to succumb to our egos or our past pain to justify being emotional or reacting to situations in certain ways.
We tell ourselves stories in our brains, that help justify feeling like the victim in our own life. And one of the crappy consequences of playing the victim card is, we feel empowered by this because it gives us a sense of power – even if that power is causing us pain.
When we fall into our roles or the stories that we tell ourselves, we achieve a sense of certainty which allows us to feel comfortable and complacent in our lives.
But here’s the thing – no one has ever achieved growth, nor discovered who they genuinely were – by being comfortable in life. I’ve found that I usually have to fall flat on my face, probably in the mud, probably looking crazy, probably more than once, before I finally am stretched to the point of achieving true soulful growth.
It ain’t always pretty, but man, the hardships and failures have always brought me closer to my most genuine sense of self.
The challenge here is to be able to see past your failures or painful past and to see, the genuine and humble soul within you. To me, this starts with learning how to love yourself, imperfections and all.
Loving Yourself No Matter What
True self-love, I believe, is one of the hardest challenges we will ever face in our lives. Why? Because our brains have spent a lifetime listening to the influence of others. Which then, it uses to determine how we should, in turn, view ourselves.
Think about an earlier blog, where we identified the shame in our lives, that has always held us back from achieving what we truly desire in our lives. If our shame can keep us back from attaining, think then, how shame has held you back from loving or appreciating yourself. My goal here is to help you enjoy yourself, even with your bacne and your freckles and your muffin top and your voice that can’t keep a key. Learn to love all of you, and you will learn to the secret to true happiness.
Learning to love yourself without judgment, is the surest way for you to open up and release your true nature and to share your gift of purpose with the world.
To love oneself is to live with your true purpose and that, my friend, is why you are here in the first place!
So how do we go about practicing self-love? It’s freakin hard, right? When encumbered by so much garbage from our past, how do we achieve a breakthrough?
First up, you must be willing to let go of the influence that other people in your life, have had on your development.
Emerging From The Influence of Your Past
You are not a summation of your past experiences or pains.
Too often, we are in the habit of wearing our past pain around like a cloak, as if it could protect us from being vulnerable again. And I don’t say this to point blame at our past selves.
Our brains focus on these past hurts because our mind focuses on protecting ourselves. It operates on a survival instinct from our caveman days. So while you may think that we have evolved past the Sabertooth tiger days, in truth, we are still living with a brain that has barely developed out of the fight-or-flight survival status.
Thus in the past, when someone has hurt our feelings, or we’ve experienced trauma, our brains created a “story” that helped program us to remember this pain, and thus, avoid it in the future.
Which sounds cool, right?
The problem with this, however, we create these stories when we are small children, and we do not yet have the consciousness to decide for ourselves, whether that story serves to help or hinder us. Newsflash: it usually blocks.
Thus our adult brains are operating on these stories that we have told ourselves, based on the perception of our three-year-old self. And without realizing it, we accept these stories as truth, because they help us navigate a world of other people, with certainty. And with certainty, comes comfort. Most humans, myself included, will choose comfort and assurance, over the unknown and the scary.
This need for assurance and control is why we don’t ever challenge those stories that our brains create for us. These stories help us make sense of the world. And if everything makes sense, why would we ever think to challenge it?
I would ask you now, what stories about yourself, has your brain created for you? What has influenced the way you view yourself?
I’ll go first. My greatest struggle (my shame, my fear, etc.) in life is the story that I tell myself: I am not lovable.
You can see, if you share a similar story, why then do the regular ole self-love practices that so many gurus teach, might not work for me. Because I can sit there and stare at myself in the mirror and repeat mantras like “you’re awesome” all day long. But until I replace the story that tells me “I am unlovable” with something more concrete, I will never honestly believe it.
Follow me here?
Learning to love myself, free from the stories or the influence of other people, has been a daily dedication of being unapologetic for who I am at my core.
Today’s action steps are really about honing in on the positive attributes that you love and challenging you to bring them into your daily life.
You will learn to recognize throughout your day, times when you allow yourself to truly shine and in contrast, experiences where you unconsciously shy away from being your authentic self. This realization will help direct you to start utilizing more of the truth of who YOU are, without the shames of the fears or the influence of others.
Learning To Love Yourself
- Stop apologizing to everyone else, for what you think & feel. Stay strong and stand up for who you are at your core
- Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Stay in your lane. Your life is your own.
- Create a daily reminder (trigger) for yourself, to say your self-love affirmations. For example, every time I walk through a door, this triggers me to stop and give gratitude for something that I love about myself at that moment.
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