Accepting the Real You
The Real You…who exactly is that? One of my favorite childhood movies was The Mask, with Jim Carey. He had a scene where he pondered a conversation being had on the television. The commentator stated, “We all wear masks; everyone wears a mask, figuratively speaking.” Young was I at this time, but true was that statement and still is. In Turning 30, I went on about how in our early 20’s we tend to let groups and the people we associate ourselves with define who we are and how we view ourselves and the life around us. However, when we start to age, we begin to slowly realize that there is another person underneath that cloak that we never allowed ourselves to get to know. It becomes shocking, scary even, and then you find yourself scrambling to accept this person that has emerged from the covers. That person is the real you.
Take off the Cloak…Finally!
Listen, before you can begin to accept the real you, you have to first figure out who the is the real you. You must take off the layers of identity that society has given to you since you begin living. This is the reason you have a hard time accepting the person that is showing up on you as you get older. At birth, we are given the basic identifying things such as gender and race. Gender and race, albeit not something you can change physically, still play a major role in the identity we end up cultivating. Race does more than gender but gender can be a faulty attribute when it comes to a woman who aspires to be a boss or a man who aspires to be artsy. Gender can become a limitation. These limitations are driven by these identity masks that I like to call Identity Cloaks.
Society is the cloak and things like gender and race and a plethora of other attributes are the material the cloak is made of. We do not truly realize just how much we allow things to weigh us down and stop us from identifying with who we really are until they become too weighty. Your identity cloaks can come in many forms. They come in the form of church organizations or jobs and careers. They can come in the form of your friends, parents, husbands and wives. I also taught in Turning 30 that before you can be whole with another person, you have to be individually whole on your own. This means that you need to already have a healthy sense of who you are and have already accepted who you are for the most part. A spouse comes to add to your identity and to embolden the confidence you have in who you are, however, they should never become your identity. They will resent you in the end.
You remove the cloak slowly by slowly rejecting the overreaching norms that your affiliations place upon you. Overreaching is when something extends beyond its boundaries. Who sets the boundaries? You set the boundaries. You are well within your rights to call the shots as it concerns your own life. So, if we know this, then why don’t we? Why don’t we do and be more in line with who we truly feel we are? The answer to that question is because a cloak you are associating yourself with is calling the shots for you. Now, you can choose to keep the cloak on or you can choose to take the cloak off.
Accepting the Real You
Taking the cloak off is not the end of your journey here. When you remove the mask, you will discover a person that you never knew existed. This usually happens slowly and over time. Time itself will usually send new connections in the form of people, places, and assignments to get you to slowly reveal to yourself and the world who you really are. Do not be afraid of this because this is only your growth process causing you to actualize yourself. Self-Actualization is what we are all trying to achieve. I speak about this is in Developing a Life Plan. You cannot self-actualize if you still need to use organizations, people, places, things and money to determine who you are and how you feel about yourself. The thing about self-actualization is that it will challenge you to face and accept the brutal truth of who you are. Are you ready to truly accept the real person that is within you? Are you ready to accept yourself?
Once you start the process of “accepting the real me”, there is no turning back. Once you pull the first loose tattering of the cloak of false identity and self-deception, the process will have begun and fate will no longer allow you to hide under the church, work, mom, dad, sex, alcohol or whatever it is that you are using to mask the real you. Accepting yourself can come with a lot of struggles that you will have to face. You will face internal struggles with yourself as your mind conforms to a new place and you will also face struggles with those connected to you who have experienced you a certain way and they do not want you to change the identity that they have become comfortable with.
Do not let people determine your direction in life. That is easier said than done, and believe me, I know first hand what this means as I have to fight this struggle daily. You have to at least be keenly aware that this is who you are and there’s nothing anyone else can do about it. Now, this means that if you want to become a vegetarian, then do so and not be bother by a cloak that says, “Hey but you’re a Texan and we Texans love meat!” Take off that Texan cloak if it means settling down into what you feel is the direction for your life. This is the journey towards accepting yourself.