BE TRUE TO MYSELF?
What does "BEING TRUE TO MYSELF" really mean and... am I succeeding?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately.
Being true to myself used to mean that I made decisions and behaved according to what I believed was best for me and kept the opinions of others out of it. The problem was, the things I thought were best for me ended up depending entirely on what others thought of me.
Using the above definition, I thought what was best for me and what would make me successful in life was to be loved, included and admired (among other things). In order to have these things though, I had to show others that I was worthy of having them. But, this meant my decisions and actions were coming from a place of fear. I was afraid of not being loved, included or admired.
So... I worked really hard to be unique and have special talents and skills people would admire in me. I worked really hard to be nice, funny, pretty and "easy going" and not make waves so that I would be included and or loved. I even did things that went against my core values sometimes. I was way to afraid to challenge anything that seemed wrong to me and learned to be uncomfortable but silent and to defended or justify my actions to myself. I did all of this so I wouldn't feel the discomfort, shame and loneliness of not being worthy enough.
The pain of all of the fear, stress and anxiety of living this way pushed me to understand what I was doing and suddenly I had so many lightbulbs turn on in my head that I felt like I was glowing.
I understood that my definition needed to be changed. NOW have a NEW definition of what it means to be true to myself!
Being true to myself now means that I make decision and behave according to what I VALUE. Yep! What I VALUE! Decisions become very clear when Imy values are the motivating factor. Making the decision and actually living this way can be scary, freeing and exciting at the same time. But it takes practice.
The first thing I need to do was become be very clear about WHAT I VALUE. Luckily I have done a lot of work on defining my values in the past few years so I already have my list. It is the base of my life now.
Once I got really clear on my values I had to "practice" living this way. This meant I had to practice slowing down to think about what just happened or what I want to achieve and ask myself how I can behave in a way that supports my values. "Practicing" implies that I might not always get it right but I keep trying.
I practice catching myself when I start to react or think the way I used to. I practice asking "Is this really true?" when I hear the voice in my head that says I am not good enough, talented enough, smart enough, pretty enough etc. I practice being brave enough to risk sharing what I really think about something. I practice reaching outside my current comfort zone all the time.
It can be scary because I am unfamiliar with the feeling of being vulnerable to being rejected, unloved or left out. But so what! It was scary when I learned to walk, swim and ride a bike and I am really happy I learned all of those things.
If I am criticized or rejected based on actions that come from my values, I know have nothing to feel shame about. These people could be using my old definition and they could be reacting from their fears. Knowing this allows me to look at them with compassion instead of feel any negative emotions.
The exciting thing about this is that I get to be truly ME! No one take away my values or my choices. I know (and truly believe) that I am and will be okay. I am enough.