When we are just born, we have no idea about who we should be. We do not know how we should dress or behave, what body type or IQ we should have. At a very young age we expect the world to see and love us just as we are.
We are born as we are; and we are all born perfect.
But people who surround us, our parents, family, society, have already an expectation about us; they had the image of us even before our birth. And as we are born, they give us their judgements about who we should be.
As we grow up, we get a sense of what perfection looks like, of what right is, and we get a clear idea of what we are supposed to be.
Why I should act in a certain way.
Why I should think in a certain way.
Why should I look in a certain way.
Why my IQ, my grades, my salary, my career should be at a certain level.
If the definition of perfect does not match us, we consider ourselves imperfect. And in order to be liked and approved, we believe we ought to change.
But do those external ideals of what’s right or wrong, beautiful or ugly, make sense to us? Those ideals are what others imagine is perfect. Why should we conform to what others think we ought to be and disconnect from who we really are?
Who we are is deep inside us.
Everything else is just an idea, a label, a story in our minds created by other people. And the more we care about what people think of us, or expect of us, the more we’ll be trying to live the way others want us to live.
Why do we live guided by other people’s ideas, ideals and expectations?
What if instead of thinking of how imperfect we are, we keep asking ourselves:
Who I am? What makes me unique?
What inspires me in life? What drives me?
What values I hold in life? What things I consider the most important?
What dreams I have? What do I want to achieve in life?
And what kind of person I want to become?
What if we give up trying to live up to other people’s expectations, blame and try to change ourselves? What if instead we learn to listen to our heart and look for our authentic selves? Will it help us to live more meaningful and fulfilled lives?
The first 20 years of my life I was learning what I should do and who I should be. I had to be whatever the world wanted me to be, I could not step out. And I excelled at conforming the ideals and living up to the expectations of others. Up until to the point when I got really confused about who I was. I felt very lost, unhappy and disconnected.
“I lined up the loftiest ideals I could find and set out to achieve them. The results were rarely admirable, often laughable, and sometimes grotesque… I had simply found a “noble” way to live a life that was not my own, a life spent imitating heroes instead of listening to my heart.” – Henry David Thoreau
It took me another 10 years to unlearn the imposed image of a perfect self. To start asking questions and questioning the ideals I was following.
I stopped pretending to be someone I am not. Instead, I began to listen to myself and look into my heart.
It is a long path, and it may take a lifetime. But I took the first step, and I’m glad I’m on my way now.
We have one life and it is all about expressing who we are fully and learning to accept, embrace, and value our authenticity.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”— Carl Gustav Jung