There is no manual that teaches us how to become who we really are and how close or far from it we find ourselves today. There is no assessment to gauge how worthy we are either. Worthy of what? Of Love and Respect.
We go to school where we’re taught to write, read and speak. We then advance to a level where we’re able to engage with literature, geography, maths, chemistry and art. It’s all relevant, but what can we really do with that volume of knowledge when we don’t know who we are to begin with.
When I deliver corporate training, I always ask who, out of the group, was ever taught to get to know themselves. 100% of the time I am dismayed by a room full of shaking heads or baffled looks. I inevitably feel frustration, sometimes even anger (the positive kind that has been with me throughout my life as an engine for change).
I often ask myself, ‘“How can we be moving so fast with technology and science and not have people stressing the necessity for change in our educational system and institutions?”. We seem to be delegating the responsibility of education and information to social media now. We open one of our trusted social platforms up to find a world at our finger tips, where we can read infinite quotes on how to ‘love ourselves’ and others better or how to surrender to the universe or our Creator's will. It all serves its purpose, don’t get me wrong. But reading is one thing and integrating that new information is another. Integration is first of all always preceded by disintegration, and this simply does not happen when we read an inspirational quote on Instagram or Facebook. Empty words crowd our minds and inadvertently may push us to repeat the cycle of preaching to and blaming others instead of acknowledging our own responsibilities or areas for improvement.
Getting to know who ‘we really are’ requires a lot more perseverance and discomfort. I remember one of my professors at the University of South Australia saying, “in order to transform, our old ego has to die and a new one must be born in its place”. I agree fully and believe that the personality, the masks, the layers of self-protection we’ve been collecting to survive since childhood (in one way or another, I believe we’re all survivors), have first got to explode before they can come together again in a different and healthier way.
What does it mean to ‘know oneself’?
I believe that knowing who we really are involves getting in touch with two opposite parts of ourselves that already exist: the positive and the negative parts.
It requires us to…
- Recognise and observe (but not judge) both our strengths and our flaws.
- Then, find the courage to feel and sustain the feeling of processing that necessary pain or hurt, which allow us to look, recognise and acknowledge our ‘shadow’ (or negative part) and take responsibility for it. This is what I call, transformational pain, in my book, Stella’s Mum Gets Her Groove Back, and is a crucial step in getting to really know oneself.
- And finally, transform and manage that pain and hurt we need to go through whilst recognising our dark side that has been slowly developed and nurtured in our development and simultaneously finding the beauty and gifts it offers too.
As we know, there’s no interest or pressure to teach all this in our schools. Awakening people is not in the interest of powerful people and many others in the world.
What does it mean to be ‘worthy’?
Feeling worthy is a basic human right. Despite our status, education, sex, religion, culture or race, every human being is worthy. Worthy of what? Of Love and Respect.
It seems a little utopian and in a way, it is. You take one look at the world now just as it is, and you see the exact opposite happening everywhere. We’re surrounded by wars and injustices where people and children are treated like anything but worthy, whilst the financial and business worlds continue to grow. Nobody seems to care much beyond a slight air of concern when faced with the realities on the news. We continue blindly living in a world increasingly characterised by narcissism, abuse, neglect and indifference.
Being worthy is a concept, but an important one, and once again, there seems to be little to no interest in teaching about it in schools. Educating people on their worth would mean giving people their strength, sense of self and voice, but it’s far more easy to manipulate quiet, dormant, fearful people with a deep-rooted belief that they are not worthy.
The next step
To move forward we must build awareness outside of schools and religious institutions. The work that coaches, trainers, speakers and social media do, has already got the ball rolling. But we need more.
Knowing who we really are is our right of birth. Knowing that we are worthy by overcoming the limiting believes we’ve been conditioned by, is a priority. One that’s certainly not exclusive to people who can afford a coach or training program, it must be so for everybody.
What if the people around me appear to believe I am not worthy of love and respect?
If you’re surrounded by people who somehow perpetuate feelings of unworthiness, then I recommend taking the following steps…
- Start by searching and understanding what the real meaning of love and respect is.
- Nurture and integrate the idea that we must love and respect ourselves first, before we can do so for anyone else like our children, parents, colleagues or friends.
- Begin practicing self-love and self-respect. Do this by giving love and respect to yourself (carving time out of your day for yourself, setting healthy boundaries, speaking up) and to others. In short… begin by giving yourself what you’d like to give to others and hope to receive back (important note, there is no assurance it will come back, but that is besides the point).
You will soon see that when you do this simple (but inherently also complex) act of kindness and honouring towards yourself, that things around you will shift and change. People who cannot or will not respect and love you will start fading out of your life, whilst those who can and will, will enter or stay. You will start attracting new people around you who believe you are worthy, just like everybody else.
With Love. Elisabetta
header image by Chico Francoglio
Read my blog post, Do I Need a Life Coach, for more information on some of the topics touched on above such as childhood conditioning and mechanisms of resistance, and how a life coach can help you break out of sabotaging cycles.
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