“Just be you”
Yesterday, I was reading an interview with actress Sofie Gråbøl about what she’s learnt. The article ended with the following comment: “I hate it when people say, “Just be you”, it is the worst advice – how do you do that? As soon as you start thinking about it you’ve lost it.
“Be brave, be you”
This is my tagline and I imagine Sofie would hate that statement. But I can understand and appreciate the perspective she offers. When my thinking mind is strong and I use it to try to be myself, I end up in a rabbit warren of questioning and analysis of my thoughts. But, when I relax and come from my heart, the truth is I do know when I am being myself and when I’m not.
Recently a number of friends have commented on their surprise that I’ve been able, at my age, to live with my parents for 12 months. They tell me how they couldn’t have lasted a week with their parents. In truth they’ve been a lifeline. Restarting my business, Covid-19 and two failed attempts at house purchases has meant finding a new home has been much trickier than I’d anticipated. I consider myself to be very lucky to have wonderful parents that are willing to let me, my daughters and dog move in with them temporarily whilst we figure things out. And like all humans, we all have our moments.
Our time together has also reminded me something about myself: I am a good adapter. I can shapeshift and fit in easily. I can let others take up space whilst I shrink. It’s that very thing that means being myself is a conscious practice because sometimes my inner pleaser can feel what everyone else wants and succumb.
The truth was I’d forgotten how to just be me. Like Sophie, I too would have felt frustrated if someone at that time had said, “just be you.” I was overwhelmed and confused by all the outer and inner roles I’d held over the years: mother, business owner, coach, trainer, accountant, gardener, cook, cleaner, disciplinarian, worrier, nurturer, motivator, driver. The list went on – so if I was asked to just be myself, I’d think, “which one?”
For a long time, it was a simple case of putting one foot in front of the other every day and doing what needed to be done to get me one step closer to owning my own house again. My saving grace was my spiritual practice and the coaching tools that I use with clients. I’ve practiced and embodied everything I preach. It’s as if I’d been training my whole life for this one moment when all these teachings would come to the fore. I’ve had to listen to the quiet whispers of my soul. I’ve had to trust those voices that often don’t make logical sense to me but come from an instinctive, knowing place deep inside.
Slowly and surely little seeds have emerged. I’ve watched my energy rise when my values are honoured and seen it dissipate when I’ve ignored them. I’ve had compassion for my defensiveness instead of judging it. I’ve named my fears and not acted on them. I’ve grounded myself in my truth and purpose and aligned my work around that.
It takes courage
I do believe when you’re at a point in life where you feel lost in the many roles you perform that it does take courage, to firstly admit you’ve lost your way and then again to rediscover it. You have to take a seat in the midst of your emotions, slow down and pay attention to what’s coming up. You have to be honest with yourself and that can be deeply uncomfortable when you know that the way you’ve been doing things doesn’t work for you. You have to let a new way unfold.
It helps in these times to have a partner on the journey to take a stand for your way faring. To listen and pay attention, free from any judgment to what you’re saying and what you’re not saying. To hold you to that bigger, bolder transformational agenda of who you are becoming.
Sometimes we reach a point where everything is so crammed in that we’ve lost the essence of who we are.
If that’s you, perhaps you might want to check out my group coaching programme, Release that’s starting on 19th October. It’s designed so that you can explore what’s out of balance, rediscover what sparks your joy and recommit to yourself.