We really do learn together. And, I believe that through sharing our experiences with others we ourselves are liberated. I know this is audacious of me to say, but I believe that no one on this planet learns anything of value by existing alone in a safe, isolated, little bubble. I believe that living that way is really a wasted life opportunity. And, every one of us DOES have a glorious, unique gift; a personal legend, intended for sharing with the world. That is our path, and the reason for our being here on this plane of existence.
My blog post today is about one of the important things that I have learned through having trusted friendships: the value of being able to learn and grow through working on and sharing our stuff with a trusted other (even as each of our stuff bumps up against the other's, causing friction) is that we get to discover who we really are, at a soul level. And, what a blessing it is to have the safe container of true friendship to practice becoming our true selves within.
One of the things I have been blessed to work through within that friendship container, is learning how to step into and fully express my true self (as much as I am able to, today).
A common obstacle for us as humans seems to be looking outside of ourselves for who we are. We look to others to mirror back how we should or should not behave. And, the pat phrase, "just be yourself," gets tossed around a ton, becoming the "vogue" thing to say. But, I believe phrases such as these are just another, albeit more modern, indication that we are still trying to fit in--attempting to be what others think we should be.
I can relate to being inauthentic in order to attempt to fit in, believe me. I can even relate to trying to impress people by saying the right thing--by saying, "Just be yourself," because that it is cool; it is cool to pretend that I know how to myself. I say it with the partial hope that by looking like I know how to be authentic, it will somehow elevate me and, therefore, help me fit in.
Don't get me wrong, I do think we should all be allowed to be ourselves. I just don't believe that, historically speaking, we have encouraged each other to do that. I believe that this is changing, big time, right now, though. So many world events are shaking us out of our nice tidy safe little boxes; boxes that we have existed in for as long as we humans, at least as we know ourselves to be, have roamed the planet. But, I also know, that removing our social masks in order to become authentic requires tremendous courage.
During an archaeological dig into ourselves, with a good friend, she and I explored this business of "being our selves." It opened up a whole new channel of thought for me. We talked about how worrying about what others thought about us had severely limited the energy we had to put into becoming our most brilliant selves. Because, when we are in a constant state of worry, all our energy goes into the outer circumstances of our life, and we actually have very little energy left over to use to become creative, which I believe, we need in order to discover our unique gifts.
Admittedly, throughout the years I have been completely wrapped up in what others thought about me. I had a continuous internal war going on. My soul wanted to express who I was, but my fear of what others would think about me, if I actually did that, interfered with that expression. So, in essence, what others thought about me (which was merely a story anyway) trumped me being my authentic self, every time. It was too painful to risk standing naked in this harsh and judgmental world (and for good reason). So, I stuffed my authentic version of self, and did whatever I needed to do, in order to fit in.
I am thinking about what, "being our selves" means a little deeper this morning. I realized that it has only been in the last couple of decades (and, even then, not really, perhaps?) that we, humans, have had the freedom, and moreover, the safety, to begin to express our uniqueness. We have all read stories about how it turned out for brilliant people in the past that have had the courage to step out of the box, in order to be their most authentic selves - they were shunned by humanity. They are the misunderstood heroes who courageously risked the consequences of expressing their unique gifts - gifts that many of us still enjoy today. For example, take the stories about artists such as Francis Farmer, Sylvia Plath, and the like. They were shunned, or even committed, for expressing their brilliance - shunned for paving the road for the rest of us - so that we could begin to express our creative uniqueness without the same fears. Don't be fooled, the memory of the outcome of what happened for them was embedded and recorded in our amygdala for our very survival today.
I know people who think outside of the box in present day who are still shunned for being and for thinking differently. I may even be one of them? I have not always felt safe to express who I am, either. I haven't always felt safe to be and to share my most quirky self, for the fear that my sanity would be questioned. And for good reason. We have been socialized to believe that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. And, subconsciously, we know it is not safe to risk crossing that line. Really, it is scary to consider what being a genius asks of us.
As a child I wanted to be gifted (to be a genius) but I never really thought that I would have to concern myself with walking that razor's edge between genius and insanity. I did not feel especially bright. Today, I know that we are all geniuses, but we still are not able to express our brilliance within the confines and safety of the societal box. This is because our brilliance lives outside of the constraints we have placed on ourselves, and others. But, these old imprinted fears are difficult to get beyond. Most likely we aren't even aware of how they are controlling our experiences in our lives.
I have a lot more to say on this subject, but I will leave that for further discussion. I believe that it is enough just to open this topic up for consideration. The question is, what are we going to choose for ourselves today? Are we going to play it safe by continuing to exist in an imprinted box, or are we going to break free of it by daring to dip our toe in the eternal pool of our own potentiality? Are we going to continue to be mediocre, living a life that others have laid out for us? Or are we going to be warriors, choosing to bravely step into out true, quirky, and most glorious selves, by creating the life we desire?
My advice is this: love yourself for who you really are. Don't worry about what it is that others love about you. The most powerful and most liberating love you can ever experience is your own love; the love of your own brilliant potential, which, most likely, you don't even have any concept of yet. Imagine your bigness. Really take in that it is possible for you. Be brave. Be vulnerable. And, above all, BE YOURSELF.