On this Living an Inspired Life blog, I have often shared concepts and techniques for changing your life from the inside out. But what if nothing needs to change in order for you to be happy? In fact, perhaps you never needed anything more or anything different – it was merely a perception that something was missing.
Think back to when you were born. Weren’t your needs incredibly simple? Sleep, food, nurturing and the occasional nappy change!
You weren’t thinking about the type of job you were going to do, the big house or fancy car or how you could get people to like you. You just were being you, being a baby.
I know that’s a simplistic view of life. It naturally gets a bit more complex as we get older and need to create our own shelter and support ourselves and perhaps a family. But all of those ‘mores’ — do we really need all of them for happiness and peace?
What if we could return to our more basic self — our true nature — and relish the simple way of being once more? I think it is more possible than perhaps we imagine.
Lets start by examining how these complexities are formed.
We are born whole, healthy and complete. Perfect in every way, just as mother nature intended. There were no thoughts of inferiority. We didn’t look over at the next cot in the hospital and compare ourselves to the baby lying there… “They have more hair, their rattle is better than mine, they slept for five hours whilst I managed on three!“… Such thoughts are ridiculous!
Not so ridiculous, it would seem, by the time we reach school. Now we are subject to various scales of measurement — how easily we learn to read, how well we hold a pencil, our capacity for retaining information or our ability to throw and catch a ball. It’s a never-ending process of judgment. A few manage to hang onto their own worth but most of us, in at least one area, buy into the belief that we are not ‘quite’ up to the mark. Responding to the opinions of those we look up to, we are conditioned to believe our inadequacies. And so a new identity is born: False Identity #1.
Of course it isn’t a constant presence in our life. We may function exceptionally well in many different situations. We may be happy a large proportion of the time. Yet in those moments when our weak spot is revealed, we may suddenly find ourselves right in the middle of our unworthiness and believing the thought ‘I am not good enough‘ once more.
For many people, the discomfort of bumping into some inadequacies from time-to-time is never a big enough issue for them to want to tackle. But if these feelings are intense or frequent enough, the desire to change may win through and so begins the next stage of our journey — the quest for self-improvement!
Self-improvement can take many forms — goal-setting, therapy, self-help books, healing, workshops or seminars to name just a few. Clearly, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these. Without a doubt the quality of many lives have been enhanced considerably with these approaches. The real question is how much do they take us back to the perfection of our true self? If self-improvement becomes a mask for the underlying inadequacy, we will find ourselves in False Identity #2. We may be highly motivated but finding that happiness and peace still eludes us.
A familiar analogy may help here. Imagine a diamond is immersed in dirt and grime. Rather than cleaning away the dirt, self-improvement can be the equivalent of trying to cover the muck with nail polish. We are trying to make it look pretty without realising the spectacular beauty at its core.
So maybe it’s not about trying to make ourselves better by self-improvement. Maybe it’s about dropping the layers of polish and grime and seeing what natural magnificence truly lives inside of us.
Let’s substitute the idea of self-improvement with that of self-acceptance. What if we were willing to simply embrace ourselves as we are, warts and all? Maybe you have some weaknesses. So what? Does that make you any less valuable or worthy? Of course not! We are all different. We all have unique gifts. We all have unique flaws. It’s what makes you so perfectly you.
With sufficient self-acceptance we may well find ourselves right at the cusp of False Identity #1 once more. But now we are approaching our concept of our self with a new attitude. Not with a sense of not being good enough but now with an understanding of our authenticity. You know where you rock and you know where you don’t but you are no longer attached to it being any different to how it is.
But we want more than detachment — detachment is calm but not necessarily content. What will move us right back into the core of our perfect true selves? The answer lies in self-love. We don’t just want to accept who we are, we want the head-over-heels-giddy-with-happiness type of self-love. It’s the art of recognising your special nature without the need for superiority. Welcoming your weaknesses whilst seeing your magnificence and radiating your truth. There’s nothing complicated and nothing left to strive for.
You discover the true essence of unconditional love. It always began with you. You have found your way home.