21 May 2020

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE FULLY 'YOU'



How many sides of 'you' do you show to the world everyday? Go back to before lock-down, and imagine yourself going through your normal routine; how did you act around people? Did you have different 'versions' of yourself for the various situations you found yourself in each day? If so, what did they look like?

I'm asking these questions because I have been thinking a lot about the subject and analysing myself, which is not unusual, but is something I have allowed myself to do for a bit of self-development through this lock-down thing. I have been questioning myself, in a gentle way, and trying to see if the Lucy I am every single day at home, is the same Lucy I am showing up as when I set foot outside the door and mix with other people in different situations and environments. The answers have been interesting. 

What would you say if you asked yourself the same questions? Could you say you were consistently the same person? I can't, but I think that might be okay actually.

Right now I am reading Jonathan Van Ness' book, 'Over the Top', and, in the book, he unpicks a little of why he thinks that we all have these sides to us that we draw on at different times, saying.:

'...(Dr Richard Schwartz) created something called Internal Family Systems Therapy. According to him, we were all born as a centered 'self' who is perfect and whole and can handle anything. But as we experience trauma in life, the centered self doesn't know quite how to deal with it, so it develops pieces of ourselves that we can call upon based on the situations we find ourselves in.... we all have these parts in our personality, but some people's are more extreme...'

That is a far more articulate way of explaining what I am trying to say here I think; and he goes on to say:

'if you think of your personality like a car, it's like this: my busy bee sits in the drivers seat, saying yes to every job coming my way with no thought of overbooking...my people pleaser is in the passenger seat... and my inner child is in the car seat. Meanwhile, my inner critic...can't stop backseat driving and telling everyone how I could be driving so much more effectively...'

I think we can all relate to this can't we; all the facets of 'us' that can sometimes drive us crazy?! It can be thoroughly exhausting for us to keep switching roles like that. Of course there is a time and a place for it, but it is when we are doing it to please others or to try and conform to something we feel we have to: that is when it is destructive.

So, a few questions that may help you unpick this subject a little bit, if you are interested in delving into it more are:

- When am I most true to myself? (Ask yourself who you are with when you feel completely you. You may discover that it is only when you are in the safety of home that you feel like you can be totally you, so just keep asking 'why'). 

- Who am I with when I feel like I really need to dig deep into my energy reserves in order to function in that situation? (Here you are exploring your energy zappers! Be honest with yourself.)

- Ask yourself why you feel the need to act a different way around certain people. Do you feel you have to 'dumb' yourself down because it is easier? Do you feel like you have to agree with opinions because you feel like they may question yours? Why? 

I think journaling on those points, or something similar, can be really useful to start uncovering the roots of this.

I guess the reason this is at the forefront of my mind right now is that I don't want certain behaviours to continue post lock-down. I want to show up as me as much as possible. The routine I find myself in right now has opened up new parts of my mind and I feel happy about that, so of course, it is only natural, to not want to slip back into being 'the funny one' in one situation, or 'the one who is always self-depreciating' in others. I am a business owner, a creative, a little nerdy/geeky, very awkward most of the time, but that it who I am. I do weird things, I enjoy loud music and total silence. I need to get into bed in the middle of the day to switch off from normality for a bit and I don't always want to mix with lots of people, but that is who I am and, do you know what? That is okay with me.
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