Many years ago, I sat with a friend during a workshop break and we discussed moving, life and what thereof follows. I had been talking about my (then) plans to relocate from Texas to Washington state.
My friend said "Wherever you go, you take yourself along."
We added the corollary "... so when you DO go, you'd better make sure the 'Yourself' you take along is someone you like."
truthful in our self-knowing.
That second bit seems to be what trips people up, more often than not.
Who are you, really?
Who am I, really?
Who is anyone, really?
And are we open to really being that?
As children, we exist largely "unfiltered," at least until we become acquainted with the word "don't!" typically delivered in a relentless fashion by our parents.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. "Don't" is a part of learning not to touch a hot stove, or not running out into traffic. However... the "don't" that potentially represses the truth of Who We Are is not so good. Or, at least, it tends to repress parts of our essence that come back to bug us later, in the form of a "mid-life crisis."
What do we learn, as we walk through life?
Most of us learn how to "act," and how to put on the facade we believe "best serves" us. Yet, no matter how good we may become at maintaining our carefully constructed "self images"... there are very few people who don't eventually "show us" who they really are, below the veneer.
What does an "image" do?
It seems it allows us to have an "affiliate identity" aside from merely being a Human.
I'm a Goth.
I'm a Healer.
I'm a Warrior.
I'm a Pacifist.
I'm a Geek.
I'm a Hipster.
I'm a Badass.
I'm a Guru.
I'm a Mystic.
I'm a Christian.
I'm a Buddhist.
Perhaps... for some people... these terms (and untold thousands like them) are no more than semantic identifiers that afford us a shortcut to placing ourselves "somewhere" in a meaningful context of the overall human experience. In a psychologically healthy context, it's merely a bit of descriptive text that allows us to have a sense of place within the card catalog of the Library of Life.
I am a Highly Sensitive Person. I am an Introvert. I am a Dane.
These things "describe" me, but they are not what I essentially "am."
What happens when the image becomes the person? What happens when we become more strongly identified with the self-image we've created, than our (often hidden) inner truth?
People eventually show us who they are, as people.
And there's the rub. We are not our "images." And even those who have very carefully manufactured "masks" will have moments (and often many of them) when they inadvertently let their "human-ness" show, no matter how carefully their facades may be constructed.
Which begs the question "Why are you afraid to just be human? To just be yourself?"
Sarah and I were talking about our "super powers," yesterday. She's a clairvoyant and world class psychic... her super power is the ability to "sit inside" other people's energies and immediately being able to see their "story." My own super power is more akin to being able to immediately evaluate the "relationship" between what someone says they "are" (their words) and what their actual doing and being says they are.
It never ceases to amaze me how much people's actions and true essence betrays their words... no matter how skilled they are at conveying their "story." This is especially true of those who seem "addicted" to labels... labels they use as a way to excuse themselves from their humanness, by substituting the attributes of their chosen label for their true essence.
I'm sure you've met them: "I have/can't/do/am XYZ because am an ABC" and variations of the preceding. Sometimes true, but often an excuse.
"I can't work because I'm ADHD."
No, not true.
The point being that it's a truly beautiful-- and quite rare-- thing when someone's "story" and their "essence" are totally in synch. And that, to me, is the definition of true authenticity: There's no "story" that deviates from the essence of who someone "is." Not only do such people "live their story;" their story is an authentic expression of who they genuinely are.
But it's hard work, and perhaps that's why many people resort to labels, rather than allowing their authenticity to shine. Labels are easy. "Images" are easy. Many many moons ago, I remember someone saying (about their rather ambiguous profile on a dating web site) that "it's less painful to be rejected for a projection of myself, than being rejected for my REAL self."
True words, those.
But do we really want to live in a box of lies?