Psychology

Born to Live: Becoming Yourself

To become your authentic self you need to listen to the voice of your soul and then allow it to work through your personality. It sounds simple, but growing up is a precarious business. To see how this might work we need to go back to the beginning. Let’s look at the genesis of a life.

Born to be a Dancer

Mummy and Daddy love each other very much and want to get as close to each other as they can…

That’s what it said in one of the books I had as a child. To my innocent eyes the drawings were horrifying ;). Still, we know what happens next – he rolls over and falls asleep. Nine months later the happy day arrives and after much screaming and spilling of blood, a new life begins.

It’s a girl! Let’s call her Eve.

Eve was born to be a dancer but she doesn’t know it yet. She doesn’t know anything. She’s a bundle of instinct and potential, with her Daddy’s eyes.

Eve is healthy and begins to grow. She learns to differentiate from her environment; some things are Eve and some things aren’t. The main thing that is Eve is her body which seems to be made up of different parts, like ‘nose’, ‘belly’, and ‘toes’. The toes she particularly enjoys as she can fit these into her ‘mouth’.

Mummy and Daddy make funny noises with their mouths and Eve copies them. She learns that certain sounds relate to certain objects. Soon she is constructing sentences and learning that she has an ‘I’, and that this ‘I’ wants things.

Sometimes Mummy’s and Daddy’s respective ‘I’s declare that Eve can’t have what she wants, and sometimes she can. So Eve learns to be good and make her parents happy so she’ll get what she needs.

But sometimes what she needs doesn’t match what Mummy or Daddy need, so she learns to deny what she needs and consciously only wants what her parents are willing to let her have. There are occasional outbursts, but no spankings. Mummy and Daddy are proud to be liberal minded parents. Eve just receives admonitions to “be a good girl, you don’t want to upset Mummy, do you?

When she was still small, Eve’s parents noticed she possessed certain qualities and characteristics. She had long legs and seemed unusually keen to run around, she could never sit still. They did their best to keep her under control, after all, they didn’t want their little girl to injure herself. She adored music, but couldn’t listen to it in a civilised manner, she had to throw herself about the place.

Eve grew up to be tall (like her Dad), intelligent (like her Mum), and good at sports (like long-lost uncle Tarquin). She loved sport at school because it was the only time she could move around and really use her body. She felt alive while running and jumping, and took to gymnastics like a duck to water. But something bothered her about sport. She had to move, she knew that, but did she really have to compete all the time? She hated the feeling of being pitted against her friends. It reminded Eve of her parents.

Mum and Dad were always pushing her to succeed. They wanted her to go to university, had been saving for years. They never had anything specific in mind, just the notion of ‘being a success’. To them success meant making money. It didn’t matter what she did, so long as she was paid handsomely for it. “We just want you to be happy. We want the best for you. If you want the best you must have money. That’s how the world works. We don’t make the rules. We just want you to be happy.” The same mantra was repeated over and over until she was sick of hearing it. It made her want to run away and never come back. What should Eve do?

The answer is simple. Eve should dance.

Dancing
Born to dance

Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Eve falls in love with what her parents describe as ‘a lovely young man’, whose mother used to be a dancer. Eve attends a dance school and takes to it like a starving man presented with a banquet. She graduates at the top of her class and is later spotted dancing her heart out on Madonna’s new video.

It seems obvious in retrospect to say that Eve was born to be a dancer, but is it true? How did she become who she was meant to be? Are there genes for dancing? She has the genes for tallness, but that just means she can reach high shelves. Her temperament is outgoing, physical and exuberant, she wants to flow and move and love. She wants to feel alive. There’s nothing unusual about any of that, nothing special or unique.

She may be unusual in her capacity to see through her parent’s anxieties and in her willingness to challenge them and carve out her own path. We all like to think we do this. We glorify, even deify, individuals who have the courage to be themselves. But when it comes to living as our authentic selves we shrink from the difficulty involved. We don’t want to upset anyone or rock the boat, even at the expense of our own happiness. We substitute being ourselves with imitating ourselves.

We fake it.

