“This above all: to thine own self be true” Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. I have pondered on this phrase for years. Everywhere you turn, there is something that speaks to our sense of self. We are encouraged to “be ourselves”. Being yourself seems self-explanatory.
The question I have asked myself however, is, “who am I”?
I had an idyllic upbringing with doting parents and loving siblings. My parents gave life to unconditional loving. I knew without a doubt, that I was cherished for just waking up everyday, breathing, eating, playing and sleeping. I did not need to be anything, other than who I was to make my parents and siblings so happy. Life before age nine was naturally easy, that I believed this world to be heaven.
When I was introduced to the concept of God in Sunday school, I believed only because the frowning lady called God ” my father”. I felt I already knew my dad was some kind of God. Her words made my young impressionable heart flutter. God was a father, wow how cool was that?
I was sent off to the boarding house with best intentions. Happily, I introduced myself to the other girls and found to my horror, not everyone smiled or laughed from the depths of their bellies. I was surprised that people existed that could beat me, just because they had power over me. We called those powerful humans “seniours” and worshiped them to avoid punishment. The world I knew prior to age nine was taken from me and this new reality was hard to digest.
I had to learn quickly, that there were several realities in this world. The one at home was heaven and school was hell. To survive in hell, I became a chameleon, staying under the radar, hoping I’d blend in and not draw attention to myself. I figured to make it through hell, you need to change as often as you can to adapt to its’ rising temperatures. I was full of self-doubt, so I molded my personality and beliefs based on those of my friends. I quickly became a part time liar to make others happy, trading unimaginable stories for love, affection or loyalty. I became a shadow of my old self, waiting impatiently for school to be over so, I could return to heaven, where my angels reside.
As the years flew by, I traded my authentic loving self for the security of being liked, because of my paralyzing fear of judgement. I had views that seemed different from everyone else, I just couldn’t share them. Every non-conformist knows, how hard it is to find others just like you. People who question the norm instead of believing everything they were told. Your internal dialogue with self, provides glimpses of what your truth is but to conform you ignore and just go with the flow.
By suppressing my opinions, I was perceived as easy going, interesting to be with and funny. Comedy became my way of a creating glimpse of heaven in the hell, I lived in. Every now and again, I could tell a hilarious joke, drawing out the familiar belly laughs from my audience. In those rare moments, I would feel peace. I continued to disrespect myself by allowing others, influence major decisions in my life. I did not trust me enough to show up in this world as I really am. I traded my loving nature for a pathetic fearful being who could be anything to anybody.
After many years of living in a maze, I turned 30 and my life began again. I decided to cut my relaxed hair and go natural. My husband served as my barber, helping me erase the old and welcome the new. As my thick shinny Afro grew, so did my self confidence. I got in touch with old friends, to get some useful feedback on past behaviour. This would begin a journey back to the heaven. The need to reawaken consciousness within me was as bright as the fires of old.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings
I started to read books, attend seminars, workshops, meditate and consume anything that led me to myself. I figured that I had missed me for so long and it was time to reconcile all separated parts.I was in search of my authentic self and I started attracting people who were just like me. To strengthen my new found faith, I started a movement focused on reawakening consciousness.
The Thinking School and Mind Experience Seminars were born. Since June 2016, we have consistently held our monthly meet-ups, building a love tribe who value themselves above all else.
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” ~ Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519).
One of my favourite quotes is from the Bible, “Love thy neighbour as yourself”. When you embrace all of who you are and become who you are meant to be, you will find that we truly exist to shine the light on the darkness with us. You will find that to love yourself completely, is to extend that same love to others. Authenticity, has true love at its very core. Love is devoid of judgement.
To be your authentic self is to transcend this realm to the seat of consciousness, where all your needs are met. You start to find abundance in yourself and love in the eyes of another.
I leave you with this quote from Voltaire, “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.” Life is too short to be anything but who you truly are.
May we spread both love + light.