There are people who struggle to be themselves, to live a life with integrity and in harmony with their own being. Others struggle not to get too close to themselves, not to face their fear, painful emotions and contradictory thoughts. If we seek comfort at any price, probably we will choose to be the second type of people. But, is this really something worth striving for?
The vital quandary of every human being, at some point of their life, is to decide between continuing to reinforce the personality that he or she has been building since childhood or to go to the core of his or her own being and act accordingly. The life-change that can occur at this point can be radical, and the decisions we make from there can be panicking at the beginning. However, is there anything worthier to pursue than making life truly meaningful?
1. Living from our true self
In order to take decisions from our real self, first we need to realise and perhaps let go of what we are not. This might be a challenging path, as the world we have built up in our life might have to be deconstructed. Truths that we might have been holding on to for a long time might start to break apart, including beliefs about ourselves, projections about our future and unrealistic expectations about other people. Deep wishes that we might have ignored in our past might reappear again accompanied with the bitter taste of regret for not having been attended to before…
But that’s all part of the process of aligning with our real self. Once you accept this challenge, life becomes an ocean of opportunities to discover, to love and to heal wounds ignored by habit and comfort. We sometimes don’t realise that the economy of well-being is what leads us to suffering and pain the most, since it tries easily to sell a superficial peace through illusion and deception; which, later on, becomes fuel for anger and frustration.
2. Be honest with yourself to avoid a future crisis
In times of crisis, we connect the most with our intimate desires and feelings. So don’t dismiss these opportunities in order to get in touch with your real self, whenever they appear in your life. It is probably then when most people are ready to leave everything they have in order to pursue that which is essential for them.
Sometimes, however, it is too late to fight for it. Things or people that we value the most might have already escaped from our lives because we’ve been too much absorbed in non-essential pursuits. Therefore, the most direct way to avoid such situations is by being honest with yourself before a crisis appears, by not letting distractions take over the connection with your innermost longings; which, deep down, are the feeling of being loved and to love with all our being.
3. Love is our ultimate goal
I believe that love is our ultimate goal and the first motive of our actions. Acting from love is a manifestation of our true nature, the most natural way of expressing our being. When you act from love you don’t force yourself to do anything. You just are. Results are less important than the action itself, because whatever you do out of love, you will do it as an end in itself.
Why is it then so difficult for us to live like this in our day to day life? Why do we spend more time “chasing” other things like money, power, or worldly pleasures that cost so much time, effort and energy?
Probably, because love makes us vulnerable to the actions of others. When the fabric of love breaks, it leaves a hole in our being from where pain gets in. The belief that this pain cannot be cured and the fear of drowning in our own emptiness makes us stop acting from love, and unconsciously start acting from fear: fear of abandonment, fear of being rejected, fear of criticism, fear of pain, fear of loneliness… and, finally, fear of acknowledging our own fear. Therefore, if you do not live from love, you will be always a slave of fear.
4. The illusion of ‘control’
We usually try to cover up all these layers of fear with the belief that we are in “control” of our lives. So we start investing effort in controlling external events, the behaviour of others, our activities, our actions, our words, our thoughts, our beliefs, our emotions… and basically, we do so not to show to others that we are vulnerable. Not to show to others who we really are. Not to show what we are really seeking.
The instant feeling of calmness coming from that illusion of control will at the beginning feel enough to cope with the fear. However, the relentless quest for control not only will drive us away from true happiness and peace, but it will bind us under its own tyrant regime, as the obsession with control will end up controlling ourselves.
5. Personality is the disguise of fear
Personality is the shell of our being, the barrier between our real selves and the world. It protects us from the direct exposition of our own being to others, and it makes us conform to some automatic patterns of behaviour that facilitate our performance in many situations in life.
However, personality is not who we are, but what we pretend to be. It is the way we define ourselves in the eyes of the world. It is our most powerful tool we have to control our behaviour and the reaction of other people towards ourselves. Therefore, it can easily become a good hiding place for fear, or even the fear’s disguise.
But there is a danger in doing that, because once we forget that we are the being behind that shell, our personality stops protecting the real person it serves and begins to protect itself. And that’s how our goals and effort then become more aligned with those of fear and the interests of our personal selves, than those of love or our true nature.
6. How to free yourself from fear
The first step to freeing yourself from fear is by feeling it. Feeling the fear, you will connect with a part of yourself that you had not realised before. Do not reject it because you dislike it. Seeing that fear implies freeing yourself from it. To recognise it is a necessary step to re-connect with the self that stands behind it.
The next phase is to decide what to do with the fear. You may ask yourself, what is this that you are really afraid of? What is the function of fear? Is it worth giving this emotion the power to rule your personality and your life? Once you have considered this, you are free to choose. And actually, it doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you are conscious of what’s the price you are paying for it.
7. Don’t waste your time
Price comes along with a prize. On the one hand, personality protects you from the fear of being free, from the fear to be yourself, from the fear of living without knowing what your destiny is, from the fear that someone will hurt you, from the fear that others won’t respond to your call for love.
On the other hand, love is afraid of nothing. It does not try to protect you from anything. It frees you from the pressure of having to become somebody or achieve something. The prize is the action itself. Acting out of love, there will be nothing to lose, nothing to win…. You can only get lost in the ocean of your being.
Which one would you like to achieve?