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just be yourself

This bit of spiritual, inspirational, motivational wisdom is one that most people will nod at and agree with, yet few seem to pause and take the time to fully contemplate what it means. So how about we take a look?

bumblebess are pretty good at bee-ing themselves

looking inside

Among the few that take that moment to contemplate the fullness of that saying, many seem to be unable to pinpoint this 'yourself' they are invited to be. Who am I, they ask? Or alternatively they reject the whole idea, because who would want to be that?

For when they look inside, to find this Self, they meet agitation, anxiety, pressure, lack of self-worth, judgement, internalised judgement, fear, pain.

Sound familiar?

To me these speak strongly of the pain body. The pain body is an identity layer that most human beings develop in response to their environment, in response to censure and corrections from family, school, employers, friends, and society in general.

This pain body is also referred to as the false self.

And it is very likely you are already pretty good at being this false self.

It is highly likely you are already being this false self pretty much most of the time.

I cannot be entirely sure, of course, yet I think that this is not the 'yourself' you are invited - you are told? - to be.

Here's where taking a moment to pause and inquire becomes a true goldmine.

pause and inquire

What does "just be yourself" speak about?

Of course, as I can already hear, the self referred to here is the true self. The authentic self.

Great. And who is that?

Do you know?

Those two questions touch on why "just be yourself" to me is less motivational wisdom, and more the invitation to go on a journey of discovery, inside of yourself.

An invitation to start getting to know the true self.

How does it feel, inside of you? How does it express? How does it want to be?

Where can you feel and express and be that?

Maybe you already are, here and there, with certain people or when alone.

You don't know and wonder how to get to know this true self?

Take a moment to contemplate things that are good no matter what. Places, other beings, activities. Whether it's going for long walks on the beach or playing video games: what are the things on your good list?

And how do they make you feel?

Calm, safe, relaxed, free?

Uplifted, energised, fulfilled, completed?

There is your true self speaking to you. Now it's up to you to connect with that aspect. Get to know it better, like you would another person.

The true self is there, already. It does not need to be forged, it does not need to be created.

All you need to do is pay a little attention and discover who that is.

And be ready to be not just blown away, but completely surprised as well. Your true self might be someone you never thought it could be!

I love it when I surprise myself like that. Who are you and where have you been all my life?

Inside. Hidden, behind defensive walls. Lost, in the false self.

Because here is the truth that is potentially hard to hear ~ or potentially you already know:

Discovering the true self is only the beginning. The next step is to be that. To express it. To live it.

a sacred quest for truth

Suddenly "just be yourself" becomes more than an invitation to go on a magical journey ~ this is where it becomes your quest for the holy grail, the rite of passage, the initiation.

To truly be yourself, to express it and live it, means to be vulnerable.

The false self, the pain body, did not develop out of nothing. It arises from the pain we all experience during the formative years ~ yes, we all do! Every time we are told not to do something that gives us joy, because "it is not done". Every time we are told to not express authentically because it is too loud, too noisy, too disruptive, good children don't do that. Every time being authentic gets us called names, mocked, laughed at.

"just be yourself" ~ an innocent bit of inspirational pep-talk becomes something much bigger, much deeper: an invitation to become vulnerable.

And vulnerable is one of those things we have learnt not to be.

It is scary.

It might feel life threatening.

It might actually be life threatening.

And here is where we decide who we are: the true self, that is likely to create friction in the external world but give us everything we have ever really wanted internally ~ or the false self, that is internal pain but external safety.

The choice is up to each and every one of us.

And if you do not feel you have the courage to step out and up and be vulnerable, take a deep breath and be kind to yourself. Would the true self beat you up and mock you? Love yourself, the way you would wish to be loved.

The courage might come. Probably when you least expect it.

It might only ever be there when you are alone. Cherish that, honour that. That is already more than a good percentage of the world population is capable of. You do not need to be a crusader to be authentic.

Now, what has all of that to do with the bumblebee?

bumblebee and the true self

Nothing ~ and everything. A bumblebee has an advantage over the human animal: she does not have a false self. She does not need to quest and journey to find her true self.

She already is her true self, fully and truly, in every moment. It is all she ever is.

She doesn't even know she is a bumblebee. Bumblebee, that is the word, the name, the label we have created for her. In one language.

But she does not need to know herself as a bumblebee. Or Hummel. Or bourdon. Or abejorro. Or randafluga.

She knows herself as herself.

So that is who she is.


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