What do we do that keeps us from living authentically and being our truest selves? What do we do to sabotage our own personal growth? In other words, how do we get in our own way?
We, as living, breathing, imperfect human beings, do all kind of things that don’t serve our lives in any way, shape or form. Being fully aware when they strike is the key to changing the way we live, how we feel about ourselves, and our ability to grow. It’s important to really look at what will bring our beautiful and bountiful potential to fruition, and what will essentially create a happier, well-lived life – a life worth all the blood, sweat and tears we invest in it.
When we work to peel away some of the following negativity from the shroud of our current circumstances, our own, true self will sprout, grow, and fully blossom.
Jealousy rears a mean, ugly head from time to time. Most of us have experienced it, and we tend to know our triggers. Maybe a close friend received yet another promotion. Maybe our younger boss just bought a gorgeous house on the water. Jealousy comes from deep rooted fears and insecurities. Jealousy appears when we feel like we are not enough or we don’t have enough for happiness. And the rapid-fire onslaught of those living seemingly perfect lives as reported and posted on social media doesn’t help matters. But, look around. People everywhere are fighting battles we know nothing about. Rest assured that though all may appear ideal, others are struggling with something because we all struggle with something. And while another person’s struggle shouldn’t make us feel better about our lives, it can shed a bit of light and perspective on it. When we can look past the surface, our jealousy dissolves a bit. When we focus on actively bettering our own lives, we keep jealousy at bay.
There is a disease that is growing rapidly across the world. It’s called denial. It’s the enemy of truth, and it’s ruining lives. Denial thrives when we avoid facing the truth. For example, we know we are over-weight, but we keep telling ourselves that we don’t eat that much, and we exercise enough, and our weight problem is just too difficult to figure out. The truth is, we do know why we are over-weight, but we are unwilling to own it, so we make excuses. It’s easier play dumb or act like we don’t care which creates little crutches for ourselves to lean on. The actual truth is always a difficult thing to face, but when we own our baggage and our excuses, our real self will emerge.
“Fake it until you make it” sounds better than it actually is. Faking anything does no one any favors. If you continue to fake your orgasm, for example, you will never have an orgasm. It’s that simple. When you fake being yourself (maybe you are gay, not straight?) it will lead you down a tear-soaked trail of unhappiness. “Faking it” keeps us from fulfillment. And we tend to fake things all the time. We fake love and friendship, for example. We tell little lies to ourselves and others in order to cope with our fears. Maybe we are afraid that if we are simply ourselves, we will end up being alone, or not liked. Hiding who we are, or how we truly feel essentially starves our souls. “Faking it” adds thick layers to the shroud that surrounds us, obscuring our real selves from the world, so it’s important to come clean. Once we begin to face our fears and live our truth, our authentic self begins to grow.
Our Inner Bullies
We all know him (or her). They live inside our heads and boss us around. They tell us what to do, how to think, and how to act. They tell us what to feel. They’re assholes. They say, “can’t” and “don’t” a lot. They come in as they please, wreak havoc on us and then lock the gate behind them when they go. We need to stop listening to our inner bullies. We can start by learning to shove them right back when they try to beat us up. Our inner bullies are often bigger and more powerful than our true inner selves, but we can keep them from winning by consciously fighting back.
Lack Of Passion
Living day in and day out with no interests, hobbies, or anything that really moves us makes for a stress free, but super boring life. We must go out and find what it is that really floats our boat. If we think back to when we were children, we will remember and rediscover what we loved to do. Did we love riding our bike? Did we love camping? Or, painting? Did we love animals? We must make a point of going back to what is was that promoted the happiness of our inner child. Life isn’t all about work and being an adult. Having passion can also mean speaking up, and taking action toward righting the wrongs in our society. It’s about making our voices heard and being present enough to change circumstances. When we let our passion guide us, life becomes more exciting, which then creates ample space for growth, even if we rock the boat a little.
All Our Shitty Stuff
Crap everywhere. Magazine stacks. Too many dishes. Junk, junk, and more junk. All our stored stuff. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? We can’t seem to give it up, or give it away. Somehow we attach meaning to all our shitty stuff – stuff that serves no purpose! The cycle begins when we buy things we don’t need. Because of our monetary investment, we feel we must keep it. And store it. And let it collect dust. And then we ignore it for years. And when someone finally wants to throw it away, or give it away, we whine and complain and can’t possibly part with it, because it means so much to us. It’s hilarious.
“What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” “I don’t know.” What the heck is up with this behavior? Chronic indecisiveness is indeed the plight of many. Is it because we have way too many choices? Why are we so afraid to make the wrong decision? We need to get what we want, do what what makes us happy, work in a positive environment, be around people we like, and visit places that interest us. We all know what we want, but we seem to need to question and hesitate and weigh out all the pros and cons before we can make a damn decision. We seek far too many opinions and suggestions before we can decide for ourselves. How does that bring us closer to our true self? It doesn’t.
Living in the past is a burden. We pine for the “way things were” and we struggle when things aren’t done they “way they used to be” done. We need to get over it, whatever it is that keeps us yearning for years gone by. The past is gone. Do we pine for our youth? If we do, perhaps we can try thinking about it this way: All those bearded young people wearing pork pie hats, cuffed jeans, and horn-rimmed glasses, drinking Moscow Mules on the sidewalks of Brooklyn – well, it’s their turn to be young. We had our turn, now we need to let them have theirs. We need to stop wishing for what once was by cultivating simple contentment in the present – the place where our true self resides.
Caring About What Other People Think
It’s difficult not to care about what others think of us. But, sometimes we let their opinions dictate how we are supposed to be. Enough. It’s wonderful to seek advice and ask for opinions, but deep down, we need to follow our own inner compass. We can’t let Jack’s fear of heights keep us from climbing. We can’t let Jill’s fear of showing her midriff keep us from wearing the sexy gown with the cutouts. That’s their shit, not ours.
Letting go of our destructive habits might just be the most relevant and lasting thing we can do to bring us closer to our true selves. When substances and behaviors cloud our judgement there’s no possible way to claim who we really are. If our habit is to cling to people, to please others and put everyone’s needs before our own, we can’t possibly know what it is we actually want for ourselves. We must do the work to free ourselves from those habits and learn to live without them. For clarity and purpose, we must bury our destructive habits deep.
When we inch closer to our true selves, we find the happiness we seek. When we are happy, we exude our simple, peaceful, and positive energy back into the world, our families, and in all the stuff we do, people we meet, and places we go. Becoming our true selves creates mutual respect, admiration, honesty, and love within our lives.
By continuing to remove the garbage from the soil in which we have been planted, we promote an ideal environment for personal growth. Unearthing our truest self is, indeed, the most phenomenal prize of being human. And it’s worth the difficult and daunting task of continued excavation.