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Is it selfish to be yourself? – Catherine Blackwood

I have been wanting to post this for a while, but I knew I’d first need to be comfortable with the deeper layers of this message. 

On the surface, we might all say it’s important and necessary to be ourselves, after all, “everyone else is already taken”, as the saying goes. But how simple is it? We risk being judged and shamed from all angles, even by our loved ones.

So we have a choice. Be partly ourselves, carefully selecting which aspects are allowed out to play, and keeping the rest firmly in the shadows. But that is a fragmented picture. We might plug the gaps with some glitter glue but we can end up in some sticky situations.

Or we can submit to the power of shame. We feel shamed when we are judged for stepping outside the accepted lines, most notably in families, right? It’s designed to keep us in with the tribe. It feels like a survival choice at times.

To leave the tribe, we would need to be strong and capable, believing in our ability to weather any storms. That can never happen while we are fragmented. So what’s the answer?

I believe that if we really do want to be ourselves, complete and unashamed, we need to accept this in others too.

I know, terrible solution, right? Letting them get away with all the horrible things they say and do? Madness! They should be ashamed of themselves.

See what’s happening here? Hypocrisy. We’ve all been there 😬 This is why being ourselves is harder than we think. Because it comes down to our humanity. We all are capable of making mistakes. We all are capable of doing nasty things on purpose. We don’t even know what horrors we’re capable of until we are put in that situation.

Is this making you cringe? If not, you are either miles ahead on this journey, or you may need to dig deeper to reach this truth. It’s like an underground spring that we don’t want to acknowledge, but tapping into it is powerful. There is so much wisdom buried in the layers of soil beneath our feet, by the way. It’s not just dirt down there.

So. Let’s breathe for a moment. This isn’t about shaming ourselves for our humanity. It’s about accepting that we are fallible humans, along with everyone else. Of course there will be mistakes made, we’re all learning and growing. We need to be taking that risk, otherwise we are stagnating. (Whether or not there’s such a thing as a mistake might be a discussion for another time.)

If everyone did this, imagine the level of compassion we would have for each other. The honouring of growth and how messy it can be. The patience. Celebrating authenticity because it frees up more space for truth in ourselves. Expansion. Kindness instead of judgment and shaming. Love for the self in each of us.

Diverse expressions of who we are would be welcomed as wonderful opportunities to experience even more of our humanity, like a field of flowers of every imaginable type, rather than just daisies (although daisies are a wonderful way to fill a field).

Then we could say it’s not selfish to be yourself, but both a responsibility and an honour. Who is up for the work involved? Any takers?