First they tell you to “be true to yourself.” Then society comes along and relentlessly recommends excruciating and unrealistic gym workouts. Me? I’m into CrossFit. I cross my fingers and hope I can fit into my clothes. Lol. Then, of course, we are encouraged to do makeovers, pop steroids, never be caught without the ideal shoe, and a host of other counterfeits. Speaking of shoes, wouldn’t you just love an app that’s like Shazam, but for other people’s shoes?
So, what happened to your core self? Why do you suppose we are so enamored with children? They haven’t been socialized yet to do everything just to “fit in.” Do you know the difference between the socialized you and the real you? What does your self-portrait look like?
You weren’t feeling well and then recovered. Notice how you tell your friends that you’re “back to yourself again”? But, who are you really? In order to find yourself, sweet friends, you first need to see yourself. Once you impartially observe things, share with a trusted friend and loved one.
Start a sentence with: I’m a bit scared to tell you this about me, but…<Fill in the blank>. “I’ve always been insecure about my intelligence.” “I only bought season tickets to impress my friends.” “I wear those spiked heels because I am afraid of what others think of my appearance.” Try asking yourself: How would I act and what would I do differently if I truly didn’t care what people thought of me? Find someone whom you can ask the following: What strengths do you think I have? What are some of my weaknesses that I need to work on?
We humans have many beliefs that were handed down to us from others. Have you ever questioned any of them? Many of us have formed negative thinking patterns about ourselves, others, and life, based on what we were told as youngsters.
Have you ever caught yourself playing a role with your friends? Life is too short for fake butter, cheese, or people. Be honest. Sometimes you even distort your memories to support your self-image. Don’t want others to know you have a temper? G’head and erase all those times you were angry and aggressive when you tell your life story. But seriously, please don’t. Come to think of it: I once heard a joke about amnesia, but I forgot how it goes.
Your friends say you’re so fake that you should have two Facebook accounts – one for each face? Uh, oh. You recall every vivid detail of your past that puts you in a good light. Notice how when you want them all to think you are kind and merciful, you exaggerate and embellish in living color all your past good deeds. Instead, have more than you show, and speak less than you know. Trust me, if you are doing something worth bragging about, others will brag for you.
Of course, it is utterly tempting to put on that mask, as some people get judged for being real, while others get loved for being fake. Do not fall for this, please. I bet if you met you, you would like yourself just fine. It’s always the ones saying “Keep it real” that turn out to be faker than plastic ice cubes. If some people put as much effort into being a good person as they do in pretending to be a good person, they could actually be a good person.
Can’t imagine the life overhaul just yet? Try to have one real moment a day. Do something that really resonates with your soul. Stop looking for permission from others when you already know what to do. You cannot become who you want to be until you know who you are.
Please do not be hypnotized by what the culture feeds you. You decide what constitutes value, worth, and success in life. So you lost your glasses again, eh? You’ve searched high and low, under the bed, in all your coat pockets. And then, voilà: Your friend points to your forehead, where they were all along. Sheesh. Well, guess what? Sometimes you get so busy trying to find yourself – with more meditation, yoga, or reading 134 self-help books – that you do not realize that you were there all along. We all have the Divine within us and an inner compass. Sometimes we simply need to pause and listen for it.
Above all, when you do go looking for your true self, please try to see yourself through the eyes of love.
Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens. She works with individuals, couples, and families. Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends. She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at Safehavenhealing@gmail.com or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.