I recently posted an article called, Designing a Personal Transformation, on Facebook. I was pleased that several people were motivated to comment on this article, but there was one comment in particular that got my attention. Here’s the comment, “change nothing, just be yourself and experience peace.”
How do you feel about that statement?
The more I thought about it, the more thought-provoking it became. It is very true that to experience peace we must live in harmony with our true self. Striving to be something we are not only creates internal conflict and disharmony. So on this level I completely agree with the statement, “just be yourself.”
But which part of ourselves should we be?
Within each of us is the capacity to be generous or selfish, understanding or harsh, loving or unloving. It is up to each of us as individuals to choose what aspects of our character we want to nurture and develop. Clearly, if we want to maximize our potential, we need to make wise choices about the kind of person we will allow ourselves to become.
Prisons are full of people who were just being themselves. The problem is that the aspects of their personality that they chose to express had a negative effect on the world around them. So the philosophy of “just be yourself and everything will turn out fine” seems a little simplistic, don’t you think?
Who else could we be?
While it is true that everything we are, or will ever become, is already part of our true self. It is also true that most people do not know how to make the most of their incredible potential because they do not understand their true self. This is where learning advanced life skills can open the door to self-discovery and personal growth.
But no matter what kind of personal change we experience, we don’t grow into someone else, we develop into the best possible version of ourselves. Regardless of how it is expressed, we will always be ourselves. Think about it, who else could we possibly be?
We get to decide who we will become
Finding the best expression of our true self can involve any number of choices and challenges. Sometimes we need to learn to let go of those stealthy, little, self-imposed obstacles that can block our ability to realize who we really are. Other times, it’s about finding our passions or adjusting our focus to harmonize with our true nature.
Self-expression can be the vehicle by which we achieve our dreams, or it can land us behind bars. If we operated solely on instinct, the way animals do, there would be no room for choices and no basis for accountability. As humans though, we have the ability to exercise freedom of choice, and like it or not, with that freedom comes accountability.
Why accountability is a good thing
Accountability is a two-sided coin. If we use our freedom of choice in an unwise fashion, then we may experience undesirable consequences. On the other hand, if we make wise choices concerning the person we allow ourselves to become, life can be extremely rewarding.
Every single day of our life will present us with choices. Big or small, those choices represent opportunities. Do we use our freedom of choice to encourage our personal growth and development in a positive direction? Will we embrace the reality that the person we become is the culmination of the choices we make day in and day out, year after year?
When we accept personal responsibility for who we are, and how we impact the world around us, we grow. When we choose to be accountable to ourselves for our thoughts, our conduct, and our contribution, we add value to the world around us. Accepting the concept of accountability always creates opportunity.
Have you ever seen one of those cartoons where somebody has a little angel whispering in one ear, and a little devil on the opposite side, whispering in the other ear? One is saying, “Do the right thing,” while the other one is saying, “Never mind that, do what you want.”
In reality, those voices don’t come from any outside source. Those voices come from inside, and they are both a part of our nature. That is precisely why we need to make wise choices about which inner voice we will listen to. Nobody is all good or all bad, it’s not that cut and dried. Not one of us is always motivated to do the right thing, anymore than we are helpless against our wrong inclinations.
There is ALWAYS a choice
We listen to the voice we want to listen to, because ultimately, most people do what they want to do. What do you want to do? Which voice do you allow to guide your thoughts and actions?
Once we have an answer to those questions, it becomes a matter of developing the habit of consistently making choices that will support our decisions.
How to be yourself and be at peace
One of the best ways to develop a strong sense of inner peace is to take the time to discover your deepest personal values and passions. These two aspects of your true self define the person that you truly want to be. If you structure your self-expression around these core elements, you will create a deep sense of internal harmony.
Internal harmony is something that very few people ever realize because almost everyone is, to some degree, out of balance with their deepest values and passions. They are out of touch or insulated from their true self. When I work with others one-on-one, this is where we start. When I created TRUE SELF, this was the focus of the very first step. If you want a deep sense of inner peace, you need to discover what is at your very core, and build from there. You must discover your true self.
The self-discovery process
To be yourself, and be at peace with yourself, you must truly know yourself. Getting in touch with your true self is not usually as straightforward as we might like. The reason for this is because the real you likes to play hide and seek with your conscious mind. Our ego has a way of disguising our true self, so it requires some effort to unveil it.
We also have an emotional maze of pain and pleasure paradigms that will attempt to steer our efforts in the most comfortable direction. This is a built in safety mechanism that is designed to protect us emotionally, but it also tends to thwart our attempts at core discovery. If we are acting out of harmony with our true self we may subconsciously avoid facing that realization.
Not as difficult as it sounds
In spite of the psychological detours, the process is not as difficult as it might sound. By using a series of specially targeted questions, we can easily convince our deepest values and passions to come out of hiding and reveal themselves. Once that happens, the ability to “just be our true self, and be at peace,” tends to unfold naturally.
So, here we are back at that thought provoking facebook comment, “just be yourself and experience peace.” Do I agree with that statement? Yes, as long as that person you call yourself is in reality your true self.
How about you –
Do you feel that just being yourself will lead to inner peace?
Do you feel truly aware of and connected to your authentic self?
The lines are open!