To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the past, when I have been faced with a challenging situation, i.e. giving a group presentation for work, I would often be fearful that I wasn’t capable of representing myself in a way that would be meaningful and helpful.

My friends would often say to me “just be yourself”. Although I did appreciate their confidence in me, I questioned, “what does that mean?” I found it funny…. thinking “how ridiculously simple”, but at the same time there still remained a lot of self-doubts as I looked deep inside and realized that I didn’t really know in my heart what it is to just be ‘“me”?

Who is this ‘“me”, is it the self I have come to know so very well with the same habitual behaviors and beliefs I have had most of my life? Am I my personality? Am I the ideas and thoughts that I have been taught by my parents, authority figures, teachers etc.?

Most of us have spent a big part of our lives (if not all of it) learning how to please others. We have learned from early childhood what behaviors are “correct” in order to be accepted, appreciated and loved. What part of ourselves do we compromise to fit in? What remains is then “me”? Is there a more authentic “‘me” buried underneath all of the conditioning I have accepted as truth?

Well, I am here to tell you that my observation has been that we don’t know who the hell we are. We have been so brainwashed by parents, schools, authority figures and societal norms that our “real” selves are hidden even from ourselves. We have been so accustomed to accepting the ideas and truths of others as our personal reality that we have become enslaved, and are strangers to the gem of uniqueness that lies inside of us.

These “truths” are part of our DNA and changing these self-limiting beliefs is no easy task, and actually, one of the most difficult challenges you will ever face, but you can do it.

What I want you to know is that as you become liberated and free to be “you”, all the experiences in your life become so much more fulfilling, purposeful and fun. You can then engage with life in new and profound ways as you remove your inauthentic, outdated and boring patterns of behavior. Regaining the sense of your true self is so worth the effort.

We can rewire our old patterns over time by observing our behavior, and be willing to think and act in new ways even though it makes you uncomfortable. It is a process to which you must be dedicated. The rewards are true freedom of expression and the gift of self-love.

When your soul speaks and cries out to live fully from your own authentic heart, I hope you will listen and take the necessary steps to discover who you truly are, and what makes you happy. You will also learn along the way as an extra bonus…what is most important to you allowing you to make the choices that will guide you to live your highest potential. That is what I want for you…I love you dearly, RJ