Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free. – Eckhart Tolle
Mindfulness has nothing to do with becoming someone else and everything to do with becoming who you already are.
You might wonder how you can become something that you already are. Almost all us have become removed from ourselves over the years, to a certain extent; some more than others. We take on layers upon layers of external influences, from parents, teachers, friends, television and society. Sometimes we forget who we truly are and what we want.
I have been trying to be someone I am not, in many ways, throughout my life.
I tried to be the perfectly polished girl, with my hair all done and voluntarily torturing myself walking in high heels every single day. I just never quite managed to pull it off, which lead to some serious frustration. I always had a broken nail, chipped nail polish, a knot in my hair, a stain on my clothes or some lipstick on my teeth. I tried to be the career girl and finish my university with good grades, acquire a serious job, at a serious company, with a serious salary. Except, as I walked that path, I only felt more and more resentment towards it. And when I finally did get that fancy job, I got fired within no time because the resentment and boredom was dripping off my face, no matter how hard I tried to want it and like it.
I thought I wanted a fancy car to drive around in and expensive clothes with a designer bag. I honestly thought it would make me happy, because I unconsciously thought it would make me worthy. It was obvious that who I was trying to become wasn’t really working for me, but it was still so hard to let go of trying since, if I wasn’t that girl, I had no clue who I actually was. And not knowing who you are is scary stuff. We form this identity, when we are young, both of who we think we are but mostly of who we think we need to be. And this is how most of the people around us know us and accept us. It is how you know yourself and how your parents know you.
Sometimes, later in life, you suddenly realize that this identity just isn’t you anymore, or maybe that it’s never really been you. It was someone you thought you needed to be to be accepted by your surroundings. Letting go of who we were is scary, just like all change is scary. You have to figure out who you actually are and you might even end up in a kind of identity crisis, a period of not really knowing. So what happens if you start to understand who you really are and what you want and you start to act on it? What would others think of you? Would they still love and accept you?
The truth is, not everyone will accept you, and that is OK.
You will face some resistance from your surroundings, which is a natural reaction to change. If, for example, you are a people pleaser, in order to be liked by everyone, and you start to set healthy boundaries, people will be surprised and unhappy when they discover their expectation to always rely on you isn’t being met. If your party friends that are still in the habit of drinking themselves into a delirium every single weekend cannot rely on you to do the same anymore, they might feel like you stopped indirectly validating their behavior.
When you give up pursuing your career as a lawyer and start following your heart by doing something creative, you lose the status that made your parents so proud. They might not understand. The chance is big you will actually lose friends along the way to becoming yourself, and although this hurts, it is OK, it’s part of the process. People that you will lose are the people that were with you because of the you that wasn’t really you in the first place, and they will make space for new people in your life that will suit you better. If people reject your true and authentic self, let them go with love. They are not for you! You become like the people you surround yourself with. If those friends do not align with your values anymore and are keeping you small, you’re actually do yourself a favor by letting them go. You’ll allow people in that will empower the real you. Losing friends you love is painful but also a sign that you are growing and evolving as a person.
In the end, for me, I couldn’t continue spending my life in an office any longer, it was just not who I was. I felt like I was wasting every minute I spent there and used to think, what if this is it, what if this is life? Spending five days a week feeling purposeless and working for some else’s dream, feeling like I was watching my time ticking away. I knew I had to take a massive leap of faith and reinvent who I was and the direction I was taking. It definitely didn’t happen without a struggle. I felt like I was wasting my six years spent studying by doing nothing with it. I had to give up the security of knowing what would happen and where I was going. I had just started working on my PhD, which gave me a feeling of achievement, like I was going somewhere in life. I was scared of what people would think of me, I was scared they would see me as a failure who was wasting her life. And it sure was the response I got from some people who were really close to me. They wanted the best for me and were trying to prevent me from making a huge mistake. All you can do in the face of resistance is to stay true to yourself and go ahead and do it anyway, despite what anyone else thinks.
Moving closer to your true self is never a mistake.
All you can do is trust. Get to know who you are more and more by quieting the noise around you. Listen to what your heart tells you through meditation. And trust, always trust, that when you move into a more authentic direction, it will work out for you. Because you are moving towards the path you are supposed to be on and the universe will support you in that. Trust that the people that are right for you will stay in your life and understand. Trust that you will make it work financially. Trust that you will be the happiest and the most successful when you’re being yourself. There is only one you. There is literally no one else like you on this earth, which makes this your ultimate power. Your uniqueness. We are all here for a reason and the only way to find out what your purpose is, is to shed all the layers of you and become who you already were in the first place.
Dress the way that is true to you, not caring about what is in fashion or how your friends dress. Walk and talk your true self. Surround yourself with people that support and uplift you. Do the work you love and that inspires you. Make choices that align with your values and that feel good to you. Stop seeking out validation from others but, instead, validate yourself and own who you are.