“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Joseph Campbell
Just recently I came to the end of a six-month coaching programme I have been participating in.
To close the programme out we did a final Zoom call and there we about 35 of us on the call. We were each given a little time to share what brought us the most value.
It was super inspiring to hear from everyone but the one that I remember the most was my friend Nathaniel saying he realised he could live his life being ‘Unapologetically me’.
He said he no longer compared himself to others. He was now only working with clients he truly wanted to work with. He was listening more deeply to himself and following his own wisdom, rather than the well-meaning advice of other people.
I was reflecting on this and it seems to me that we are at our happiest when we are being ourselves.
This is why children spend so much time being happy. They have yet to create a ‘self-image’ and so spend no time and effort trying to live up to one.
Spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, observed that as soon as we enter the world we go into ‘Somebody training’. He wrote:
‘What happens to most of us, and I say most of us, is that when you and I were born, we were born into a social-psychological world, a world with feelings and thoughts, that was inhabited by people who were very identified with their separateness. They were somebody. They were mummy or daddy. They were also this and this and this and this, and they were all the different identities they had, and they trained you about those realities, because those are the realities that were real to them.’
So, you start to identify with your thoughts about who you are and present to the world an image of who you think it should see.
And the more invested you are in this image, the more stressful and exhausting life becomes because it takes a huge amount of effort to try to stay in line with it. For many people it becomes a full-time job.
The gift of service
The ability to deeply touch and serve people emerges from your willingness to be you.
Otherwise we are just game playing.
To be yourself means that you are making yourself vulnerable. Being honest not only about your successes but also your struggles, mistakes, and insecurities. You own it all.
The ego sees this as weakness, but it is really strength.
When you look at other people what do you see?
Do you see their ‘somebody’ or can you see through the separateness and connect with your shared humanity?
If you experience someone who seems sharp or abrasive does this bring up judgement in you or can you see through that to the human being behind their defence mechanism?
A more wonderful experience of being alive
Isn’t this what we are all looking for? It is just that we are looking in the wrong place.
You can work hard to acquire material wealth, money, or status and that is all fine, but none of it will bring you closer to who you are.
Being unapologetically you is the willingness to surrender the illusion of the ‘somebody’ and connect with your true identity.