Have you ever stopped to ask yourself who you are?
Not who you think you should be, but actually who you already ARE.
Once upon a time you were free to think, feel and behave in a way that was a true reflection of you. It didn’t last long as very soon, people started telling you what you should think, what you should believe, how you should feel and told you what the rules of acceptable behaviour are.
Somewhere inside of you though, perhaps buried very deeply, is a spark of the person you once were before the world started telling you who you should be.
Who were you before the world told you what you were not? – Bryant McGill
If you look at a child, you will see them explore their world. They push the boundaries by climbing trees, jumping in puddles, saying ‘NO’ a lot, talking to themselves and by expressing themselves creatively through art, song, dance and movement. A small child has a bountiful imagination and creates a world for themselves that we adults can only guess at.
They are completely absorbed in the activity they are involved in and sometimes nothing you say will tear them away from it. In that moment, the child is following their inner voice, following their joy and revelling in something that makes them supremely happy.
Before you say it, I know we adults live in the ‘real world’; the world where you must work so that you can pay your bills, take care of those who are dependent on you and be responsible and dependable. Of course these things are important but if this is all your life comprises of, you are not living but simply existing.
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all – Oscar Wilde
If you are here reading this article, you are most probably searching for a way to improve your life. Perhaps there are things you believe you need to change about yourself.
Imagine an onion for a moment. Yeah, I know, brings tears to your eyes doesn’t it?
But what if those tears came from a different place.
What if when you cut the end off the onion to see the layers inside, you begin to understand that every one of those layers hides a part of yourself that you have forgotten? Every single layer is something you have taught yourself to become, someone others have taught you to become. If you cut through the middle of the onion, you will see its heart. If you have ever roasted an onion, you will know this is the sweetest tenderest part, wrapped and cocooned by layers of protection to keep the developing flower bud safe from harm.
Perhaps you have done the same? Perhaps you too have built up layers of protection to keep you safe from hurt and to hide behind so that the judgemental and often unkind world can’t reach you. Those people who would seek to bully, to reject, to gossip and to make fun of you.
The problem is, that the thicker the layers on top of you or the stronger and higher the walls, the more imprisoned you become until you cannot see yourself at all.
What if your journey isn’t about becoming anything? What if it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place?
So maybe instead of feeling that you need to change something about yourself to be happier, healthier, more successful or more peaceful, maybe you need instead to un-become what everyone else would want you to be.
Just like that onion that brought tears to your eyes, perhaps you could start peeling back the layers of doubt, sadness, rejection, pain, expectation, fear and conformity so that you can start creating a connection to yourself again.
Perhaps you could start by lifting your head and looking the world in the eye.
What do you see?
One thing I know for sure is that you will always see what you expect to see.
If you expect to see sadness, rejection and cruelty, then that is exactly what you will be surrounded with. But if you expect to see happiness, kindness and connection with others, then that is exactly what you will see.
Challenge your assumptions. Throw off the media’s interpretation of the world we live in and look again. Look for the little children who play together with no judgement. Look for the kindness that strangers give to each other.
Go where you feel most yourself.
For me, this is the beach. When I put my bare feet on the sand, when I walk through the waves at the water’s edge, when I hear the sound of sea birds calling to each other I somehow come alive. It’s as if I become part of the ocean, swept away and gently carried to a place of peace and aliveness.
Many people feel this way in a forest. The dappled sunshine above, the rippling of a stream and the birdsong that whispers constantly in joy around you, is like a cocoon of safety and calm.
If you have never explored this, then take some time this week to find your place. Somewhere you will feel lighter, somewhere you will feel safe and somewhere you will recognise the wee child that wants to play, wants to smile and wants to dance.
Spend time with yourself, explore your world and rediscover the person you are. Use your imagination to create a world of joy and happiness for yourself.
Don’t be afraid as you already have everything you need inside you. The person you were born to be is waiting patiently for you to remember. Show yourself the attention you need, show kindness, show love, show acceptance and in just a short while, you will begin to shine again.