I saw a poster today that implored me to “Sink into the real you.”
Pondering the statement, I wondered how anyone would want to become submerged that deeply.
As a teenager I often found myself filled with thoughts begging me to be anybody else besides the real me.
Be more outgoing.
Don’t be so shy.
My “Don’t be you” went on for many years which led me to “Who are you anyway???” in my adult years. Thankfully I have grown more comfortable with myself and find that who-I-am is not-so-bad and I should-not-be-afraid to be me.
But once in a while I get caught and can’t seem to find my way out. Recently I found myself in a situation that I couldn’t have planned for. Feeling inadequate and embarrassed about feeling not-good-enough, I didn’t seek help to talk it through or feel confident to confide. Navigating my own expectations felt shaky and impossible to reach. It all seemed so unreal and I felt so disappointed in myself.
Henri Nouwen writes: “Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self rejection…I am constantly surprised at how quickly I give in to this temptation.”
It surprised me too.
If self-rejection is a trap then perhaps we need to be prepared for the next time we are tempted to fall. I’ve come up with a few strategies.
At first, ‘sinking into the real me’ seems somewhat frightening. But each time I allow myself to even balance on the edge of it, there are new riches to discover offering an incentive to practice a healthy fresh dose of self compassion and acceptance, faith and trust in my mighty God who calls me beloved.
I’m ready! Next time an invitation arrives suggesting that I forget the freedom I have fought so hard to win, I will deal with it instead of flailing helplessly afraid that all my hard work has been for nothing.