Insights: To Thine Own Self Be True
To Thine Own Self Be True…but What is True and How can I be Myself?
We all want to be our real selves. We know that when we are, we are our most comfortable and most effective. But, what is our “real self” and how do we know when we’re there?
Most of us, unfortunately, have a distorted sense of “self.” We tend to believe that we are who we think we are, instead of who we really are. Finding your true self is no easy task. You may ask your friends and get one answer, while asking colleagues gets another. You may not trust any answer you get. Your thinking may be influenced by the way your parents and early friends “always” described you, yet… you’ve long since grown out of that characterization. And, finding your real self can be painful. Invariably, it is some combination of those things that you most like about yourself and at the same time… those very things that you either have no sense of or dislike about yourself and choose to reject. And, the more important or powerful our influence in our workplace, community, or family… the more difficult it can be to get that true picture. We all know the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. It is a classic example of this very conundrum.
Finding your “real” self can be a long and demanding process that takes time and often only surfaces with advanced age. It is borne of successes and failures. Many today seem willing to live with that distorted self-image we’ve chosen for ourselves or the superficial characterization developed by others, but… there are some who choose to seek a sense of real “selfdom.” The starting point ? – gaining a more objective view of yourself based on both the good qualities as well as the deep and troubling faults. With that view, and with work, you grow… learning to either change what you don’t like or accepting your weaknesses – without judgment – alongside your strengths.
That’s the beginning of a Journey that will ultimately connect each of us, not just with ourselves… but with each other. If we can accept our “real” self and own that connection, begin to see how we affect others…we can then begin to construct the bridges it takes to truly communicate, build trust, and make a difference. It’s a lifelong process and one that despite its requirement of patience and pain is the ultimate goal of maturity and the secret to a satisfying life among others and within ourselves.