I love these lines from Dr. Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You. When I think of this I remember how important it is to be who I truly am. Being who others think and say I am supposed to be is of no value, except maybe to the people whose game I’m playing.
I know what it feels like to do what others say I should, and be who I am not. In my need for acceptance and approval, I did this. Attempting to live in a fake personna is wearying. We can only pretend for so long. Imitating others may work for a while, but eventually we grow tired of it.
Trying to be who we are not is a burden that over a lifetime becomes too heavy to carry. The heaviness wears us down and keeps us from our greatness. The worst part of trying to fit a specific image is we live so long in this false sense of Self, we begin to think it’s true.
When we start thinking about finding our true Self, our mind begins to engage in denying our need to do this. The more denial there is, the more resistance to growth and change. We must be willing to give up what we think is true and what we think we know, to achieve consciousness and our sense of Self.
Where do we find the keys to transformation so we can unlock the doors to find Self? We start by using the gifts of awareness, quiet, and willingness. Finding Self is a spiritual journey and not a one-time practice. It’s an inside job.
A few exercises to start the process of discovering what we lost and left behind as children are:
1. Find a quiet place, relax and take a few deep breaths. When you’re ready answer the following:
If you could do anything you wanted to do, what would it be? Make a list of what you really like to do, not what someone told you, or suggested or hinted at, for you to do. Do not censor your list.
2. What would your ideal life look like? Pretend you’re writing a book about yourself and your ideal life. What would the title be and what would your first paragraph say?
3. Write 5 words that describe who you are. Be careful not to write what you do (like teacher, plumber, etc.) or what roles you play (like mother, father, son, etc.). Your list needs to be words that say who you really are. Do not censor this list.
Look over what you have written. Are there any surprises? Have you learned anything new about yourself? Spend time alone in a quiet space and notice what you are feeling. Are you afraid, excited, anxious, or happy and peaceful? Whatever you feel is okay. There is no right or wrong here. There is only truth.
When we get in the habit of spending time alone with Self and opening to what is already there, we can learn a lot about our life. If you are new to the process of excavation I recommend you consider reading one or more of the following:
I also recommend a support system. When we begin the process of uncovering Self, those around us sometimes become nervous. Change can be scary. Many times the people close to us are afraid that if we change, they may have to change also.
We are the captain of our ship, the master of our fate. It is up to each of us to do the necessary work to find and live our authentic Self.