How to Tune in to the Real You
There are many complicated aspects to every single one of us. We have different preferences, likes and dislikes and we all experience joy and fear in different settings.
On a broader scale, we all possess our ‘social self’ and our ‘essential/true self’
Our true self/the real you
This is the person we are meant to be – the person that can emerge if we use all of our resources, explore and don’t allow fear and negativity get the better of us. Our true self begins to get stifled by others as we grow up. When we are around two years old, we use the word “No” a lot – this is our true self trying to protect who we are and the way we wish to go forth. Your parent tells you to stop touching the stereo and your defiant answer is “no”.
We all have natural preferences, talents and lean towards certain things/people more than others. That gut feeling you have – that’s your true self trying to communicate with you.
Your Social Self
Your social self begins to fight for dominance fairly early on and is in full swing by the time we are two years old. Our parents are doing their best but they also realise that we need to learn to conform and fit in if we are to succeed in life – this is a moot point and perhaps I should do a separate blog post on this.
Anyhow, our parents go about getting us ready to join society and so the brain washing and conditioning, to varying degrees, begins.
We are taught acceptable ways of behaving, we are told to be quiet in public places and we are shown a plethora of ways in which our social selves can excel at the expense of our essential/true selves. Say “please” and “thank you”, don’t fart in public and definitely don’t eat with your mouth open.
Learning the rules continues unabated and by our teenage years we are angst ridden and completely confused as to who we really are anymore.
How to get in tune with the real you
1) What did you used to enjoy doing?
Think back to your childhood – did you enjoy art/dance/reading? Reconnect with childhood activities that you loved.
2) Commit to living with integrity
You sell a little piece of your soul when you lie to keep the peace or to fit in with the company you are in. If someone you are with bad mouths a mutual friend that is absent, don’t just go along with it for the sake of an easy life. If it offends you or if you disagree, say so. There’s no need to be confrontational but it is important to match up who you are inside to the person you show the outside world.
3) Be congruent
Ensure that the image you show the world mirrors the person you are inside. When there is a huge difference between who you feel you really are and the person you show the world, an inner tension will exist and it will reduce your chances for happiness and self acceptance.
4) Tune inwards, not outwards
When we listen too much to others and care too much about what others think, our social self is winning. Stop worrying about what other people think – it’s your life. Be willing to stand out and be different even in the face of opposition.
5) Practise being assertive
If you live a passive life, you can bet your bottom dollar that your life will become more about pleasing others instead of yourself. We are conditioned (especially women) to be nurturing and out others ahead of ourselves and my belief is that we need to unlearn this damaging conditioning. It really is okay to consider your own needs as much as everyone else’s. Being assertive is about achieving a win-win situation for both people involved. Your needs are JUST AS IMPORTANT as anyone else’s – this includes your parents, your children, your spouse…
6) Keep fear and self limiting beliefs in perspective
Many of our fears and self limiting beliefs are learned. Our Real Self believes in us and would forge ahead with our desires and wishes whereas our Social Self is afraid of being judged, afraid of failure and rejection…
The only way to defeat fear is to push ahead and do it anyway. Baby steps if necessary but keep moving in the right direction. Others/society can only make you feel inferior if you allow it to.
7) Nurture self belief
Start making up your own rule book. Instead of living according to a prescribed ‘Book of Society’ that you didn’t get to consult on, draw up your own one. Of course, some universal life laws remain such as doing no harm to other living things. Take out the rules you don’t agree with and add in some of your own.
Who says you can’t wear a mini skirt after turning 40? If you want to – go for it. Who says that you mustn’t paint your car red with yellow spots? We forget to challenge all these rules that have been made for us yet it is vital to help us feel unique, stand out and believe in ourselves.
8) Don’t just talk, “Do”!
Many more people talk than take action. Don’t make this mistake. Get out there – go on that round-the-world trip. Speak up about that topic that has bothered you for ages – this is part of being authentic.
Be ready to do it differently, be ready to be noticed and accept that you will never be able to please everyone so go about pleasing yourself first.
Photo by James Jordan