“Just be yourself” isn’t that what they always say? To be completely honest this sometimes seems like the most corrupt piece of advice we could ever be given, or for that matter, project upon a person.
But is it?
Most of us have no idea who we really are. And yet if we somehow succeed in weaving this somewhat simple skillset into that of who we truly are below the surface, it’s almost guaranteed that everything will evolve for the better.
There is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that has been simmering with me over the past few weeks. He said, “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you be someone else is the greatest accomplishment.”
But how does one do that?
Who ought I be? Should I be the chivalrous gentleman my mother raised me to be? How about the smart student that all of my teachers knew I could be? Or should I be the funny, caring, compassionate father that my friends and family have always seen in me? What about the romantic poet that’s always been hidden inside of me?
To tell someone who is confused and stressed out about the direction of his or her life, “just be you” is, at best, a heavy-handed piece of advice.
Yet we hear or offer it up to someone else every single day.
Now I am not writing this to claim an advantage over others in this particular arena of life. I am not here to compete, far from it, I’m just trying to be better than I was yesterday.
But I have learned through my own discrepancies that it is hard work, and at times it has been borderline brutal, realizing that self-awareness is a skillset never perfected. Self-awareness is not a privilege; it is only earned through the blood, sweat, and tears of life.
Self-awareness is often heard through the head-splitting wake up calls that ring through our ears whenever we chase what we think is important for our growth, especially when we become so disillusioned by it that we ignore how painful the process really is.
“Self-awareness is not a privilege; it is only earned through the blood, sweat, and tears of life.”
For myself, that means that I have to fully let go of the person I think I am to truly be me. This is an infinite process, and at times it is extremely dark and lonely, but it has been worth it. I had to peel back the layers of myself. And in the solitude of me, I’m beginning to see the sweetness at the core of my true being.
And by doing so, I am beginning to experience something I haven’t felt in a long time. I am confident. I am growing happier, more content with me, more and more with every new day. This is something that even as recent as a few weeks ago, I thought I might never genuinely feel again.
This newfangled awareness has made me a better boss, a more patient father, a more attentive friend, and it’s quite possible, a more mentally organized and sympathetic writer. At least that’s what I think. And again I am probably getting ahead of myself.
It is no easy task to discard all the masks that life has demanded we wear. To become our true selves takes years of strenuous self-labor, excruciating self-reflective questions, and an infinite look in the mirror of said self. But the end result looks to promise the grand prize of you and that alone makes it worth every effort.
“You understand that to shine bright in the darkness of this world you must be who you truly are.”
When you embrace the inner work of becoming yourself, you start to see the path take shape along the perpetual pursuit for authenticity. You start to taste upon the palette of your soul, the flavor of true freedom. You understand that to shine bright in the darkness of this world you must be who you truly are.
We begin to experience a lightness of ourselves that cannot be weighed down by the heaviness of external achievement or so and so’s validation.
And then one day you wake up, and just like that, boom, you are as comfortable as you’ve ever been in your own skin. One could go so far as to call it, “The Lightness Of You.”
Yet to come to grips with this lightness, one must remove things from the routine of one’s self instead of adding things. Things like negative thoughts, self-doubt, forced relationships, and so forth. It demands a complete inner rebellion of sorts.
Over the past few years I have been putting forth the effort into the building of my own little creative garden. I’ve built everything from an IG page featuring poetry to a few different blogs, and now I am in the process of putting together a photography website, so to share my passionate eye for photography.
But let’s be real here, these are just more creative masks. And while I think they are laying the creative foundation of who I truly am, do they really make up me?
Yes and no, or better yet, maybe. But more on me next week. For now I would like to wrap this post up by touching on the radical effects of inner rebellion.
“Rebellion is the seed for the transformation within.”
There have been great people in the world, but even the greatest of them are very small in comparison to the authentic rebel I am talking about, because they all, in some way or other, come to compromise with the establishment. And that’s where the true rebel differs from them all.
They were wise, they were creative artists, they were musicians, dancers, poets, all kinds of people, the past has produced many luminous figures; but something was missing in them. One basic thing missing is: they all lived in compromise with conditioned interests. They compromised by trying to be an image of habituated beliefs. None of them knew totality in their rebelliousness, well except for One.
Yes, partial rebels have existed, but a partial rebel is not enough. Man needs to rebel within the habit of what he has been, who he was taught to be before he can ever truly be free. Before he can make a difference he must bleed.
No, this world needs wholly authentic rebels to change the destiny of mankind from digging its own grave, to turn the direction back towards the Garden of Eden.
And if you take absolutely anything away from this post, I hope it is you.
To be continued…