Do you. Be yourself. Be true to who you are.
You hear it all the time. And it's great advice. But, to be honest, it can be misguided.
How can you be you when you may not know who you really are?
And the way to find out who you really are is to first look at how we define ourselves. There are a multitude of ways - we can look at our life roles, our choices, our relationships, our past.
Or we can look deeper than all that? (It's always deeper, don't ya know?) Are we more than what we show the outside world?
Here's my take:
I believe that within each of us is this essence, the inner self, our soul. I believe that is who you are. But most, if not all of us, get caught up in the conditions we put around our "selves" to find the definition of who we are. We define ourselves by the roles we play, the choices we make and the people we surround ourselves with.
Some call this outside behavior the ego or the shadow. We need it to survive and it allows us to be human beings (and not just animals being able to survive!). But when we believe these identities are who we are, we miss the deeper part of ourselves. But they shield us from connecting to others, cloud our awareness, distort our feelings about ourselves and block us from love and life. We start to believe things that are not true to our essence.
I could call myself a female, introverted vegetarian therapist who's also a sister, daughter and aunt. I could identify myself as the choices I make in friends and exercise, calling myself a yogi or seeker. But I am also an emotional eater who does not always choose the best options for myself. I swear a bit too much with my clients, drive a little too fast and do not always act according to who I am as a person. But that doesn't mean that is all of me.
When clients come to me and tell me: "Well I got really pissed at her. I flipped out." I often respond with "Well, that doesn't sound like you." And they often say back "Right, it's not me." Because they know that deep down they are not those behaviors. Their essence is not angry. Maybe they become angry on the outside but that's not who they are on the inside.
Because the true essence of us is deep within. It's the part that's loving, caring, forgiving and kind. It's the non-judgmental part of you that gives to the homeless person not knowing where the money is going but gives anyway. It's the empathetic part of you that cares for children half-way around the world and cries at those commercials. It's the explorer in you, the part of you that brought you to this post. It's the part of you that keeps going through life, searching for your path and your truth.
But you can only find it through stillness and self-awareness (...and therapy!). (Your intuition, that's who you are. Check out my post about it HERE) And don't be surprised that you may not have a concrete definition of who you are by looking within.
So the next time you say: "I'm being true to myself. I'm just being myself," ask yourself - where is this coming from? my outer self or my soul?
How does it feel to heal your inner wounds? What does it mean to be fully alive?