Life can be a labyrinth when we walk through it without knowing who we are or what we want; there are so many people whose lives are a small percentage of their own self and a greater percentage of others. When what others expect of us becomes greater in our minds, that is when we are putting too much value on the opinion of others and giving away our personal power. That is when we are allowing external opinions, judgements or expectations, to take too much room within our mind–as such our mind becomes their “real estate” not ours; for that reason alone, it is important we liberate ourselves from the desire to please everyone. Let us choose to please our essence, that way we can free our own mind and be our own selves.
As I spent some time on the island contemplating life while doings things I love, I came to the understanding that Carl Jung was quite accurate when he said we spent the first half of our lives trying to please others, and the other half trying to please ourselves–of course there are those who will go through life without daring to be themselves because the process of “coming home”, of becoming our essence, is not a simple one. Such process requires work, commitment and fearlessness; for it is not easy to have to face the pain and masks imposed by others and those we accumulated based on our own actions. Perhaps it is for that reason, that it is easier to pretend that being “mature” means to severe one’s connection with our inner child, our free spirit; I guess rigidity brings with it, its own mask of delusion….one of momentary comfort; where hurtful sarcasm or zero attachment–pretending we have “thick” skin at all times–are the course of the day(s).
Perhaps because shadow work is not the path most taken, it explains why people will do anything not to face themselves, and why so many people act as if they are happy yet they are terribly angry–this anger gets expressed on other areas of their lives. Other people spend their whole time trying to run away from themselves….from abuse of self masqueraded as freedom, to abuse of drugs, empty sex encounters, empty conversations with strangers, etc.–at the end, they end up feeling more defeated and in need of heavier armor in order to face the day.
As the poet W.B. Yeats wrote, “The true hero is one who has the courage to enter the abysses of himself“–Why is it that most sages, mentors or guides, have been saying the same thing since the beginning of time “face yourself” –which means face the shadow, yet we choose not to listen?….
We either ty to escape from life, or run to any discipline or belief which will absolve us of our so called imperfections and sins; putting us into some type of worthy category (cage)–we rather be prisoners of concepts and paradigms than face ourselves. We call such disciplines and beliefs “the way”…whose way?–have we forgotten no one can walk our path?–we can seek guidance, one that matches our real essence not our need to escape, but there is no one way. We have to create our own path, for we are unique expressions of life, and our experiences; although similar at times; are not the same, neither are our perceptions.
The journey of shadow work, allows us to discover little by little, that we are not whom we would have liked to be; it helps us understand when we lost ourselves in exchange for acceptance, for not feeling pain or anything too uncomfortable–either because it hurt too much, or because society in its ignorance labeled unpleasant emotions; which are necessary to grow while remaining connected to our essence; as bad or toxic or unnecessary. We are very seldom taught that it is okay to feel pain, to feel anger, to feel sadness and confusion. All emotions; specially the so called negative ones; are simply teachers. They are like a compass, pointing the way to areas that need our attention–and there is nothing wrong with feeling them, experiencing them, learning from them, integrating and transmuting them.
The transition between realizing that we may not be delighted with who we are and yet accepting oneself opens a vital stage–one that can be dotted with disappointment, it can be painful or presented as a disconcerting period in which everything that made sense until then, falters under our feet–but this stage is vital because it is the only way to rediscover who we are at our core. It is a stage that can be confusing and one in which we often get labeled; for people like what is familiar even if it is detrimental to the one experiencing it; but it is a precious stage– it is the process of caterpillar to butterfly. This process of self-discovery leads to congruent maturity; one that honors our essence, our calling, while providing us with clearer vision instead of the foggy glasses we have been carrying around.
One of the stages of life that is most important in the construction of identity is childhood; around 5, which is when we begin to have the use of proper reasoning. At that age we begin to move away from experiencing to rationalizing–if our caregivers are too concerned with the external world and reputation alone, then we learn to overthink and doubt our every decision. We think too much; which some adults may confuse with teaching introspection, yet introspection was never to take one away from self–in over thinking we forget to live.
Depending on the environment, we try to be accepted by our caregivers and we learn to code our actions based on reward (temporary love) or punishment–since it is too painful to understand why love is not unconditional, we subconsciously learn to blame ourselves, and we learn labels–good/bad–then we code them and end with the message “if I want to feel love, then I need to be good”--what happened to raising kids based on lessons instead of punishment or conditions? I am in no way saying nor supporting the other extreme, where children are given everything and they decide the baseline for a household–doing so, will only lead to the same result as its opposite–people unable to really feel. All I am saying is, that the value of self love lies in the lesson; a lesson can be taught, not need to threaten, lie, scare or abuse children in order to get them to “behave”. It is through lessons and introspection, that we learn to discover who we really are.
It is true that it is easier to raise kids who are obedient and disciplined, but let us not delude ourselves…discipline through fear is no discipline. Raising strong free spirited children can be a headache; hence parenthood is not something one should enter lightly–children should not be there to provide us with a sense of accomplishment or simply to carry on a bloodline. To choose to raise a child is to choose to confront areas of our lives which may not have been pleasant while growing up, and to reminiscent on areas which were beautiful and pleasant…seeking a congruent balance between the two.
Spirituality says that fear appears when moving away from divinity; this is something religion chose to later change to moving away from a Deity–to me moving away from divinity in the context of being true to our essence, is equivalent to moving away from the best of oneself…this gives rise to fear. When fear arises as children, we learn to show the the world what they want to see…because we want to be labeled “good” and be “loved”. To be fearless then, is its very opposite…it is to show yourself with all your light and your darkness at the risk of being labeled as weird or misfit–knowing that no one can grant you the tittle of good or worthy. You were worthy all alone, and only you know what makes you good and why your choices are the way they are.
Perhaps it is time we stop pretending to be good; we are all good to some and bad to others…it comes down to the true motivation in your heart. If your motivation is good, then kudos to you for choosing to be yourself in a world that often likes and rewards masks and bullshit. We all have good days and bad days, we all have flaws, and our own unique talents–let’s stop pretending we are all the same, for we are not–and this does not take away from our value as human beings. Treating others humanly, the way we would like to be treated, does not mean I or you have to behave, think or like the same things. You are you, I cannot see through your eyes nor walk your path. I am me, you cannot walk my path nor see through my eyes…but maybe if we simply talk from our hearts, without shame of being labeled, maybe if we simply chose to be more organic, more ourselves…then we would be able to understand each other’s worlds better, and as such, be able to create a better society.
“At the end of the day, it’s your life. If you turn out good, the world celebrates you and with you (not minding how you achieved it). If bad, they abandon you (even if they gave you the advice that led you to doom). Just be you and follow your heart.”
― Omoakhuana Anthonia