Why should you be yourself? The simple answer is 'because everyone else is taken' - it's both the simple answer and an accurate answer. The important question is 'why are we not ourselves?' What is the pay off for not being ourselves? Ahhh, now we're talking.
To begin with, what would cause us to not want to be ourselves? For some of us, we may have been raised in environments where it was dangerous to be who we are. Even as adults we may be working in environments that demand that we be other than who we are in order to ensure job security. So we conclude, I have to be other than I am to get what I want i.e. love, safety, income etc.
We may have learned to believe 'who I am is not good enough to be loved, guaranteed safety, approved of'. We may have been told 'who you are is not worth treating well'. We may have learned 'who you are is not good enough to meet my standards for 'being good enough'. We may become convinced that we are less than we should be.
When we feel not good enough what happens to our lives? We end up putting things on hold until we feel we 'deserve' by becoming good enough. We spend so much time striving to feel that we're good enough. Have I accomplished enough, am I good looking enough, is my car big/fast/exclusive enough, is my job title high enough, do I have enough awards to be good enough? Exhausting isn't it?
Self worth and authenticity are intrinsically linked. The worth we have in our own eyes, a sense of worth not built on acquisition, job title, appearance, credentials - is the only worth, worth living out of. How many of us realise that we have an intrinsic worth greater than anything on the outside? If we go through life with a sense of being deficient then we are motivated to acquire value - the things that others value in the world then become our aim in life. I may not be good enough in and of myself but look what I've got, becomes our calling card.
Sooner or later, things fall apart, if we're lucky. It can take many forms e.g we can lose everything we spent our whole lives accruing or we meet someone or a situation who places no value on our 'social bling'. We run helter skelter trying to get them to 'see' us as our bling or we go somewhere else. But there's a crack in the tea cup. When it finally breaks open, our break down becomes our breakthrough.
We begin to look for another way. What we've been looking for is a way to feel good about who we are, under all circumstance. We don't always realise it at first since there's much howling in pain and hanging onto fast disappearing 'bling'.
The breakthrough cracks us wide open and everything we've been taught is 'wrong' with us, all the things we've been taught make us 'not good enough' stare us in the face. Excruciating at first but if we stay, refuse to take flight, we can transform. Now begins the re-acquainting ourselves with the 'real' us, all of it.
There are many transformation technologies from journaling, meditation, prayer, walking, to body work, among others. We tend to gravitate towards one that works for us. Soon the pain subsides, loses its edge. We don't feel so raw. Our lives may be in shambles around us but we can stand to be alive and increasingly we can stand to be ourselves. We live in a time of infinite help with wonderful teachers who can assist us in moving out of our debris; emotional, psychological and spiritual.
Not being who we are, may be something we picked up at our beginning but was never a part of our being and we need not continue with it.
Bella Enahoro is the founder of http://www.livewellaudio.com a Motivational company that helps individuals,non-profits and companies improve their lives, build communities, profts and positive impact.
Visit her website for the latest on audiobooks, downloads and articles on self-help, personal growth, professional development and spirituality.