We are striving to be as authentic as possible at each moment of every day, doing the best we can with what we’ve got at the moment we have it.
At the age of twenty I embarked upon my first solo voyage to Europe. Before I left I imagined the kind of person I’d be once I got there: very Euro, suave, carefree and easygoing, smooth with the ladies and lots of sex.
Within a week of landing in London I realized that flying all that way didn’t change anything about me. I had arrived as exactly same person I’d been when I left Montreal: tense, uncomfortable, uncertain, conflicted.
I was horrified with the realization that I could never escape myself. No matter where I went, there I’d be. I nearly burst into tears in the middle of the busy London street; I had to lean against a wall for support at the thought of having to spend the rest of my life
How the hell was I supposed to do that? I was intolerable!
What no one ever tells you is that your life is inevitable. Tuesday will follow Monday whether you are in agreement with it or staunchly opposed; happy or sad; content or disgruntled; ready or not.
Therefore it follows:
If life is the process of becoming Who You Really Are (which it is);
If this process is inevitable and unstoppable (which it is);
Becoming Who You Really Are is inevitable and unstoppable.
In my experience few of us accept this inevitability without a good fight. Mostly we go kicking and screaming, thrashing about and pushing as hard against ourselves as we can.
But go we must. Self-acceptance often comes despite ourselves, not because of. We get worn down through attrition, our arms eventually too weary to hold up the many masks behind which we have hidden for far too long.
I can now see that all the work I’ve ever done to change myself (that any of us ever does) has only been about doing the opposite: I have learned to love and accept all those things about myself which horrified me on that London street so many years ago.
The tension, discomfort, uncertainty and inner conflict I had wanted to leave behind in Montreal were in fact feelings I had about myself. Finally, at the age of 47 I stood looking into my own eyes in the bathroom mirror and waved the white flag of capitulation: I give up. I concede. Uncle! I must accept and be myself, as I can be no other. Love me or leave me, this is Who I Really Am.
I have conceded many battles since, but still maintain others. I am, after all, in the midst of the process we call living: ever-becoming, never arriving, always striving anew. You can never get it done, and you can never get it wrong.
It’s taken me the better part of my adult life to finally befriend myself. There are moments when I even love and enjoy myself. Rather than horror, I now find humour and compassion in my weird bits, the awkward bits, the tough to accept bits.
But as difficult as those have been to bear, it is my own gifts which I fear the most, and with which I still maintain the most ardent battles. I believe we all share that commonality.
As Marianne Williamson put it:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
Once we let go of hiding, our challenges then become those of expressing greater and greater amounts of joy, fulfillment, contentment, alignment, and love.
We all have very firm ideas about Who We Really Are, but these are often irrelevant. Here are some points I’ve discovered about becoming Who You Really Are:
Who You Really Are is what you have come to this time/space reality to express
Who You Really Are is what the world needs, wants, and yearns for
Who You Really Are will not be quashed – not even by you!
Who You Really Are is a process of discovery
Who You Really Are may be more surprising to you than anyone else, although it may be very surprising to others as well!
Who You Really Are defies agendas, stereotypes, expectations, assumptions
Who You Really Are cares not a jot about:
- what your mother told you
- what your religion told you
- what your society, friends, TV or the Internet told you
- what anyone else thinks
- how anyone else lives their lives
There is only one place to look for Who You Really Are, and that is inside yourself. In order to do this you must trust yourself; trust your impulses; trust your own compass, find your own path in your own way at your own pace.
This is what you are doing right now. Good job!
There are no side roads, dead ends or wrong turns. There is one road: your road.