Welcome back on the road to self-inclusion. This part has been the most challenging to write, hence the slight delay. Why? Because…

Who knows who I am? 
No really, who am I? 
Who’s me?

I’ve looked for answers in the eyes of others while knowing that only deep inside myself could the truth lie. 

For years, mask after mask,
I’ve fooled countless others
All while deceiving myself 

In past articles, I’ve offered thoughts and suggestions based on my journey towards self-inclusion. This time around, all I have – more or less – are questions. 

Step 3: Be Your Self

How can we be ourselves when we feel as though we don’t know who we are? 

In each and everyone of us, immense diversity can be found. We might like a crazy night out as much as a cosy night in. Does that mean we have split personalities? Most of the time, it doesn’t. It can, though, make it challenging to answer the dreaded question: “who are you?”. If you’re feeling the same, now might be a good time to re-read Part 1: Know Your Self and Part 2: Grow Your Self of this series. 

How can we be ourselves knowing that we are all work-in-progress? 

Fact is, we all change constantly. Whether we like it or not, external and internal influences shape us into ever-evolving creatures. Remember the things you used to believe in or even do as a child, as a teenager, or even just a couple of years ago? I bet there are some you wouldn’t be comfortable repeating, let along sharing. So, where does that leave our true self? Does it even exist? 

How can we be ourselves when there are part of ourselves we wish didn’t exist? 

The quest for perfection is as endless as it’s absolutely exhausting. Trust me, I’m still on it (daaaaaamn). Going to sleep with the feeling that there is always more to do, always more that should have been done, always more that will need be done, and that nothing is ever good enough anyway because only perfection is acceptable while, at the same time, knowing that nothing is ever perfect. Irrational nonsense that can’t seem to be shaken off and follows you around all day and all night long. As hard as it is to accept to people like me (and you?), none of us are perfect. There are parts of us that we, and others, love and other parts of us that we’d rather hide. Does being ourselves require embracing and embodying all of who we have been, are, and will be?

How can we be ourselves while trying to be the best version of ourselves? 

The self-help industry have sold us an incredibly seducing dream and vision: a best version of ourselves that we can and ought to grow into. Are we improving ourselves to death? Despite my utmost efforts, every time I seem to be able to grab hold of it, it moves a little farther away. Even (most of) the ones behind those books and talks openly say that they are yet to become their best selves. Would we believe them if they actually said they were the best that they can be? Or would we stop consuming their well-packaged messages and products all together? Conflict of interest. With that in mind, in the present moment at any given time, could our selves and our best selves be one of the same then? 

How can we be ourselves without negatively impacting others? 

I’ve always had a pet peeve for those who say “this is who I am, take it or leave it”. Knowing, in that moment, that being ourselves is hurting someone else; how could that possibly be the “ourselves” we want to be? There is, somewhere an invisible line that marks the crossroad between us and others, between our self-esteem and our self-awareness, between who we are and how we show up and interact with others. Will the line be one of battle or one of love. The choice is ours (isn’t it?). We can decide to live by the Golden or the Platinum rule. If we opt for platinum, not only do we ought to treat others the way they want to be treated, but also treat ourselves the way we want to be treated. Do we want or need this critical inner voice to tell us off 24/7? Does it actually serve us? What would it be like if we added a dash of kindness, patience, and support into our voice both internally within ourselves and externally towards others?

How can we be ourselves? The final question. The question that makes me realise that the answer might be, as it so often is, right there in front of me. What if, in order to be ourselves, all we needed was to be – to be without question and without definition…

Just be. 

Long to...

Be Seen
Be Heard
Be Loved

By One Self

Forgotten what step 1 was all about? Re-read it here: Know Your Self

Forgotten what step 2 was all about? Re-read it here: Grow Your Self

To find out more about my journey, grab a copy of my memoir Where to Next?