I used to think I had to know who I was … and I wasted a lot of time, energy and potential trying to create an ‘image’ and to hang on to it – often in the face of contradictory evidence!
Now, I know that the need to “Know who I am” is a trap, a false need to create a restrictive fiction, a fiction that separates me from the joy of experiencing the continual unfolding of my ‘human becoming’ …
Who we think we are is a mixture of many things based upon our early conditioning – who we were told we are growing up (by family, friends, media etc), who we want to be (our aspirational self), our experiences, who we have judged ourselves to be – positively or negatively – over the years, who we have tried to be to fit in/ be liked/ be loved / be safe / fulfil expectations / avoid “failure” …
No wonder we are constantly having to try and adjust all these different perspectives of ‘who I am’ in an attempt to find consistency!
On top of this conditioning lies the complication of our current mood and the impact of recent events. Sometimes the story is told through the bright light of love and success, “I’m great! I’m really useful and valued”… at others, through the gloom of rejection and loss, “I’m useless. They don’t like me!”
When our image, our model of ourselves is challenged, we feel threatened. This triggers our fear response. Sometimes we may react or over-react and regret it later. Or, we may clam up and become passive when we know we should say/do something. How much of your inner dialogue is taken up with reviewing what you said / what they said / what you and they will say / what they might think of you / do they like you / have you done the ‘right’ thing? In short, how much of your time do you spend ‘thinking’ about yourself? Quite a bit, I would guess, one way or another …
Worrying about what other people may think about us is one of our most common fears. Most people, of course, are too busy thinking/worrying about themselves to be thinking about us!
How much pain and conflict have you experienced over the issue of ‘identity’? How much conflict can you see about you as a result of the same ‘need’?
The problem is that these stories about who we think we are are too small, too rigid to encompass all that we may be or may become – how can we truly know our potential at any time when our self-perception is a function of the past projected forward?
Someone once said that we are ” not human beings, we are human becomings”, which sounds pretty accurate to me!
Underneath all of this self-creation there is our inner/true self, the self the psychologists, the poets, the inner paths and great traditions speak about. This is the self we have known and lived at times of fearless presence, fearless action, fearless connection … times of ‘Flow’ when there is no story, only deep connection with all that is in each passing moment.
This is the self we are here to explore, develop and ‘real-ise’ – make real. Sometimes, we can hear and listen to its voice, with all its knowledge and perception, beneath the babble of our fearful self-obsession.
What stops us? Our fears …
Isn’t it time we put the fears that drive impatience back in their box, and liberated our true human capacity, with all of its creativity, compassion, love, imagination, connection, love and positivity, from its chains?