To thyself be true. Polonius in Hamlet.
Just be yourself. How many times and in how many ways has that advice been heard?
For a very long time, the notion of being true to myself eluded me. Not my understanding of the idea but more so the application. Berating myself that, of course, I should know how to be myself. Who doesn't ehh! Living with an inkling that I was not authentic. The feeling my actions were led by and mostly served to meet the needs of others. A type of manipulative altruism. Hidden agendas. Being driven by a need to be accepted. To be wanted. To be loved. That this need motivated decisions and actions in life. That I had lost myself along the way. No surprises I guess is the supposition this all comes from poorly processed and unresolved childhood angst.
This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
The realisation that acceptance is a two-way exchange came to me some time ago. That not being accepted was as much if not more about the other than it was about me. That acceptance by others was in many ways out of my control. That acceptance won through second guessing and people pleasing was contrived and transient.
Thinking more on this just the other day. I had a light bulb moment. There is nothing to know. That is the idea that there is some innate meaning, purpose, and essence to me, to my life, that I have never discovered. To know and be true to. I have been looking for or rather thinking there was something to be found. Feeling all this time just a bit awkward, a bit inadequate for not having a stronger and clear sense of just how I could be more myself.
So back now to acceptance. I am thinking that being yourself comes only from accepting yourself. Accepting we each have our own intrinsic value as a human being. No approval is required. Not holding back for fear of judgement. Of thinking about looking bad. Of trying hard to look good. Being yourself is not something hidden and to be unearthed. It instead comes from self-acceptance, reinvention and courageous expression. That feels good to me. Feels like an access point to being myself has been created.
Polonius was a bit of an arse. Wish I had bothered to find that out sooner. Life isn't about finding yourself; Life is about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw