Last night this popped up on my newsfeed from Brain Pickings, and it really made me think.
As we grow up, we learn about the world, we learn what gets our needs met, we learn what is and isn’t socially acceptable for the people we are around as well as the world as a whole, we learn how to be around different people, we learn what people want and expect from us.
Maybe we learn that if we smile at people, people want to spend time with us. Maybe we learn that if we are quiet, no one bothers us. Maybe we learn that if we hit people, they won’t hit us back. Maybe we learn that getting perfect grades means we get praise. Maybe we learn that doing everything for someone means they will treat us nicely.
All of that can have an impact on who we are, on how we act, on what we do, on how we see the world. It can impact our beliefs, both about ourself and the world in general, on our values, on our behaviours, on everything about us. We can do things to please other people, we can do things we think we should, we can do things that we think other people want us to do, we can be who we think people want or expect us to be. Often we lose the opportunity to do things because that’s just who we are and that’s what is true for us.
Sometimes we don’t even know who we actually are without all of that. Sometimes we are happy and ok being what people want, or what we think they want, or who we think other people expect us to be, but, equally, those views and ways of being can conflict with who we actually are. That can cause a problem and some people, therefore, know they are a particular way, but don’t want to be that way anymore.
That conflict can happen on such a deep level that we aren’t even aware it is there or, it can be more obvious to us ‘I want to do this… but X wants me to do that, so then I should do that’.
It can be hard to start to work out who we genuinely are, what our values are, what our beliefs are, what our likes and dislikes are, and it can be terrifying to start to show that change and change how we are around people. And yes, the quote is absolutely right because it does take courage because it is likely to involve change and change is scary.
But stop right now and think.
Are you who you really are?
Are you genuinely who you are, or are you a version of you that maybe you think others want you to be, or that you learnt to be at some point in the past, for some reason?
Are you ok with who you are or are there some things you want to change?
Being who we really are, and becoming who we really are, I believe, can be a life long journey, but one that, the further along it you go, the further you self explore and become aware of yourself, the less conflict you have in side and the fuller, deeper, richer and more fulfilled life will be.
If there are changes you want to make, maybe now is the time to start. Sometimes that can be with therapy, sometimes that can be with self exploration and becoming more aware of yourself, sometimes it can mean life changes, but whatever it is you feel you need, I hope you’re able to do it when the time is right for you. It will be worth it.