Tag Archives: Society

On my (Failed) Plans to Rule and/or Own the World

29 Sep

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else” ~ Judy Garland

We all know what it means to not be ourselves, or in other words, to pretend to be someone else.  We usually discover this in school, when, in an attempt to make friends or to become popular, we pretend to like certain bands, or we start dressing in a certain way, or we voice ideas that we know will get us kudos points.

This phenomenon starts in school, but for many it can last way into adulthood. Some of us remodel our personality for a job, a circle of friends or for a partner. In most cases, this is to feel secure and accepted, to be approved of and loved. We pick up many signs on what is a ‘good’ person, an ‘intelligent’ person, a ‘worthy’ person, a ‘successful’ person and so on, from society and from our immediate circle of communication, such as friends and family. Many of us feel obliged to live up to these expectations, to show the world that we are the perfect example of that perfect person.

During my university years, I saw myself in a way that many London students are taught to see themselves: confident, well-groomed, intelligent, popular and successful. My decisions, starting from where I would drink coffee to where I would go clubbing, would be based on this self-image that I’d constructed. If my conscious could have picked out an image to explain who I was aiming to be, it would have looked something like this:

models

I wanted to be a supermodel with a successful business career, with cool and rich friends, a million talents, an address book full of useful contacts, and regular holidays where I would either tan on a yacht or build orphanages on a lost island. I wanted incarnate everything that magazines made look so easy. I wanted to live up to this image of the ‘perfect’ woman, according to the metropolitan capital’s society.

This ‘perfect’ woman, however, was far from the perfect version of my true self. I started realising this three years ago, when, spending a year away from London in a small Southern city, I began to see life differently. I met people who were natural and who lived honestly and simply. I met people who found it surprising to see me in make-up, rather than shocking to see me without it. I met people whose dreams were to have a family and live in a house in the countryside, rather than to rule and/or own the world, as was not uncommon to hear from people my age in London.

This eye-opening experience led me to take several spiritual psychotherapy courses upon my return to London. In these courses, I discovered my inner child, I learnt that what I think I want out of life or relationships is only what my conscious wants, and most importantly, I learnt to connect to my subconscious. From this, I discovered that my true self actually looks something like this:

Quite a difference, eh?

It took a while for me to understand and accept the true self that my subconscious was showing me. I took small steps to embrace my true self (I will talk about this in detail in a future post), often coming up against fear of the unknown, fear of ‘letting down my defenses’ and fear of being different. A year and half later, I am living away from London in a quiet town in France. In the eight months that I have spent here, I have never reminisced about this other young woman that I once was or aimed to be. On the contrary, I have felt a sense of peace and freedom to not try and live up to an image, to not try and meet someone’s expectations, and to not be constantly thinking about whether I am good enough, intelligent enough or beautiful enough.

I recently read a passage in D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love that struck a chord with me. I believe it conveys perfectly what I used to feel, and, had I remained aiming to be this other self, I would have achieved the ‘perfection’ that I was seeking, but in my heart, just like in Hermione’s, there would have been a void for where my real self should have been.

“Hermione knew herself to be well-dressed; she knew herself to be the social equal, if not far the superior, of anyone she was likely to meet in Willey Green. She knew she was accepted in the world of culture and of intellect. She was a KULTURTRAGER, a medium for the culture of ideas. With all that was highest, whether in society or in thought or in public action, or even in art, she was at one, she moved among the foremost, at home with them. No one could put her down, no one could make mock of her, because she stood among the first, and those that were against her were below her, either in rank, or in wealth, or in high association of thought and progress and understanding. So, she was invulnerable. All her life, she had sought to make herself invulnerable, unassailable, beyond reach of the world’s judgment.

And yet her soul was tortured, exposed. Even walking up the path to the church, confident as she was that in every respect she stood beyond all vulgar judgment, knowing perfectly that her appearance was complete and perfect, according to the first standards, yet she suffered a torture, under her confidence and her pride, feeling herself exposed to wounds and to mockery and to despite. She always felt vulnerable, vulnerable, there was always a secret chink in her armour. She did not know herself what it was. It was a lack of robust self, she had no natural sufficiency, there was a terrible void, a lack, a deficiency of being within her.”

D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love

~

Are you living up to an image that is not reflecting your true self?

If you could show your current self in an image, what would it look like?
If you could show your real, subconscious self in an image, what would it look like?

What small steps can you take to embrace your true self?

The Gift of Intuition

8 Jan

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honours the servant
and has forgotten the gift.”
– Albert Einstein

Our intuition nudges us constantly. It is a powerful but gentle force, guiding us softly but surely. Most of the time it comes to us in what we consider banal situations, so we don’t listen to it, thinking that an intuition is for ‘bigger, more important’ things.

Today, during my Saturday shift at my local independent bookshop, I was drawn in particular to one title: Twenty-one Locks by Laura Barton. I kept looking at the book, picking it up, flicking through it, reading passages of it. I couldn’t pull myself away from it.

Something was drawing me to the book, yet my rational side was trying to dissuade me against buying it: “You have too many unread books at home”, “You shouldn’t be spending so much money on your passions when there are more important things to take care of”, “You don’t even know whether you’ll like it”. Ah, the rational side of us – why does it always try to ruin all the fun? But most importantly – why do we listen to it so often? “You’re right,” we say to it, as if speaking to a scolding parent, and at the same time we turn our backs on our best friend Intuition.

I decided to research Twenty-one Locks on the internet, in the hope of finding something to help me make up my mind. I found an interview with Laura Barton …and warmed immediately to her. Laura came across as being down to earth, open and just simply lovely! She used beautiful language, including metaphors and imagery, which really evoked her persona. One phrase of hers stuck out at me in particular: “I hoped that if I just wrote as honestly as I could then people would respond to it”. Although I has sensed it already, this phrase confirmed that Laura writes for love; she writes from her heart, from her passions and from her interests. “[…] Life is too short to be nasty about things”, she said in the interview, and I knew that Twenty-one Locks would follow this motto. It would be a book created by a love for writing and a love for life.

In this everyday, seemingly banal situation of deciding whether or not to buy a book, my intuition had been guiding me in the right direction from the start. I listened to it in the end: I bought the book (and I really look forward to reading it). I just hope that next time I will trust my intuition enough to not have to use the internet for confirmation!