Happy to be sitting at my desk writing tonight. Hoodie up, glasses on. Music playing in the background, and the soft air of the ceiling fan gently hovering around my face.
I love writing. I don’t play guitar. This is my music. It’s my mental shower.
I felt compelled to write tonight. I was turned on by these ideas; because something cool happened and I had just had to write about it.
You see, I had one of those epiphanies tonight. One of those beautiful, reassuring realizations that eliminates a previously undiscovered piece of anxiety that’s kept you from feeling okay for who knows how long because you never knew it existed until you found it.
Being me used to come really easy. Sure, we all try – but that’s part of the fun right, just the effortless process and organic practice of being yourself. It’s how you find yourself as you grow up. By being yourself.
But as adults, we force that process and we work harder at striving to become who we think we should be than we do at actually being who we really are – because, if we wanted to be who we were then we would probably be happy, and we’re often not, because we’re trying to be something rather than being ourselves.
I’ve been here before.
I wrote a post back in June of 2012 called Staying Connected to Your Authentic Self.
Within that post I quoted a passage from a Yoga book called Journey Into Power, by Baron Baptiste.
I’m including it here, because honestly it’s one of the most powerful passages I have ever read. I could read it everyday, and it’s perfect for this moment in my life.
So many of us are striving so hard to be better, to know more, do more, be more. We have been conditioned to believe that we are not good enough the way we are. We’re afraid that if we do less, we’ll be less, so we read all the latest self improvement books, take the seminars, follow the diets, go to the gym, but nothing seems to really get us where we want to go. We still weigh too much, worry to much, and race around searching for something that will soothe whatever it is that we see as our problem.
But I believe we all just have one problem. Yes, you read that right: Every single one of us is suffering from the same problem. Of course, your life looks different from mine, or your friend’s, or your neighbor’s. You might even think your problems are completely unique, but for those of us who feel dissatisfied with our bodies or our lives, there is only one explanation: We are not living from our authentic selves, from our truth. We are asleep to who and what we really are and can be.
We blame external factors for our woes – our parents, our careers, our hectic lives, our spouses, out thighs, our lack of time to exercise or eat right – but the only thing that is “wrong” with us or our lives is that we are disconnected from our core. We are programmed to believe that things like status, money, achievement, and a perfect body would make us happy, or better yet, a complete person. We were taught that these goals were more important than honoring our authentic nature; the timeless and universal truths within us, just waiting to be awakened. Our only task is to relinquish the luggage of life and accept what was there from the start: the light in our hearts and the power within.
Michelangelo used to say that God put a statue within every slab of marble, and his job was to remove all that was not part of the statue. He claimed he merely freed the statue from the stone….
…Journey into power is not about seeking the answers from some outside source. It’s not about piling on muscles, or gaining more knowledge, or finding a better relationship. You have been taught your whole life to look outside yourself, to parents, teachers, experts, maybe even gurus, but all you need is already within you. It’s time we wrap our arms around the truth! The goal here is not to go out and find yourself, for you were never really lost. Forgotten maybe, but not lost.
So tonight, I had this little moment. Just a moment. But that’s all it took to see something previously unseen. In a moment’s time I became aware that I was judging myself and that my judgement wasn’t an accurate reflection of what I actually believed.
I think that’s called clarity.
I think we’ve all felt that. A reconnection to ourselves in a moment. A moment when we realized that we have been repressing our authentic self. When we realized we sold out in the name of growth, or fitting in, or self-pity. When we stopped doing the things we loved. When we silenced the song in our hearts and never realized it stopped playing because we weren’t listening anymore.
The song in our hearts is the inner peace in who we are, it’s the compass that guides us. It’s what makes us unapologetically and unabashedly us in a way that every young child is.
Children don’t try to be anything. They just are. He’s not trying to be happy, he is happy. But life does domesticate the human spirit, doesn’t it.
Tonight I recognized the silence in my heart because for a moment I heard the song in my heart again and in that moment I knew what the silence sounded like, what it felt like, and what had happened to gradually mute my heartsong.
That relationship that died. That business that didn’t stay afloat. That city I felt alone in. Baggage. On Baggage. On Baggage. My twenties have encompassed some very difficult bridges for me to cross. And some very dark and crappy places for me to traverse.
So, I’ve naturally done a lot of work to change, and to grow, and to improve, and to mature, and I’ve changed, and I’ve grown, and improved, and even matured a miniscule amount ; ) But I’ve made a very grave mistake. I’ve beat the fucking living crap out of my self-esteem.
Not the shit that happened – no – that didn’t demoralize my self-esteem, that just fueled my decision to blame myself enough to feel the kind of self-loathing that only self-induced shame can cause.
And when you start letting shit fuck with your self-esteem, you are going down a slippery slope my friend. And it’s not even so much about the pitfalls of feeling bad about yourself as it is just about the dangers of self-loathing. Feeling bummed is one thing, changing who you are because you are no longer confident in the person you once were is a completely different ballgame.
And personally, I miss who I was. Because the things I want are the same things I have always wanted. I just convinced myself that I needed to be a different person to get them and tonight I realized that’s the furthest thing from true.
So my advice is just to be very cautious that you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to personal development. Maturing is cool. You start to care about others and look ahead to the future. But, it doesn’t have to come at the cost of forgetting who you are. You can still be “you”. Not, who you used to be vs. who you are now. No, be you.
Be you 1000% percent. No matter what that is. If you’ve got some bad habits, or you need to become more responsible, or less judgmental, then by all means do that. But don’t judge yourself in such a deplorable fashion that you unconsciously begin to resent who you are as a person.
That’s your individuality. You don’t have to lose your confidence in yourself. You don’t have to lose your swagger. Look within. Return to yourself. Come home again to who you are and work from there. I promise you it’s a much stronger place than you could ever imagine if you believe in yourself again. To do that you need to love yourself and you need to do the things that are going to get your confidence back in your true self.
Start small. Next time you look in the mirror just repeat a simple, positive and uplifting mantra. I like “You’re goddamn right I’m the fucking shit”. haha
But seriously, smile. Get the light back in your eyes.
Enjoy the effortless process and organic practice of being yourself. If it’s hard, you’re doing it all wrong. Be easy on yourself. The past is nothing but a history lesson. Take the present and make something great of your life. No more looking back. No more beating yourself up kid.