Getting to know yourself, it seems to me, is just like putting on the most comfortable undies you have ever worn. You may recognise the Australian slang, please feel free to use any reference that suits you in describing your underwear (gruts, under garments, underwear, slip, pants, etc). I came to this realisation, when I did put on the most comfortable undies I had ever worn. For the risk of over sharing, I won’t go into too much detail, needless to say, they just felt right.
This journey of self-discovery and getting to know yourself, your true self, takes time. The journey can be uncomfortable, you try to fit in with what everyone else thinks, feels and believes. You try on a mask, behaviour, attitude or belief, this can sometimes feel tight and sometimes it just doesn’t fit you at all. We all go through phases of getting to know our true selves. As a child, I can remember being a free spirit, playing by myself and yet never feeling alone. I always used to talk to my imaginary friends (although I never thought of them as imaginary). To me these were true soul mates. We played together and had such great fun and adventures. Being a free spirit felt like being me. I hadn’t learnt to conform to society norms; I hadn’t learnt what was deemed good, bad or ugly in this world yet. I was just being me, free.
As I grew up, I started to observe the comments made by those around me, friends, family, those older than me and those my age and younger. I started to understand how the world worked and I didn’t really like it. I felt an innate need to rebel, to not conform. However that longing to ‘fit in’ overcame my free spirit for a little while and so I began to mould myself into the acceptable. It didn’t quite fit. I felt constrained, tight, and uncomfortable. I felt like I was changing who I was to fit in and that is exactly what I was doing. As a teenager that need to fit in became even stronger. I needed other people’s approval and cared what people thought. Now you might say that this is a normal part of growing up. However, is it really how it needs to be? Do we really need to continue with this outdated way of thinking, of being? At this stage, I don’t have the answers, but now as an adult, now more than ever in this ever changing world, wouldn’t it be great if we started to embrace our differences, love who we truly are and just as we are. What would the world look like if our children were not moulded into who we think they should or shouldn’t be?
And as time went on, that tight feeling became ever more present. Until one day, I said to myself, stuff this (well, I actually said something much cruder from memory)! That’s when I started to shift my perspective; I started to re-learn who I truly was, as along my journey I had lost that feeling. I had morphed into someone that I didn’t really, truly know anymore. I slowly started to dig into who I had become and as I did, I uncovered there was more comfort, more homeliness and more me under the masks, layers and walls I had built. Over time and with work, I became more comfortable with who I am, who I always was.
Until one day, when out of blue, I had a realisation. That who I am becoming, who I am unfurling, discovering and evolving into, as an adult and also who my inner child had longed for, was just like wearing comfy undies. I feel safe; I feel held and feel like I am finally comfortable with who I am.