Be Yourself: How to Succeed in Life and Work by Gayle Van Gils

Here is a reminder of self-wisdom from Shastri Gayle Van Gils as it appeared in Elephant Journal:

Van gils article photo

Be Yourself: How to Succeed in Life and Work

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde

For better or for worse, we have no choice other than to be ourselves, so I ‘d like to explore what this means to me, and to you.

I have engaged with this inquiry over many years with clients who suffer from the feeling of being a fraud when talking about their work or accomplishments, even if they are successful in the eyes of society.

Additionally, wanting to be different than—or more than—what we are can stop us from taking bold action in life; when we actually hold the answers that others need to hear. From personal exploration, I definitely know this place well within myself. I will share my understanding of two facets of our self which enable us to step more fully into being genuine.

1) Our “Personal Self”: Identifying and staying true to our unique strengths, values and vision.

2) Our “Vast Self”: Uncovering and synchronizing with our deeper, more universal being, which gives energy, power and magnetism to our every endeavor.

In terms of our day-to-day or “Personal Self”, we have to believe in ourselves by embodying a real sense of worthiness. Self-belief inoculates us against the slings and arrows of others. “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent,” as Eleanor Roosevelt famously said. Yet even the strongest among us sometimes caves into doubts and critical self judgement. The good news is that this layer of self-confidence is trainable.

The key to being ourselves is self–awareness. A practice of mindfulness meditation is the best way of getting to know and really understand ourselves as discussed in the following section. The practice of meditation will be especially essential for exploration of the second layer, “Vast Self”, where we delve below the surface of our personality.

This is how we can practice mindfulness and develop self-awareness:

Take a comfortable seat with an upright posture. Bring your attention to the feeling of breathing in-and-out. When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breathing.*

Over time, this practice will reveal the personal habits, stories and reactions that play over and over in your mind. It will give you the freedom to choose to take the actions suggested below.

* I recommend that you practice the path of meditation with a qualified teacher, and, if possible, in the company of fellow practitioners.

“Personal Self”—Knowing ourselves and letting go of the barriers to success:

A) Unmasking our inner critic:

By really listening to the voices in our heads that tell us that other people are better than us, that we can’t risk failure, that we need another credential before trying something new. Who is talking? Is it our parents’ voice, a teacher, a bully or a former boss? Whoever it is, it’s not coming from us, originally.

When we were young we didn’t set these limits on ourselves. When we realize that we have taken on someone else’s limiting beliefs, it is much easier to deal with those voices and let them go. These are actually just stories, and when we see them as such, they no longer have a hold on us.

Full article here

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