It’s a New Year, and I’ve been reflecting on what I want out of 2017. Like really want, my soul’s longing. And it has nothing to do with diet, workout routines, more productive habits, or even meditation. Quite the opposite, in fact. My deepest longest is to see and accept my true self, as I am, and by extension, be my fullest self in every moment. And from that, I believe, comes true freedom.
Sound great. The only problem is: I have spent an entire lifetime crafting a veneer, a self-image, carefully developed to meet society’s expectations of me. I have learned to play the role other have scripted for me. On the surface, I look great. I have accumulated a collection of prestigious degrees, a beautiful place to live, and a rich network of friends. I am a skilled conversationalist, with the right words in a given situation to please or appease. I post glorious photos on Facebook about my fabulous life. Physically and mentally, I am in good clinical health. On the surface level, it seems like success. But when I listen quietly, I feel the incongruity.
To make matters worse, I am a meditator, a yogi, a teacher on feelings and emotions, a scholar on authentic human connections – which makes me even more skilled at self-deception (and this insight all the more surprising). It took most of 2016 – culminating in an intensive 8-day workshop in December – to surface this pattern clearly.
And so what to do, where to begin? How do I free myself of the shackles of my own “success” – in being who I was taught the world wanted me to be?
The answer I have come to is: make the journey public. Fundamentally, my carefully crafted image exists because I want to be liked, admired, employed, and “successful.” There is a safety in neutrality, in silence, in keeping my warts hidden. By sharing my raw self, and my journey, the image is shattered. For when a truth is released onto the internet, there is nowhere to hide. And when exposed in the open, the voices of fear inside me lose power. Even as I type this, I can feel anxiety shudder through my body – which is all the more reason to hit “post.”
And so this is my commitment: to write a series of confessions and reflections in 2017 on how I have been inauthentic and out of integrity, alongside a commitment to realign myself going forward. My intention is to be raw, to be vulnerable, to be real, and to be at peace with whatever response I elicit. That’s the journey.
To push myself a bit further, here is a preview of some areas that have been untrue for me, that I will explore more deeply in the coming weeks:
- I say what you want to hear, instead of what my heart says is true.
- I have let my roles and degrees define me, and distance me from others.
- I say I love and care about you, but I hold you a safe distance from my heart.
- I have numbed myself to feeling the things that really matter to me, because I feel powerless to change them.
- I subtly distort the truth in an effort to be liked and maintain a self-image.
Let the journey begin. To discovering the Truth inside!