Are You Being YOU?
February 1, 2018
Being YOU is the BEST-EST thing you can do during your time here on planet earth. Aside from eating scrumptious homemade cherry cheesecake, that is. And maybe dreamy creamy chocolatey goodness-es-es. Ahhhhh. [Floating away on a double-dip donut]
Kidding. But they’re a close second. Maybe I need to get somethin’ to eat!
But really, everyone tells us we should relax and be ourselves. But how do we know when we are? Being ourselves, that is. And how do we know when we aren’t? I mean, we’ve been practicing being ourselves from day one. Did we get it wrong?
Ummmmm, well at least ONE of us did...ME!
If you've read Hey, No Teasing the Ostrich—You May Have More in Common Than You Think you may have a better idea what hiding your inner sparkle LOOKS like. And after reading When I Went Inside, Look Who I Found you may have a better idea what hiding your inner sparkle FEELS like. But how can you know for sure if you’re hiding the real you? What else could give you a bright green tickie or a big red X?
How about a self-assessment questionnaire?
Here’s a better solution.
And the best part is I can also demonstrate how hip I am at the same time. Oh, wait. No one uses the word hip anymore, do they? Dang it! I just became unhip by using hip when all I really wanted to do was show you how hip I was!
Ok, I’m not over my hipness deficit yet but let’s carry on.
Since finding a “hack” for things is currently in fashion, I thought it’d be cool to have a hack for knowing if you’re hiding. For those unfamiliar with hacks, a hack is like finding a simple, straight forward way of resolving a problem. And it's often done using kind of a unique or uncommon method. Well, because our true essence is all about being unique and uncommon, it's a PERFECT fit! So here it is.
A Sparkly Hack
The easiest way for me to identify whether I'm hiding my inner sparkle is by answering one simple question:
Am I suffering emotionally?
Yup, that’s it. One tiny sentence. Four little words. And punctuation. If the answer to this question is “yes”, then I know I’m hiding who I really am. I could be hiding for two minutes, a few hours, a handful of days, or on and off for most of a lifetime. But no matter how often or how long, the result is the same. I’m still hiding.
What’s Emotional Suffering?
In a nutshell, it means I’m experiencing an emotion that DOESN’T feel good. You know…feeling fragile, embarrassed, guilty, frustrated, annoyed, ashamed, pessimistic, moody, lonely, deprived, guarded, timid, etc. You see, all these yucky feelings are basically various forms of unhappiness. And unhappiness doesn’t feel good. I mean, when I feel unhappy, it’s generally NOT the time I break out the hors d’oeuvres and sparkly drinks with little umbrella thingies in ’em.
Yahhhhh, I’m feeling super disappointed and can hardly get myself outta bed…let’s celebrate!!!
Ah, no. That’s not usually how it goes. Feeling unhappy in one form or another generally involves emotional suffering. It’s just the degree of suffering that differs. For more on this, I’ve written an entire post about unhappiness and emotional suffering here.
What Creates Emotional Suffering?
What I’ve come to realize is anything that removes joy causes emotional suffering. Because it messes with my light. In other words, anything that interferes with my inner sparkle’s free flow from the inside to the outside is cutting off my light and causing suffering.
I think I’ve known this intuitively for much of my life. Because I’ve experienced how good joy feels when it’s around and how awful it feels when it disappears. In fact, I despised its departure so much I used to blame other people when it left. \[honesty alert: sometimes I still do—but I'm workin' on it.] I mean, it’s pretty easy to point a finger at others behaviour because lots of us are off our game. Many of us aren’t aligned with who we really are for much of the time. And when we’re off, we’re carrying around bad feeling energy and passing it along to everyone else. Yup, that wonderful gift that keeps on giving. [smile]
After many years, I’ve finally accepted this one thing: I’m responsible for my own joy. And other people are responsible for theirs. So while people around me may make it more challenging for me to feel joyful at times, it’s still my job to keep my light flowing. It’s like building up a muscle. The more I do it, the stronger I get.
One way I interfere with my own joy is when I screen out my real self. How so? By not saying what I really want to say, when I want to say it. By tailoring my behaviour to fit in more peacefully with others. By being more invested in how others see me than how I see myself. By being too focused on saying the “right” thing rather than simply speaking my truth. And by filling up those around me instead of filling me up.
The main theme is keeping the real me tucked away all safe and sound. For years, I've done this. On some level, it made me feel safer keeping my sparkle locked up deep inside. And much of the time I didn't even realize what I was doing. Or the price I was paying. Today, I'd say keeping the real me hidden is about as safe as poking a hornet's nest. Because there's a penalty for doing so—a steep penalty. You see, when I hide parts of myself, I don't get to escape fear or discomfort or whatever emotion I'm silently running from. I simply exchange a piece of myself for some short-term emotional relief. It's really just a delaying tactic. Because longer-term, I open the door to unhappiness and invite in heaps of emotional suffering.
Yup, another bowl of suffering, coooooming up.
Does this mean the only cause of my emotional suffering comes from hiding my real self? Good question. I dunno. I have a hunch but since the universe has yet to appoint me the “all knowing one” with a complete encyclopedia of answers, I’ll plead the fifth. But what I do know is this: Anything that blocks joy interferes with my light and causes emotional suffering. And when I’m workin’ hard to keep the real me contained inside, in an effort to make the fake me well-received outside, well there’s a whole lota joy being blocked. And, big surprise, a lot of suffering served up along with it.
