“To be nobody but yourself
in a world which is doing its best,
night and day to make you everybody else –
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being could fight;
…and keep fighting.”
~e. e. cummings
I do think that the hardest battle we fight in this world is to be ourselves—our true Selves that we were born to be. And while I agree that pressure from the outside world and our desire to fit in and be accepted is one of the great challenges of this battle, I don’t think it’s the greatest one.
I think the greatest challenge in this battle to allow the Self to emerge comes from inside. We are our greatest enemies. Even when the original messages about what is expected of us came from the world around us, it is only those messages that we have internalized and made part of our own story that have power over us. It is our own stories about who we “should” or “shouldn’t” be or what we “should” or “shouldn’t” do that hold us back from becoming our true selves. Our inner tyrants may speak with the voices of those around us, but they live in our own heads where we can’t escape them.
I’ve spent years battling this inner tyrant of mine. First, I thought I was fighting the people and systems from whence the voices originated. This just made me angry and rebellious so that I often made choices based on doing the opposite of what was expected, but that is still a form of being controlled by outside expectations. I wasn’t anywhere close to my true Self.
Then I discovered that the voices were inside of me. I was actually fighting my own internal critic and tyrant made up of all of the external messages I had accepted over the years and clung onto. Fighting against myself just turned the anger inward but did not loosen the control these messages had over me. I was still too caught up in the messages to even know who my true Self was much of time.
However, I think I have finally discovered a powerful secret weapon in my fight over my inner tyrant. I’ve realized that the strength of my inner tyrant is directly correlated to the amount of time and energy I put into trying to make other people into who I think they should be. So my secret weapon is simply to let go of any attempt to make anyone else into anyone other than who they appear to be.
Does that mean that I have to like or approve of everyone I meet? No, of course not. I may decide that there are people I do not want to associate with because they are not healthy or pleasant to be around, but I can still let them be who they are.
The magic of this secret weapon is that this letting of making anyone else be something they are not has not only turned the volume way down on those accusing, critical, demanding voices in my head that were trying to make me be something I’m not, it’s also given me back enough energy to really dive down deep to figure out who my true Self really is.
This may still be the hardest battle I’ll ever fight, but my secret weapon has given me an enormous edge in the fight!
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.