In her book, Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter, author Elaine St James says this: “Have you ever stopped to think about how much energy you spend – and how much you complicate your life – by pretending to be someone other than you are?”
She suggests that we sit down and go through all the major areas of our life and decide how each would be different if the only person we had to impress was ourselves.
Here it is:
Exercise: Being Yourself – Always and Only
- Sit in meditation. Close your eyes and breathe in, bringing all your awareness to the center of your head. Exhale and imagine your grounding cord reaching to the center of the earth. Inhale and center, exhale and ground.
- Now bring your awareness to the following question: How much of my life is lived the way others want me to live? Think about the house you live in, the car you drive, the activities you engage in and the job you have.
- See a scale out in front of your closed eyes. On the left is zero and on the right is 100. Ask the scale to show you the percentage of your life that is spent in pretense. Asked another way: how much of your time and energy is spent striving to be something that you are not?
- Don’t be disturbed if you see a fairly high number on your scale. There is no judgment here. We all pretend, to some degree or another, to be what we are not. This is just a check-in, a way for you to gauge whether the life you are leading is full of other peoples’ wishes and dreams, or your own.
- As you come out of meditation, begin to write about what you’ve discovered. Would you change something if you could? Would you live in a different home? Have a different job? Hang with different people?
What you do with this information is up to you. It could be that you find three or four things that you could change about your current circumstances to bring you into alignment with who-you-truly-are.
Or maybe you find that this exercise is just too scary and you put it off for another time. That’s OK too.
Living up to someone else’s expectation of who we should be is physically and emotionally draining. It’s hard to get to simplicity if we are constantly struggling to hide behind the mask of who others want us to be.
Simplifying – Simply Being Me.
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