I read this quote on a social media site last week sometime. I am pretty sure I have heard it before but it popped up again last week and grabbed my attention.
So often in the past, I have said, "Oh...if it is meant to be, it will be" or "If it is supposed to happen, it will happen" or 'I will leave it up to the universe (or God or whatever your belief is) to decide." These are all phrases, not only I have said, but have heard many many people say over the years.
So when I heard the phrase - it if is to be, it is up to me - last week, I realised I had been looking at things the wrong way! I realised that I had been changing the phrase to suit myself, to let myself off the hook, to give myself an excuse for things not happening the way I wanted. Leaving my life and future in the hands of 'If it is meant to be, it will happen' was taking away any control I had of taking my own actions towards living the life and dreams I had.
But why? Why do we do this? I know that we can not control the outcome of things in life but we can certainly control who we are, how we show up and the amount of work we decide to put into things. So why don't we do as much as we can in the areas we can control? What gets in the way of us showing up as ourselves, owning who we are and what we want to do, and being our true selves with an awareness of who we want to become in this world?
My theory: we don't show up as ourselves often enough or take control of living out our dreams because we are afraid of what other people will think of us if we do and we do not have quite enough self-awareness yet to bring about the change we desire. Becoming more self-aware of who we are and what we want to achieve in this lifetime and learning how to show up as your most authentic self, will change everything.
To Thine Self Be True
Shakespeare wrote this in 'Hamlet' many lifetimes ago and while it is interpreted in different ways, the true meaning is not as complicated as we might think. This is simply about authenticity - Knowing who we are, being self-aware, matching what we say with what we really mean, being aware of how we are feeling and what is happening on the inside. I think we often find this hard, especially in today's world because even with good intentions, the world becomes easily offended instead of acknowledging that we are all different and have different perspectives and opinions and as a result, we put on a mask to show up as who people think we should be.
We all wear them. Not a literal mask of course! But we wear the mask of who we think we are supposed to be and often we have more than one. We show up as someone different at work, in social settings, with friends and with family. The problem with wearing the masks is that we lose who we are and we create an inner struggle because we are not showing up as our truest selves. The masks compromise our ability to be authentic and inhibit people from seeing our true selves. You will never know who you are unless you shed who you pretend to be.
Authentic is defined as: “not false or copied; genuine; real.” And, my favourite definition, “representing one's true nature or beliefs; true to oneself." Being your most authentic self requires courage. Not everyone will like you but no-one can get to know you if they don't have the opportunity because you are not showing your true self to the world.
Your self-worth is determined but you and you alone. We often search for our self-worth in things outside of us or based on what other people think of us or how well we are doing our job. You don't have to depend on someone telling you who you are. The only person you will live with your entire life is yourself. So the only person who can determine your self-worth is you. Determining your own self-worth will allow you to present your authentic and beautifully imperfect self to the world. When this happens, then you will find true belonging and courage. But our sense of belonging will never be greater than our level of self-acceptance and self-worth. You get to choose your worth.
So, if it is to be, it is up to me. If I want to achieve certain goals or dreams in my life, then it is my responsibility to go out and take action instead of waiting for something to happen. It is up to us to take action, put in the hard work, show up as our authentic selves. The universe has a funny sense of humour and of course, things do not always go according to our plan but they always work out the right way with the right lessons for us.
But if we are sitting around, waiting for something to happen, don't be surprised when nothing happens. Yes...wonderful things are out there. I teach my students they can become whoever and do whatever they want. But if you are sitting back and taking no action and waiting for things to drop into your lap, you could be waiting a long long time! So here are things I am working on that I find helpful, that you may find useful too - for big and little humans alike!
A few questions to ask yourself first:
How much of the time do you feel that you can be the real you?
Are you easily influenced by other people?
Do you always stand up for what you believe in?
What gets in the way of you being yourself?
How well do you know yourself?
Do you feel like you have to act a particular way in different settings or with different people?
To know yourself is the beginning of all wisdom (Aristotle). We have three things we need to live our best life.
Know yourself. Be authentic. Have courage.
No-one can, for any considerable amount of time, show up with masks on and not be their true selves. Eventually, we get lost behind all the masks and we forget who our true self is. To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else will be your greatest accomplishment.
Decide Who You Are
This is a line I have been saying a lot to my classroom full of ten years olds because peer pressure, friendships and social influence play a significant role in their young lives and at a time when they are still trying to figure out who they are - it is important to know, it is okay to be yourself.
Decide who you want to be and then go and be it! Not everyone in the world will like what you do/ say/ look like/ how you act. You are going to have to learn to be okay with that early. We are conditioned to want to be liked by everyone! Sorry....it is simply not going to happen. So you may as well be okay with it and be yourself. We all have our odd little habits and things we do but if you know yourself you will not be harmed by what is said about you.
Being aware of who you are is having the ability to recognise that is your responsibility to create your reality and the world around you. People's perceptions of you and who they think you are will be many and varied. Their perception of you is simply a reflection of themselves. How you react to people's perceptions is where the heart of your self-awareness lies and knowing who you truly are as a person. When you know yourself, you are empowered. When you accept who you are and you are okay with it, then you become invincible and perceptions won't matter as much as you thought they did! And once you know who you want to be and who you are, you will find that the right people will come into your life.
Being your authentic self in the world, regardless of age, requires vulnerability. Vulnerability is a strength. It is having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness. It is our greatest measure of courage. (Brene Brown) Being authentic and being vulnerable is a choice we get to make every single day. It is the choice to show up and be real. It is the choice to be honest and to allow our true selves to be seen by the world around us.
Until next week...may the world see your most true, authentic and beautiful self.
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