Do any of us really know our self?
I’m talking about our true self. The one that inner speech, and socialization, and life choices..relationships, jobs, residency…work so hard to alter.
I’ve been reminded of my true self lately. Mostly though conversations with people I met because of this blog, and my precious sister in law, but also my obsessive journaling.
I find it curious how you sometimes can’t see yourself until you observe your reflection in another or written on a page.
I have so much negative inner speech in my brain. I don’t feel the need to place blame for how it got there, I just need to remember to ignore it more frequently than I do.
Allow me to quickly explain to you about inner speech:
Imagine adults going ‘round with great big highlighters and highlighting things a child might experience. Whatever gets highlighted, is reinforced. The problem with highlighting a child’s behavior, is that adults tend to judge a child’s behavior. This judgement (or highlighting) creates their inner speech. The thing is, adults are particularly good at highlighting “bad” behavior. However well meant these intentions to highlight are, if all that’s being pointed out is what’s wrong with the child’s behavior the child can only focus on what’s “wrong” or “bad” about who she is.
Consider this, brains are pattern seeking. So if all that’s ever been highlighted in a child’s brain is negative that’s where the focus is.
So, I am working every day to see through new eyes, to encourage my brain to pick up on new patterns. To highlight that which is helpful and kind and loving.
In my past if I’d been told: “Your mind jumps all over, like a jack-in-the-box on speed. You say some odd, perplexing, annoying, infuriating things.” I would have heard these as “bad” things, negative traits. My inner speech conditioned me to that. But I’m realizing these are actually compliments. I’m challenging the people with whom I communicate. Go me!
In my past if I’d been told: “You said deep things that resonated with me. I should have taken notes. You are doing a good job of taking care of yourself. It’s something many cannot do.” I would shrugged it off. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the sincerity of these words. I honestly don’t think I’m doing such an excellent job of taking care of myself…but I get better at it every day.
I’m seeing myself as the strangest, weirdest, most complicated woman I have ever been. In the best possible way! I am seeing myself as the most loving, caring, nurturing woman I have ever been. I see this because I’m paying attention to my reflection.
We all need help to see who we are. We can’t see it for ourselves.
It’s like trying on clothes alone. You’re in the fitting room and you’re wearing the most adorable (whatever) you’ve ever seen and the moment you put it on you’re looking at your flaws. Oh, my belly is pudgey there. This is too tight across the bust. My bottom looks too flat. Your body language reflects this, you’re not standing up straight, you’re not smiling. But what if you tried that same (whatever) on with a friend in the fitting room with you, their view of you helps guide you to what is lovely and wonderful about the (whatever) you’ve tried on. You’ll see that your posture is different, you’re smiling, you’re seeing what’s really in front of you instead of what you expect to see.
When you can see yourself the way you’re reflected through the eyes or words or point of view of someone who cares about you, you are seeing the truest you. Sure everyone has an agenda, but in that moment you don’t see your own inner speech reflected back at you, you don’t see that person’s agenda, you see the bright and shining you that they see.
One cannot be loved for absolutely no reason.
Nobody will honestly love the worst in someone else. You are loved because that person sees the best in you.
So the lesson here is to begin to see yourself as the ones who love and care about you see you. When you begin to see yourself in this light, you will begin to realize how much you are. How much you have to offer the world. If you begin to see yourself in this light, you will become an even better/healthier/more luminous version of you. Eventually you won’t need to see yourself through the eyes of others, you’ll become accustomed to seeing that you through your own eyes.
But keep those loved ones handy, sometimes we all need a little positive encouragement.
Just like Katharine Hepburn, we all need Jimmy Stewart to occasionally remind us that: “There’s a magnificence in you, Tracy. A magnificence that comes out of your eyes, in the way you talk, the way you stand there and the way you walk. You are lit from within, Tracy. You’ve got fires banked down in you, hearth fires and holocausts. You are the golden girl, Tracy. Full of life, warmth and delight.”
And if there is ever a moment when you can’t see yourself in this light, always always remember what Christopher Robin said to Pooh, “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
I am a Goddess. I am a warrior queen. I am a fairy princess. I am a plain old regular girl. Aren’t I the best!?!
Does this mean I know my true self?
Nope. But I’m learning every single day.
And really what more can I ask for?