We hear it all the time: “ just be yourself!” We hear it when we are going to a job interview, presenting at an important meeting or when we are meeting someone for the first time. We’ve been hearing since we were adolescents. So, what does being yourself mean? Many times we think that being yourself means doing whatever we want. The problem with that is that more often than not what we want is guided by the ego, and it’s not aligned with what we need. What we “want” has been obscured by years of conditioning and expectations, creating false beliefs about how we should or should not be. What we want is not really who we are or what we need. Do we want fame, power or money? Or do we simply want inner peace and happiness? What do we really want? and how do we know?
Being yourself is not doing whatever you want, being yourself means being present, observing what you want. When we observe what we want we can access a deeper meaning that reveals who our true self is and what it truly needs, not just what it wants. By being present we can "find ourselves”, only to realize that it was there all along, but we just didn't know. So let’s take sometime every day to practice mindfulness and be present, fully present; when we are on our way to that interview or when are meeting someone for the first time. Or when talking to our children or our loved ones.
Then, after all these years, like Derek Walcott says, we will finally meet “ the stranger who was your self” .
Love after Love,
-By Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.