I have heard this term a lot since coming to yoga. ‘Be yourself, be the best version of yourself, be authentic, be true to yourself’. Although I thought it sounded rather nice I was never really sure what it meant.
What does being yourself mean? How do we really be ourselves? When are we being ourselves?How often are we truly us?
One of my teachers called me a Chameleon once. I thought that sounded good until I realised he meant I could be anyone that I wanted to be to please others. This can be a useful skill if you are trying to be liked on facebook, but not so useful if it compromises your true nature. While we wear so many hats sometimes it is hard to identify with the right hat for a smooth life. Here is my quick check list to see if you are living a life of authenticity or a life of fiction.
You have values that you live by and will stand up to and justify if needed, …………..or you agree with what everyone says even if it goes against your grain.
If you want or need something you go out to find it …… or you disregard that need or want if you feel it will compromise others opinion of you.
You are able to make self-honoring choices……or you can make no choice at all/the wrong choice because others are telling you what is right.
Your fears and judgements of yourself are put to one side……..or you put on a mask on every day so people can’t see your fears and judgements.
Your life work reflects your goals, interests, talents and gifts……. or you are doing a job because you think you have to or someone told you to do it when you were younger
Everything will work out well if you are living your truth. People WILL like you and they WILL respect you. The closer you stay to your emotional and intellectual authenticity the less likely you are to go wrong. I often worry about being my authentic self because that person is a little crazy to be honest and I fear rejection. We all have our own versions of this.
Practice for today: Where are you not being quite honest with yourself? Where is the way you act or think a little fictional or masked to please others. Take a moment to feel deep down inside what is the right way to be for you, what is the best way to act, for you. Then go there. The world is waiting quite desperately for you to be the best version of your true self.
This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~ Hamlet, Shakespeare