Being yourself is a fascinating phenomenon because this sage advice can be seen everywhere from placards to memes and motivational posters. While this is great advice, developmentally it is one of the most difficult things for many people to achieve. We grow up being conditioned not to be ourselves. We are taught to be different things depending on the different frameworks of our upbringing. As we become conditioned to be these particular things, we move farther away from our true selves. Children are often told to be successful, smart, good, and caring. These are just a few examples of the things we are conditioned to be, and none of those may have anything to do with what is actually true in the moment. This inability to be ourselves can cause massive conflicts for many people.
The inability to be your true self is a developmental obstacle that is called internalisation. A simple example of how we internalise is the way we carry with us what we are taught as children. Early in life, kids are taught to look left and right before crossing the street or not to play with fire. Children then internalise these rules which keep them safe when there are no adults around to tell them what to do. In effect, we bring these learnings inside and internalise them so we can parent ourselves.
This process of internalisation is what gives rise to the superego, which is our internal voice of judgment. The seemingly inconsequential developmental learnings we experience eventually become the inner voice we hear telling us to make sure we are good enough and smart enough. They are the inner voice that casts judgment and create self-doubt. These internal voices eventually get in the way of us being ourselves because they are there telling us to what to do and who not to be. All of this noise on the inside is the very catalyst for self consciousness and ‘mask wearing’, which is the antithesis of being yourself.
As you grow up, you eventually reach a ceiling where you no longer need someone to parent you. However, most people still carry around these early learnings in their mind. The voices become a part of our internal being and remain as our worst critics. This is the internalised ghost of your upbringing, and its job is to police you and parent you into being the amalgamated model you were raised to be.
Most people do not realise that this internalised voice from childhood is preventing them from being themselves. They assume that their internal talk is simply their true-self talking. If these voices were truly us, then we would be able to stop them. If you had a choice to control the things that you hear in your head you would be able to stop judging yourself. As you may know, it is not that easy to stop judging yourself because it stems from a pattern and a framework that is engrained in your mind to police your internalised beliefs, roles, and values.
NLP and Coaching Create Awareness
NLP and coaching are two methodologies that create awareness and can facilitate a person to start to looking at what is happening in the mind. They help you to question the framework and the result that it is producing. Once you start to question these things, you can understand what it is that is getting in the way of you being your true self.
With NLP, you can start to see the dynamics inside your mind that are controlling you. Until you acknowledge your framework, you can never really be yourself because you will always be in conflict. There will be one part of you that wants to say or do something and another part that holds you back. These models teach you what to look for so you can identify the patterns that your superego is trying to police. Once you can see this, you can stop taking for granted the unquestioned ‘truths’ that plays out in your mind.
Finding Personal Freedom
One of the most amazing things that NLP and coaching can do for you is to wake you up to the fact that what happens in your mind is not fact or truth; it is just a story, even when you are judging yourself. You start to see your conditioned story for what it is and not something you have to treat as truth. At this level of awareness, a gap begins to emerge between your experience of yourself and the story in your mind. Here you can start to make different decisions as you lean into the opposite view of the story inside your head.
In an embodied way you realise that the story is a lie, and when this happens, it disappears, leading to change. Without the story, we are no longer caught by ourselves and the judgments we held. When the story is gone, we have the personal freedom and ability to be ourselves without noise, fear, or concern.