Where There’s No Joy…There’s No Sparkle
Suffering sucks. All kinds of suffering sucks. But emotional suffering is particularly nasty because it sneaks up on me when I least suspect it and robs me of my joy. I mean, I can’t feel good and bad at the same time. When I'm feel a feeling that doesn’t feel good, joy is nowhere to be found. Now, it may have retreated a little or a lot, but one thing’s for sure—it ain’t there at the same time I'm feelin’ grumpy.
Now maybe I just feel unhappy for a little blip in time.
Now I'm back feelin’ good again. Great!
But other times I may not bounce back so quickly. And the longer I stay stuck in unhappiness, the more I suffer. These are the times when it becomes much more obvious joy has left the building. Because it becomes painful. Very painful. And when joy disappears, so does my light. So does my sparkle.
We can actually witness this happening in people around us. When their light is shining, we say stuff like:
“It feels really great to be around her.”
“She’s such an angel!”
“She’s bigger than life.”
“Gosh, she just spreads light everywhere she goes.”
“There’s something about her that draws me to her.”
“She radiates light everywhere. She’s just contagious.”
“She’s got such a strong presence.”
“Ah, she just sparkles.”
And when we feel the absence of light in others, we say stuff like:
“It’s really hard spending time with her. She’s so dark.”
“She sucks the life outta me.”
“Can’t you just feel the darkness surrounding her?”
“I don’t feel good when I’m with her.”
“She can’t conceal her darkness. It’s just taken over her.”
“She’s so gloomy.”
“There’s a dark cloud hangin’ over her.”
Emotional suffering does the unthinkable—it abducts our light. For me, it’s like some yucky feeling gets a hold of me and won’t let go. Kinda like having gum in my hair. Before I know it, that yucky feelin’ has chased the joy outta me faster than a cold slap on a wet bum. And I feel miserable and outta sync with my true nature. It’s like my sparkle has just “disappeared”.
Where’d She Go?
Is my inner sparkle really gone? Did she really disappear? Has she packed her suitcase, hightailed it outta here and journeyed to greener pastures. I mean, who could blame’er, right?
Here’s what I know:
When our light isn’t shining through, it isn’t because it’s made a grand departure. It isn’t because our light has diminished. It isn’t because we aren’t spectacular. And it isn’t because we aren’t full of light and love and joy. When our light isn’t shining, it’s because it can’t get past all the garbage blockin’ the light. But the light is still there, shining behind all the rubbish. Waiting for the garbage truck to make a pass. Waiting for us to clean up our filters.
You see, our inner being is innately joyful, naturally blissful, and always shining. It doesn't have bad days. It's like it has its own TV channel called Happy and it's locked in the “on” position. Like a flashlight with batteries that never die. When we’re not allowing our inner sparkle to shine, it’s like grey clouds on a cloudy day. The sun is still shining behind the clouds. It’s just not shining through. But we know the sun is still there and will shine another day.
Same thing with us. Our light inside is shining full on. We’re just not feelin’ it because our light isn’t flowing through. In that moment, our insides don’t match our outsides. And the mismatch feels cruddy. It’s like our sparkle is stuck inside. Cooped up. Waiting. Hiding. In a way, our emotions are like our own personal barometer. They tell us how much light is shining through us at any given moment—how much of our true nature is show’n up on the outside.
Wrappin’ Up The Sparkly Hack
How do I know for sure emotional suffering means I’m hiding who I really am?
Because emotional suffering is the absence of joy.
And where there’s no joy, there’s no light.
Where there’s no light, there’s no sparkle.
And where there’s no sparkle, there’s no real me.
Where’d I go? Inside.
What’m I doin’ in there? Hiding.
You see, no matter the cause, if we’re suffering emotionally our authentic self is cooped up inside. And the reverse is also true. I mean, show me someone living a truly joyful life who’s hiding their authentic self and I’ll show you a flying purple elephant. Common sense tells us it just doesn’t work that way. Because suffering and hiding go together like peanut butter and jam. Sugar and spice. Hugs and kisses. Except suffering and hiding are more unpleasant. Kinda like rancid peanut butter and moldy jam. You get the idea. Where there’s suffering, there’s hiding. And where there’s hiding, there’s suffering. That’s it, right there. In a peanut shell.
Well, I wouldn’t be serving any of us if I left us here—next to moldy jam and a peanut shell. So let’s flip this thing on its head:
Where there’s joy, there’s light.
Where there’s light, there’s sparkle.
And where there’s sparkle, there’s you.
Beautiful. Bright. Loving. Joyful. Free.
And now it's time this chickie bids you a farewell. But first, let me say this: you’re not naturally unhappy. Your light is in there, dying to shine. And you’re more beautiful than you can ever imagine—special beyond measure. Believe it. Now close your eyes and hold out your hands. Do ya feel that? I’m sending you heaps and heaps of love. Until next time...
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and I’m not a mental health professional. Obviously. I can’t possibly know your full situation so please consult a professional before acting upon information from yourpurpleswan.com. Should you decide to act of your own accord, you do so at your own risk. Kinda like skydiving.
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