It was another strange day in August 2016. I felt an energy within me pulling me to leave my house. I got on my bike, my feet slipping as I tried to contain the massive bolts of energy surging through me which had started a few days previously. I headed towards a part of Amsterdam I had not been to before and cycling past a few houses that were being torn down, I saw writing in graffiti on some concrete steps leading up to the front door of an empty house. The graffitied words read: WHO ARE YOU?
I felt as though a gong had been struck an inch from my head, reverberations of this question travelled through my being, to my core. I got off my bike and stood staring at the steps. The fact that this was a question pointed to the possibility that who I was, might mean something different to who I thought I was up until that point.
Who had I been before this strangeness started in my life a few days earlier? I was Sarah. I was married to Hans. I was a Sales Manager in advertising for a magazine. I was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a cousin, a friend. Suddenly it was all meaningless.None of these surface labels mattered, I knew intuitively, very deep within me, there was more, much more. Like an ice glacier, the tip representing who I previously thought I was, now I suddenly started to comprehend that underneath the surface of the water, there was ‘me’ too.I kept staring at the graffiti on the steps, “Who are you?’
I got on my bike and cycled home. I walked into the living room and had an urge to look in a daily diary my husband had gifted me for Christmas in 2015. I hadn’t used it for a month or so. It was a 5-year diary (see image above) and every day it had a different question to ponder.I pulled the diary down from the bookshelf and opened it up to the days date.
The question of the day was: Who are you?
Looking deeper than our selfie culture, there is an undiscovered part of you, like the hidden underbelly of an iceberg tip, waiting to be found. This isn’t a selfie, but your ‘self.’ Heed the warning of Titanic, “Iceberg straight ahead!” It is not the tip of the iceberg, the seen or conscious mind that causes most of our troubles, it’s what lies beneath, under the water or our subconscious. If we only see the surface and fail to recognise depth, we may become a victim of what lies beneath.
If you are starting to question the nature of your existence, if you are suffering, if you feel hurt by people and/or events, if you are frustrated, if you feel victimised, if you know somewhere you are a good person and don’t deserve to feel so much pain, then congratulations, you are waking up. To your ‘self.’ And you are right. You do not deserve to feel pain.
You are here to live joyfully. So what’s going on?
At the age of 36 at a time in my life when I felt very confused and unhappy, I started my own journey of healing. At the time I didn’t know what I needed to heal. I only knew that I needed to talk and to release. I chose to talk to somebody qualified, who would listen. Through speaking to somebody, I started to understand how I had become who I was and where my pain came from. My childhood set the stage; I became a character I created through adversity, to manage all the wants, needs, wishes and hopes of others around me. I was not there in that picture. I was underneath it all. I emerged at the age of 36.
I know what it is to live with shame, judgments, jealousy, comparisons and I learned to secretly hate myself because of them. I was a victim of these things and also a perpetrator. The labels merely describe a lack of self-worth, a lack of self-love.
If our parents didn’t/don’t comprehend self-love (this is most definitely not about what you look like) and society doesn’t reflect these positive and deeper-than-surface values, then it is no wonder we have become self-loathing. There are multi-million-dollar businesses that exist to make money out of our insecurities. Their marketing exploits how unhappy we are, and they sell us an answer to our prayers, for a (big) fee.
And they don’t work.
The answers or solutions to our happiness are not on the outside, they are inside of us. Anything else is a temporary plaster.
With self-reflection and inner work on your healing journey, you will find that the ‘you’ that lives with shame, judgments, jealousy, comparisons and learned self-hate will collapse. It will collapse because it is not serving you anymore, or anybody else. And it will collapse because it is your false self, created to hide and protect your true self. The ‘you’ you have become has served you until now, it has kept you alive. You are still here. I salute you for that, you did good, you made it!
Now you can find out how to thrive in this world. Your joy and love of self isn’t dependent on money or material luxuries, it is dependent on you becoming connected on the inside to your source of love, happiness and abundance. Through inner work, your purpose and sense of meaning in life will bubble up from the depths of you, like bubbles from the ocean. You will start to be led by synchronicity and start to live a life that you were meant to live, as your true self.
The question, ‘Who are you?’ was one of the starting points of my own transformation, perhaps it will be yours too?