Alone, in silence, we contemplate our deepest thoughts; we entertain our most raw emotions. When a grueling day of pretending to be something we’re not or of trying to appease the whims of those who control our destiny have concluded, we emit a guttural groan in some feeble attempt to rid our mortality of this charade. Work life, relationship life, the life within us…all neatly packaged parcels of reality that come with their own rules and limitations, it seems. And here we are, performing this carefully choreographed dance, throughout our days, months and years, lest someone get a true glimpse of what we really are.
And we fear the reveal, maybe even without knowing we do. We fear the curtains being thrown away. We fear the solitude of isolation that arises as we stand alone on this stage, the spotlight burning a hole through us. We fear the naked confrontation of standing before a world replete with its notions and judgments; standing before the arbiters, awaiting their adjudication.
And yet we realize the inevitable truth that simply being means there is a true nature within us crying to emerge from its confines, out of the shadows and into the light. We yearn to be what and who we really are but have yet to accept that being whatever that is means being exposed.
What’s so bad about being exposed? What’s so bad about being ourselves?
The penalty for being ourselves is not thrust upon us by others but arises within us; it is an imagined thing that is produced by this deep-seated perception that we must continually align ourselves with societal expectations that are really just our own perceptions of what societal expectations are.
And who among us is not somewhat in awe of those who can live their lives with the kind of candid and raw honesty that seems to say “I really couldn’t care less what the world thinks”?
Sadly, our true sides are rarely seen by the world. They reside within us; they are awakened in the darkened moments, in times of solitude or incapacity. They are set free when we are off-guard and cannot prevent them from emerging.
Yes, being honest and true to yourself involves risk; maybe enormous risk. It requires being able to put every single human relationship we have on the line, willing to lose whatever friendships we’ve formed under the pretenses of our inauthentic selves, for the sake of being truly ourselves. It means accepting that we come with flaws that do not necessarily make us bad but certainly make us unique; it ultimately means there’s a dimension to who we are that requires an awakening of self love and pride in order to fully shine.
Nobody suggested that being yourself is easy. But if we can’t be who we truly are, then who are we?