As you begin to understand more about who you are not, your true self will begin to emerge.
Layer by layer as we scrutinise the perceptions we hold about ourselves, and start to make a deliberate effort to shed some that are no longer useful, you are likely to feel uncomfortable or even lost for a while. At first, you will have less of a sense of self.
Instead you might slowly (rather than instantly) stop attracting situations in which you’d use that old armory. Old beliefs about yourself can be difficult to shake and we might have to reason them out in many facets of our life. In emotional terms, despair turns to anger which turns to frustration and finally you have apathy. Apathy is your turning point.
It’s also a vulnerable point, because you feel empty. Understand though, it is necessary for something to be emptied to allow another thing to emerge. Try to be patient and use the many signals around you, the reflections of ourselves that life presents back, to discover who you truly are.
It can be confusing; the world is sending us many signals at any one time. The most important thing you can do is be aware of how your wellbeing is responding to what the world reflects in its mirror.
Only you can know whether something is right for you. We live in a world of contrast. Without that contrast you wouldn’t experience the strength of feeling joy or happiness can bring without having first felt the contrasting negative emotions.
There is no rush, but you might feel compelled to rush, to fill the void in you that has opened up. Shedding the layers of who you’ve become is revealing if you let it be, but it also makes us feel exposed.
Realising that life is meant to be easy might be a challenge. Many of us resist the idea because we’ve been taught the exact opposite. We chalk up our negative physical, mental, emotional or spiritual experiences to the necessary 'cost' of success.
Life will be full of contrasting experiences, yes, but it’s the ones that make you feel good (in all aspects of your wellbeing) that are a reflection of the real you. There is no cost you have to keep paying. If something isn't working for you, work on letting it go.
Look around you for the reflections of who you are. Listening to others, or asking for their help, can sometimes be a really smart way to try and figure out your true nature under those layers.
Other people, assuming they are objective, can more clearly see who we are being. Every day we interact with people in a world that can tell us so much about who we are, if we listen. Our children are a very rich source for this, though we might not always like what we hear – or see.
A personal coach, or even a counselor, can be invaluable. Our life is a mirror, it reflects back to us who we are being, but you can often struggle to see the wood from the trees; particularly if you have little time or headspace.
One exercise, that is quite powerful, is to write a list of all the people you admire and what you admire about them. This will give you a list of traits that live, to some extent, within yourself.
A journal is another way of unwinding some of your thoughts on this. For more practical tips on the process, I really like Dr Robin Smith's Rediscover Who You Are series on Oprah.com.
There are many pointers to your authentic self, listen to those, and then listen within to discern what is right for you.
While discovering who you really are is a lifelong journey, I encourage you to start. A world filled with people being who they really are, is a much better world than the one we live in today, for everyone, It starts with you.
This article was originally Published on LinkedIn.
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