People often try to hide who they truly are by trying to be normal and fit in with the crowd. To be honest with others about who you are in this world, you must first be honest with yourself. Madisyn Taylor shares the tools you need to uncover the person you've been suppressing all this time.
Would it surprise you if I said that most people live their lives without being completely honest with themselves? We all have parts of our personalities we want to hide because we are afraid that if people see "the real you," they won't like it. I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that this is normal human behavior. When we were children, we wanted to be liked, and it is often in childhood that we are first teased about a physical or personality trait that we quickly learn to hide. When I was a child, other kids would tell me that I was weird. Of course, this really hurt my feelings. To steer attention away from the "weird" me, I tried to be "normal" like the other kids and to "fit in." But doing this meant that I lost a lot of what made me...me.
Some people have become so good at hiding parts of themselves that they don't even realize a part of them is gone and has been replaced by an empty feeling. And we all do it. We suffer from insecurities, we don't accept who we are, and we self-sabotage ourselves through addictions and other behaviors that don't get us what we truly want. Often, we see how we aren't being honest with ourselves in terms of our love relationships. When a relationship is healthy, happy and balanced, chances are that the two people are in touch with who they really are and are able to communicate this effectively. Relationships that are one-sided, abusive or maybe even a little too perfect can be the result of one or both partners not being in touch with who they really are and hiding the parts they don't want seen.
When you have a strong sense of self, when you feel like you are a worthy person on this planet, it doesn't matter what other people think of you. You don't feel the need to be judgmental of others or gossip about others because you are secure with yourself and therefore grounded in acceptance of yourself and other people. Just take a moment to imagine what it would feel like to truly be free to be who you are. If this exercise makes you feel really happy, then you may not be hiding too much. If it makes you sad, then I'm guessing you have an inner longing to be your authentic self. Being honest with yourself is a bit like being naked, and few people are really comfortable being naked. Being honest with yourself is having naked emotions.
Let's explore some of the ways that we aren't honest with ourselves. See if any of these situations sound familiar to you:
Get this week's homework exercises
- You hear an inappropriate joke and either laugh at it or say nothing at all rather than letting the person know it was inappropriate.
- You say yes to everything even though you sometimes feel like saying no.
- You use the excuse "I don't have time" when you probably do have time, but the real answer is that you aren't interested.
- You hide the parts of yourself that you deem "bad" or undesirable so that your friends will continue to call you.
- You buy fashion labels just for the labels rather than because you want a high-quality item.
- You won't reveal to a friend that you are feeling anxiety or depression because you don't want her to run for the hills and not talk to you again.
- You overcommit your time because you want to do everything even though you can't possibly fit everything into your schedule.
- You tend to cower in a corner at a party or talk to only one person all night. You may judge others by how they look.
- You have unhealthy addictions.
- You sometimes feel like a fraud, as if you're just going through the motions of life.
The homework exercises at the end of this section will help bring to the surface feelings that have been kept dormant. Healing can begin for you today—this very moment—when you decide to make a change in your life. The first step is to fully accept that you have been hiding. There is no blame, there is no shame; you have simply done what you needed to do in order to survive. You can take back your life today by bringing back those parts of you that now need to be revealed to both you and your loved ones. It can be very shocking when you come to the realization that you may have been simply going through the motions of life rather than living your life. It will take courage to step out and let your light shine fully to all that know you. Just remember: True friends take the good with the bad, the great with the not-so-great, the yummy with the icky.
Please take some time this week for inner reflection. The more time you spend with each thought, the greater your results will be. Don't be surprised if you feel emotional while pondering this work, as you will be bringing up inner feelings that may have been suppressed for a while. Let people around you know that you are doing some soul work, and ask for their emotional support. This can also be a good time to ask the universe or your angels to comfort you and help you along your way.
Take out your journal and answer the following questions in depth. Take as long as you need with each question.
- What does honesty mean to you?
- What does it really mean to be truly honest with yourself?
- In what ways are you not honest with yourself?
- Imagine yourself completely free to be your authentic self. Nobody is judging you or watching you. What would your life feel like? What would you do?
Please choose one trait or instance in which you are not being honest with yourself and sit with the idea of changing that this week. How does that make you feel?
Connect with Others
Throughout this process, you may find it beneficial to connect with others taking this course. Share your thoughts in the Comments section at the bottom of this page.
Madisyn Taylor is the co-founder of the online website DailyOM.com and spends too much time on the Internet. She's also a best-selling author; her books include DailyOM Inspirational Thoughts for a Happy, Healthy and Fulfilling Day (Hay House 2008) and DailyOM Learning to Live (Hay House 2010).
More from Madisyn Taylor
Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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