“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung
I’ll bet you’ve heard someone say, “I’m just trying to find myself.” Or maybe you have said that statement enough that that you’ve become convinced that you’re also trying to find your “self.” Guess what?
You are not lost.
That person you seek is in there, waiting for you to come back and reclaim the “true” you. If you’d like to reconnect with your lost parts, I have some thoughts about why those parts might be in hiding and how you can integrate them back into your life, with self-awareness and self-compassion.
“Finding yourself” means that you have lost you, which pretty much makes you human.
It means that you have created a false story about who you are, a secret, one that you even believe by now, and that secret has created shame about your perfect, authentic self. Exactly where and how does that happen? A great question…the confusion with this is very real…and it’s very confusing (nailed that point :-)).
If you’re looking for you, my guess would be that, at some point, you lost the ability, courage, or the vulnerability to feel safe being you. Then the questions arise, “Who am I really?” and “What is authentic for me?” and “How can I be authentic if I don’t even know who I am?”
Let’s go back in time…to a time in your life when you were 100% authentically you…
A time that you probably don’t remember. My guess would be that you were a cute, little, barely-had-hair kid in diapers…pooping, farting, burping little bubbles, giggling, crying (I mean, screaming at the top of your lungs!), and doing whatever you wanted to without consideration, hesitation, fear of rejection or self-judgment. You were you…not caring about anything or anyone other than getting your needs met and living your pea-perfect little life.
Screech!!!!! Something happened: Rejection, judgment, abandonment, abuse…something that scared you or made you feel isolated and ashamed. You might have cried for attention and been ignored (and today being ignored is unbearable). You might have been the kid that was picked last for the team (and today you are fitter than fit…or a perfectionist…or an overachiever). You might have been rejected by a friend who you were goofy with and who you trusted (and today you struggle with trust and fear of abandonment).
So, you felt rejected when you were being you…but your true rejection happened when you quit being you.
That’s when you truly lost yourself…when you started acting cool to fit in, quit dancing that weird dance that you used to love, or you tried to cover up that laugh that made you sometimes snort. Getting back to that place where you know, trust, and value weird, goofy, unique you, 100% of the time, is a lifelong journey of experiencing self-rejection, then engaging in self-compassion, and ultimately discovering beautiful moments of self-acceptance.
So, this journey of reconnecting with True You.
Where does one start? First, by getting honest…by getting real with yourself, and mixing in a heavy dose of self-compassion. You have been living a lie. That lie kicked off at some point when you didn’t feel safe to be you, it began out of self-preservation and has woven itself into your life ever since. It has become such a big part of you, that you don’t know where “True You” ends and where “Faking-it You” begins.
Find a time when you became who you needed to be out of self-preservation, even though it could be a time or a place where you were too young to remember. Find a time where you recall feeling rejected, where you hid deep in your shell. Can you place your finger on it? What happened and how did you feel? Do you recall adapting to fit in to not experience that rejection again? Did you become stronger, cooler, smarter, or did you hide in sports, addictions or perfectionism?
Who were you before that moment?
After acknowledging that you let a part of you go to keep things copacetic, to fit in, to be accepted, or even to survive in your family, here’s some thoughts about how to reclaim unique you, find belonging, and ultimately find self-acceptance:
- Notice when you don’t feel safe being 100% yourself and get curious. If you’re being arrogant or if you’re hiding in the corner, that means you don’t feel safe simply being you. Where are you hiding and trying to fit in? At work, on social media, with friends, or even at home? What are you afraid or ashamed of? What do you think will happen if they know the real you?
- Check in with your heart, your gut, your intuition, your feelings. If something doesn’t “feel” right, it probably is not right for you. When we betray that feeling or message from our center, we betray our True Self.
- Step into your values…the things that you stand for, the things that inspire you. And on the other hand, be okay letting things go that don’t serve you. You do not have to do anything like anyone else…you have your own path, your own route…honor that.
- Notice how you’re hooked and distracted from being with you. Through addictions, social media, television, perfectionism, or people pleasing? When you get uncomfortable in silence, where do you run? How do you escape being with you? Sit and be present with you…have compassion for you…your heart, your feelings, your sadness, …that a part of you is lost and scared.
That thing you seek? It’s within you.
It is you…your heart…your childlike curious, playful, giggling, dance-like-a-dork, goofy self. It is waiting for you to come back, and it is tired of being rejected and keeping your secret…the one that keeps you trying to fit in so that you feel like you belong.
You belong. Period.
You not only can come out from hiding, your heart and the world needs you to…it’s crucial that you do so. We have too many unhappy people trying to be like other seemingly happy, but probably unhappy, people to fit in. By embracing unique you, you will bring more love and peace to this world than you can ever imagine.
Lastly, you were given a one-of-a-kind human code, which means there is not one other person exactly like you…you’re special…precisely who you’re supposed to be, and where you’re supposed to be. Love that person. He or she will feel safe enough to come out from hiding when self-compassion and self-acceptance override fear and self-rejection. I’d like to meet that person someday.