On Being Noboby-but-Yourself

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I’m retiring . . . but don’t worry, it’s not from this wonderful work of helping people heal their heart issues and transform their lives. No, I love that work too much.

I’m retiring from the “job” of being a people pleaser. (You natural rebels can stop reading here.)

I’m done with living by internalized or expressed expectations that are based more on socialization than my own divinely-guided values.

I’m retiring from the “job” “Pharaoh” foisted on me while I wasn’t looking.

Pharaoh was the Egyptian king who enslaved the ancient Hebrews. When God raised Moses up to set God’s people free to be who God created them to be—his special people—Pharaoh said, “No way!” Further, the more Moses pressed, the more tyrannical Pharaoh become. “Now make bricks without straw—and see to it you keep up the same quota!’

I’ve written before about “Pharaoh.” “Pharaoh” can be anything that seeks to squeeze you into its own mold, or discourage you from being who you really are.

One of my favorite quotes is from the poet e.e. cummings (whose unconventional punctuation of his name in itself illustrates the point):

“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

can fight; and never stop fighting.”

And oh, is that world “doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else”!

Seems to me, this is the whole thrust of social media. (Apologies to those of you who are SM fans.)

This is why I just can’t bring myself to be on social media much. Business “gurus” do their best to convince me I have to do Facebook Lives and be on Instagram, but somehow, by the end of the day, I find I just never get around to even looking at Facebook.

(I’d love to hear your thoughts on SM. And if you would like to see more of me on SM, let me know!) 

Why is it so easy to be caught up in this trap of trying-to-be-everyone-else?

Because of the human need for validation.

We need to know we’re OK. We feel we need to have our experiences validated by other people having the same experience.

But, are they really having the same experience as us? Probably not. Each person has his or her own experience, and it’s unique, and ideally, needs no outside validation whatsoever. If you are truly “nobody-but-yourself,” you don’t need validation.

Yet we do crave validation, usually because we didn’t get it earlier in life. So we looked outside ourselves, and came to believe if we fit a certain mold (good wife, mother, community leader, volunteer, entrepreneur, etc.), then we’re OK.

However, we never quite feel we are OK, because we can’t get that Ok-ness from outward sources. We do need other people, yes. Ideally, other people are loving mirrors who reflect back who we truly are, and provide true validation.

(That, by the way, is one of the things a good coaching program does. It validates you AND moves you to be the “new you” that you are transforming into. I see my clients not as the “caterpillars” they may see themselves as, but as the beautiful “nobody-but-themselves” butterfly that is on the other side of their healing and transformation.)

But loving validation is not what many of us experienced. Many of us saw reflected back only distorted images of who we are, and/or received the message, “You are only OK if you do what I say, if you conform to what I want you to be.”

(Highly Sensitives, People of Color, and anyone who is “different” especially know what I’m talking about.)

So how do you become “nobody-but-yourself”? E.e. cummings says you need to learn how to feel.

Yes, learn how to feel.

Speaking to aspiring poets, cummings writes:

“A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words.

“This may sound easy. It isn’t.

“A lot of people think or believe or know they feel — but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling — not knowing or believing or thinking.

“Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.

“. . . And so my advice to all young people who wish to become poets is: do something easy, like learning how to blow up the world — unless you’re not only willing, but glad, to feel and work and fight till you die.

“Does that sound dismal? It isn’t.

“It’s the most wonderful life on earth.

“Or so I feel.”*

You don’t have to be a poet to aspire to be “nobody-but-yourself.”

You just need to be honest. Authentic. Willing to feel.

And to “retire” from trying to be “everybody-else.”

YOU are enough.

And if you don’t believe this yet, or you are ready to “retire” from the role of being everybody-else, consider getting some coaching to heal the old patterns that block your being nobody-but-yourself. Experience the freedom of being aligned with your divine design, not anyone else’s pre-defined role.

 

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