In my life, I tried hard to please people and one way I found of doing that, was to act in a way that pleased them. As children, this is how we learn right from wrong, good from bad. When we do something that is viewed as incorrect, we are admonished or punished. When we do something that is right, we are praised and rewarded. This encourages us to develop behaviours and thinking that makes us seek out the rewards. It is a form of training. We are trained to conform to the rules of society, to our family's beliefs, to a religious view, to a teacher's needs. In this way, we develop and the characteristics of our true selves, those things that define who we actually are as a person, as slowly and surely hidden - if we find that they do not conform to that which is required of us.
I grew up with the firm belief implanted in my mind that I had to find a good job, leave home, find a partner, get married, buy a house, create a home, raise a family, and then to eventually retire. Everything around me told me this was so, and I firmly believed it. In order to fit in and conform, I adopted different personality traits to suit differing situations in which I found myself. At home, at work, out socialising with friends, with extended family. Then it might depend on whether I was with this colleague or that colleague, my boss, my parents, my brother, my sister, my friends, my uncles, my aunts, my grandparents, my cousins on my father's side, my cousins on my mother's side, my father's friends, my mother's friends. my brothers friends, my sisters friends, my girlfriend, my girlfriends friends, my girlfriends parents and so on. Each of these people received a slightly different version of me. Much of it was the same, but certain behaviours and personality traits were either hidden completely, muted down, or extenuated and amplified.
I knew that I did this. I referred to myself as a chameleon, always able to adapt to a situation and the people involved in it. I liked that I was able to do this and viewed it as a strength. It meant that people were always comfortable with me. That I was able to find a way to relate to everyone on some level. I have never really thought about why I did this until now.
So, why did I do it? The truth is that I was not comfortable with being my true self. I had established a dislike of my own self. I craved love and attention and did not wish to upset anyone or to alienate them. I was embarrassed to be me, I was afraid to be me. I feared that the true me would not be liked, that I would be laughed at, that I would be made fun of, that I would suffer humiliation.
For years I went on trying to be someone else. Essentially, I was living someone else's life. I was living from a script, reading lines, following cues and directions, acting for an audience. I was not myself. What chance did I ever have of finding love in another soul, and of expecting that other person to love me, if I did not even love myself or respect myself enough to be the real me?
Then everything began to change. Chance, fortune, luck. Was it these that changed my life or was it that I had reached a place and a time where my true self could no longer be held back? I know that it is a combination of everything. That is what life is. It is not one single moment that defines us or alters us, it is everything that has led us to that point. It is every joy, every happiness, every hope, every doubt, every sadness, every glory, every loss, every elation, every fear. Whatever it was, the dam broke and I burst forth. My heart had been released and I began to finally become myself. I began to allow myself to be comfortable being me.
Through that subconscious decision to finally step into my own light, my whole world changed. I began to see life not as an endless series of mind-numbing, unthinking and necessary acts that will take me from point A to point B, but rather as one miracle after another. By becoming myself, I became life. By becoming myself, I became the light. And by becoming myself, I became love. I allowed myself to make the ultimate discovery: That love is found from within. Once that is love is discovered, then the love from without is found not in another, but rather in a reflection of your own soul and in your own love. Love holds a mirror and in that mirror will be reflected all that you hold in your own heart.
To discover your true self, is the true path. To know your true self, is your purpose. To accept your true self, that take courage and it takes an act of love. From my own personal journey, I can tell you one thing I know for sure. The moment that you accept yourself is the moment that your truly start to live and love.