When you are yourself, you are enlightened – Sri Bhagavan
What does it mean to be your authentic self? Why do we find it so hard to let others see who we truly are?
When I think of myself, I can say it’s only in the last 5 years that I’ve gained enough confidence to let my authentic self be seen and it’s only in the last two years that I’ve felt comfortable living and exposing my vulnerability.
In the past, I wanted to please others and look good in their eyes, so I lived in the shadow of my true self. I think my need to please others developed and took root because as a small child I wanted to be seen as good girl… I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to what I’m saying, can’t you?
This urge to be seen as “good” sipped into every aspect of my life and as a result – I began wearing masks. I hid behind my masks because I was simply too frightened to let others see the real me—to see that maybe I wasn’t the good girl I was pretending to be.
[bctt tweet=”Waking up to who you are requires #lettinggo of who you imagine yourself to be.” username=”havingtime”]
How do we live our truth? How do we start knowing who we are, so we can really be ourselves?
Sri Bhagavan teaches that when we are ourselves we are enlightened. I love the simplicity yet profundity of this teaching as it gives me the courage to continue this long and sometimes lonely path of self-inquiry and knowing.
The process of unraveling, fully exposing and coming into greater acceptance of who we are, will finally lead to our enlightenment.
Many of us want to be enlightened, don’t we?
Here are 8 tips I’ve used in my own life that are helping me come to terms with who I am, so I can live that truth every day.
8 Things to Do If You Want to Be at Peace with Yourself
1. Learn to connect with yourself
Having a deeper connection to ourselves is key. It means having intimate knowledge and understanding of who we are, behind the masks we wear. It takes time to come to a depth of self-knowing and awareness, but working on becoming conscious of ourselves at a superficial level is the beginning. We can start by meditating or contemplating our thoughts, ideas, and values, asking ourselves the fundamental questions we avoid in life, then being as authentic in our answers as we can be. This knowledge gives us a greater understanding of ourselves, helping us to move into deeper levels of self-inquiry.
“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the world.” – Marcus Aurelius
2. Becoming a seer
Seeing ourselves sounds easy but honestly, it’s much harder than it sounds. Really seeing who we are in our pure nakedness can be a frightening experience for many of us. Firstly we feel vulnerable, secondly and more importantly, we will probably not like what we’re seeing. Initially, coming into touch with unpleasant aspects of ourselves creates resistance. But never lose hope, as resisting the truth is a natural response.
Over time, the more we confront ourselves, gaining greater acceptance to what’s there, even if it’s unpleasant—the less it disturbs us.
3. Digging deeper and striking authenticity
Learning to be authentic takes a lot of courage because being ourselves means taking off ALL our masks. In order to be free of our masks, we must become aware that we’re wearing them.
Many of us wear masks to protect ourselves from the outside world—but in protecting ourselves we also shield ourselves from our own inner truth. So the more we connect with our truth, even ugly truths with acceptance, the more authentic and joyful we become.
Taking off our masks and allowing ourselves to be just as we are gives us freedom to really live.
4.The biggest mistake you can ever make is to compare yourself to others, so stop doing that
Comparing ourselves to others is something we all do… and yes it’s a habit that’s difficult to break. However, spending our precious energy concerned with others’ lives only leads to stress, anxiety, and worry. It’s a needless drain of our resources that leads to feelings of inadequacy. Our inferiority surfaces because it appears that our peers are doing better than us, have better lives, are happier, wealthier or more successful…the list can go on and on when we’re comparing ourselves, can’t it?
In the end, the comparison doesn’t serve us—on the contrary, it only reduces our self-worth. Wouldn’t our energy be better spent concentrating on doing US well? When we’re comfortable in our own skins, flaws and all, the need to compare ourselves vanishes.
5. Practice acceptance
Learning to accept ourselves is crucial to living life authentically. Acceptance means accepting the good, bad and ugly of ourselves. Full acceptance helps us develop the confidence to let ourselves be seen by the outside world, warts and all and stops us needing to please in order to gain others’ acceptance.
6. Honor your inner light and let it shine freely
Living our full potential isn’t so easy, is it? As letting our light shine often causes us to stand out from the crowd, which doesn’t always feel comfortable. So to compensate we make excuses, downplaying our many gifts and talents, fearful of pushing others into the shadows. Nevertheless, our obligation is to honor ourselves and to continue to develop all we were given. We cannot grow or live fulfilling lives if we don’t have the courage to honor our light. So let’s enrich the world and ourselves by embracing our talents, abilities, and artistry, even if it casts shadows on others.
7. Self-love is not ‘good to have’ – it’s a ‘MUST-HAVE’
When we love ourselves, there’s no need to try to be something we’re not, or to seek approval from others. We begin to love ourselves by recognizing and appreciating all that we are. When we feel comfortable and confident in ourselves, we naturally rely on our own inner knowing for guidance in a crisis. However, when we don’t love ourselves, we seek love and approval from others. Our beliefs and values are easily shaken and we struggle to conform to others expectations. Loving ourselves frees us by giving us the power to truly be who we are without the need for justification.
8. Patience is golden
Learning to be our authentic self is a process and from my own journey, I can say it’s a process that takes time, so we need to be patient with ourselves, don’t we? In truth, we cannot expect to know the full spectrum of our personalities overnight but as we connect with more and more of ourselves, using tools such as meditation or contemplation, we start coming into deeper and deeper contact with our inner truth. And the truth doesn’t only set us free, it empowers us to consciously live in greater connection not just with ourselves but also with others.
Sri Bhagavan says when you are yourself you are enlightened.
For me this statement affirms that the road to enlightenment is not simply a path of mysticism and mystery, rather it’s an inner journey of self-knowing, unraveling and understanding ourselves.
When we work to remove our masks step by step, finding the determination to stand in our naked truth, only then do we grow in leaps and bounds on our path to self-knowing.