You can’t be yourself if you don’t know who you are. Knowing yourself should be the most obvious thing in the world. You’re closer to yourself than anyone ever will be, and yet you’re a mystery to yourself.

Eve knew she had to move and use her body. She felt alive when she did so, but she didn’t know why. It was only later when she discovered dancing that she understood.

While Eve is dancing she knows who she is and why she must dance. If you asked her “Who are you?”, she would reply “I’m a dancer.” But while she’s dancing she isn’t thinking “I’m dancing”, she just dances.

The knowing of who she is isn’t an intellectual matter. She knows it in her gut, in her limbs, in her heart. In her soul.

Next time we’ll look at how consciousness evolves through childhood in more detail in How to Grow a Person.

In the meantime, how do you hear the voice of your soul? Share your thoughts below…

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6 thoughts on “Born to Live: Becoming Yourself

  1. Insightful and compelling. Inner voice for me is stillness itself. Just being complete in presence in the moment. Not needing to be anything at all. No labels, no fears, no ambitions, no illusions. To me, oneness with source is the most authentic I can be. We search externally and needlessly for a genuine sense of self, when it is fully granted as a condition of our existence.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “You can’t be yourself if you don’t know who you are. Knowing yourself should be the most obvious thing in the world. You’re closer to yourself than anyone ever will be, and yet you’re a mystery to yourself.”

    That is right to the point. Thanks for writing that.

    I hear the voice of my soul in various ways.
    Often, it is the urge to do something or the joy I experience when I do something which matters to me. In my youth, that was dancing, actually. I was only happy with dancing.
    Now, it is reading and also writing.

    The inner voice has many channels through which it tries to reach me. I often hear a song in my head where I have to google the lyrics. Then I find out that they have a deep meaning which fits to the current events and contains a message. Dreams with metaphorical content are also common for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, song lyrics often come up for me too – usually just one line that goes round and round driving me crazy until I acknowledge it and make the connection between the words and what I need to remember or pay attention to.

      Often when I feel drawn to do something or if I ask for guidance, I know I’m on the right track if I get a sense of ‘rightness’. It’s like an intuitive sense of ‘Yes!’ and there’s a feeling of excitement. Sometimes I misinterpret that as anxiety and then get scared. And then I might need a little prod to get moving – like a synchronicity or annoying song lyric.

      The soul can communicate in so many ways. It’s probably ‘talking’ to us all the time, if we’d just pay attention!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for sharing that about the lyrics. This seems common for many people.

        Yes, the whole process is not easy and takes a lot of discernment. Interesting that the excitement of the Yes can feel like anxiety for you. I have to watch what it feels like in myself.

        My inner voice sometimes comes up just as a voice. For example, it let me know that I should sort of specialize on this whole subject of divine guidance. This message was NOT connected to an inner Yes or a feeling of rightness. My response was merely like ,
        ‘Huh, really ?? If you want me to do that, then I need more proof.’
        Because I felt more like diving into the various phases of the awakening process and the emotional turmoil connected to it.
        Well, I’ll see. Have to let myself be guided and see what happens.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s interesting – I often decide to do one thing and then suddenly find myself drawn to doing something else instead, like the energy is just going in that direction and all I can do is follow it. The thing you ‘think’ you want to do may not be the ‘right’ thing. And then there are the times when you manage to convince yourself you’ve received guidance, when really it’s just your ego pushing its own agenda and masquerading as your Higher Self. It’s all so confusing!

          Perhaps your interests in divine guidance on the one hand, and emotional turmoil in the awakening process on the other, aren’t so far apart. Perhaps we experience turmoil and confusion because we’re not very good at discerning the guidance we’re receiving, so struggle to put it into practise.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Yes, I agree, it can be confusing at times. And sometimes I wish, I would have a better discernment for what is inner voice and what is ego.

          Sure, confusion and turmoil can be a result of not being able to get clear guidance. But the ego’s temper tantrums during the Dark Night, layer after layer of difficult emotions like in an onion? I’ve never thought about them as
          results of poor guidance. But maybe they are. Maybe these difficult phases would be easier to navigate if guidance were easier to recognize.

          Liked by 1 person

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