The journey of self-discovery is the most important journey we can take. It is an inner journey and a heroic one. The dragons to be slain are our own fears, insecurities and outgrown belief systems as well as behavior patterns and life situations. Challenges to be overcome include family, social and cultural conditioning.
The journey is an ongoing one that entails identifying our own inner blocks and misunderstandings we bought into when we were very young -- that we were not good enough, pretty enough, intelligent enough or fill-in-the-blank enough. We simply no longer have time for that. Holding on to those beliefs may have protected us in some way; otherwise, we would not have stuck with them. They may have kept us in relative safety and protected us from perceived harm, but they no longer serve us. If playing small kept us from risking failure, it also prevented us from fulfilling our potential. Enough! No more stuffing ourselves into smaller and obsolete containers. No more hiding our light under a bushel. It is high time to come out -- from whichever closet -- as the uniquely magnificent beings that we are.
There is not another being in this universe -- or any other universe, for that matter -- who has the unique genetic qualities and particular set of experiences that make each one of us who we are. If we do not bring that unique human potential to fruition, who will?
Will you bring that unique potential forth? Will you give it full expression, holding nothing back?
Self-expression is about uncovering the soulful power within. It is about being the very best we can be. It is about us, and it has nothing to do with anyone else's power. Others' power cannot diminish us.
There is a fine line between self-expression and attention-seeking behavior, or the "look at me" syndrome.
Whether we are expressing ourselves or showing off egotistically depends on the origin: Are we on stage -- literally or figuratively -- because we must be, because there is something in us that must be expressed -- some talent or gift or message that must be shared -- because that is our essence and our purpose? Or is it because we need the approval, validation or adulation of others? In this case we are compensating for feelings of inadequacy or not being good enough. Only we can answer that for ourselves, although, it is often easy to feel the difference when watching a performance. External validation is like a crystal meth or crack addiction: We can never get enough. Unless our sense of worth comes from ourselves, it is a bottomless pit to try to fill.
Authentic expression is not about trying to impress others. It is about being ourselves in our fullness. Ironically, someone who knows themselves deeply, who has faced down their inner dragons of insecurities and self-doubt and who is not concerned about the impression they are going to make is impressive.
Such is the effect of authentic personal power and magnetism. There is power in being ourselves to the fullest. No one can give that to us nor can they take it away or do it for us. It is ours. It lives inside us. It can be grown, cultivated and developed. Anyone has access to it. No one is off the hook here. We all have access to that source of power. It is as easy -- and as difficult -- as going within.
What holds us back from full self-expression? Shyness. Fear of being judged. Fear of making a fool of ourselves. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. We keep peeling the layers of the onion and going deeper until we get to our core beliefs, ways of thinking about ourselves that developed when we were very young -- sometimes even at a preverbal stage -- and which have no basis on current reality. Core beliefs were the result of a misunderstanding by a very young and uninformed mind: "There is something wrong with me," "I am stupid" or what some call the reverse L'Oreal: "I am not worth it." Being able to identify these core beliefs and fears is more than half the battle as well as realizing that they are normal and a part of the human experience. We all have some version of them. One of the gifts of breathwork, incidentally, is that it helps dissolve them at the source.
Are you tired of playing small, feeling insignificant? Will you be the best you you can be or not? It is that simple. Of course, the question then becomes, who are you? The journey is about self-discovery and self-expression. Embark on it. Embrace it. Dive into it. Trust. Your quest will be supported.