‘Give the world the gift of my true, authentic self’; I’m not sure exactly what my life purpose is, but this is pretty close to it.

‘Just be yourself’ is one of the most common pieces of advice given to people. It’s easy to say; it’s easy to just say this to someone so that you don’t have to say anything else. In reality though, as hard as it can be to take this advice (I’ve been there – it’s annoying!), deep down it’s really good advice. I think ‘being yourself’ is one of those things that I think everyone strives for, just like we strive for food, fun, love, etc. So what does it mean?

To me, it means that you are positively selfish (more on that later) and you are true to the part of you that is deeper than social conditioning, deeper than fear, deeper than your daily to-do list. It’s tapping into your true nature – the part of you that has been longing to come out ever since you were born. You’ve probably seen glimpses of it in your life – maybe you’re lucky and you’ve seen more than a few glimpses! It’s the part of you that flows effortlessly, the part that doesn’t have to ‘try hard’ to impress other people, the part that laughs at self-doubt and fear and pushes through them. It feels so comfortable – like you’ve got nowhere to go (in a healthy, positive way, not in a ‘got no direction’ way!) because you’re already there; you’re already this true person right now, it’s just there are probably a few (well, maybe a lot!) of layers of negativity you have to work through in order to be able to let your true self shine. Well, I thought they had to be worked through. For most of my life I’ve always seen ‘problems’ – things to be fixed. And to an extent there are problems (if you feel you have a deep psychological problem, for example, then obviously the right help should be sought) that require solutions, but I think for the most part, focusing on the positive aspects of things (and ‘bypassing’ the negative) can be extremely beneficial.

But think of it this way: think of your true self as a light, and all the social conditioning, the excuses, the fear, the anger, the suppressed emotions, the self-doubt, the insecurity (etc, etc, etc!)  as darkness. If you want to be able to see, you don’t need to do anything with the darkness. The only way to transform darkness into light is by, you guessed it, turning on a light! What I mean by this is that your light, your true self, shines through everything else, and transforms the darkness into light.

Earlier I mentioned being ‘positively selfish’; I’ll explain what I mean. You’ve probably heard before that you have to help yourself before you can help anyone else – that’s why you’re always told to ‘put your own life jacket on first’ because you’re no good to anyone if you haven’t got one on yourself. It’s the same principle in life – you’re only of use to the world, only going to be truly happy (and help others be truly happy), if you look after number one first. That obviously doesn’t mean you should never do anything kind for anyone else! It just means that you need to look after yourself first. This might mean different things to different people, but the following list gives you a few examples of what it means to me:

  • Being able to say ‘no’ to people – I value my time, so I choose what to do with it; if someone offers/asks me to do something and I have my own thing going on, it’s OK to say ‘no’, you don’t have to say ‘yes’ just to please the other person. It’s something for you to consider, not something for you to bow down to.
  • Breathing slowly and deeply in order to feel centered.
  • Meditation – taking time each day to just ‘be’, rather than to ‘do’. We are human beings – not human doings – after all!
  • Being outdoors and in nature – they’re very grounding, calming and centring (for the post on grounding see http://fittoflourish.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/grounding).
  • Doing courage – this is an important one. It takes a lot of courage to be yourself – particularly when it goes against what everyone else seems to be doing. Take the plunge – you owe it to yourself and the world! I think I’ll have to talk more about fear and courage soon…

I hope that will give you some motivation, inspiration and courage to be yourself today!

David x

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