Being Myself

Being Myself

 What do you mean by being myself, how do I know I am being myself?  Asked one little friend of mine who was told at school by their teacher to be themselves.

I felt this was a very good question by the child. How do we know? What exactly are we looking for? And as I am writing I realise this monologue could go in any direction, so let me take it in the direction of what my friend was asking. 

How do I know I am being myself? To know that maybe we first need to first ask, How do I know am not being myself?

Let’s take a small chunk, how do I know am not feeling angry? And one may say, my body feels at ease and it feels relaxed, and light, and I am speaking at a normal pace and am able to listen, focus, etc… 

So how do we possibly know that we are not being ourselves? And as you are reading this, just check with yourself.

It took me a while to realise what it meant to not be myself and I also know why, as today when I look back I realise I was used to constantly looking at myself through other people’s eyes. I was so used to keep changing /adapting myself based on the people I was with. And my measure of how to be was seeing approval in other people’s eyes, and being liked by them. 

The focus was so much on being liked that I was not even aware that the restlessness or emptiness that I used to feel back then was not because of nervousness but my true self being uncomfortable with the garb I was putting on. It was trying to get out of it.

But as they say, sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.”

I experienced something like that, some years back. 

I used to perennially second guess how I need to be with most people back then. There were very few that I recall I felt easygoing with. 

I had just gotten into training, it was a new space, I used to feel unsure and tentative about what I was doing, hoping that I do a good job and I get recommended. 

When I was conducting this two-day training, the participants were these senior people, who looked like they were kind of unwillingly sitting for the training. A few of them announced that on the following day they will be not be attending the second half as there was a group in-house meeting that they had to attend. I remember being unfazed and saying sure. 

In the training, I could very clearly sense the disinterest from most of them but a few were keen to learn. Then these senior leaders decided to kind of test me, and asked me how to deal with a few situations and mentioned, that it would be more helpful if I could include that as a part of the training. I remember feeling perfectly calm and okay in stating that I did not know one of them but the other two I can. And impromptu I started teaching them that. 

I spoke from my heart, knowledge, and experience. By the end of the session on day one I could feel all of them in a way accept me as their trainer, but I realised that was not my intent or my focus. I was feeling very different as the day ended, I felt I was being me in that program, one hundred percent. I could feel I was in rapport with myself. 

My intent was to teach, listen and serve powerfully. I was so connected with myself, my purpose, and the joy of doing what I was doing. That’s when I discovered myself!  The real me loved to add value to people in whatever way, be respectful, and be a continuous learner. 

Being liked or accepted or making a good impression or wondering how they might discuss me after the session was not present at all. I realised when I let go of these window dressings, being myself just emerges naturally. 

So to my young friend and all of you out there. Just check within yourself, observe yourself, listen to your inner voice, and observe the sensations in your physiology. You will know when you are being yourself and when you are not!

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