Understanding one’s self is a task that many of us take on for our entire lives. We search and search in order to uncover who we are. We listen to all sorts of advice telling us how we should be, we read all kinds of books telling us how to behave. We look for answers to the questions that haunt us most. What do I stand for? What am I doing? Who will I be?
Truth is, we do not have to work hard at discovering our selves, for who we are at this very moment is who we are. Every thought that comes into our mind is actively defining our self; every action that we decide to take molds what we stand for. We are the sum of every experience that we’ve ever had; not just of what happened, but of how we have let it affect us.
There is no ideal version of our self, no future image of everything that we ought to be. In order to be who you want to be, you have to go out and create that reality. There is no promised future for which we are on a path to discover. We are the builders, and what lies ahead is nothing. It is empty, yet full of possibilities. In the nothingness lies infinite possibilities, all awaiting your decisions.
In order to take full advantage of our ability to create, we must accept that we have that power. We must become fully aware of our selves, accepting that we are who we are, as we are. We must do so even when the environment around us attempts to stop us from accepting our selves. With statements of individuals being “full of themselves” holding negative connotations and being used to describe narcissism rather than self-acceptance, it seems as if paying attention to our selves is the wrong decision.
To be selful is to be aware of who you are. It is to accept your “self”, everything that it stands for, what it believes in, and every thought that is has. It is to recognize that we are one with our selves, and we fully embrace it.
In doing so, we become free to express and to interact, we are free to listen and to discuss. This newfound freedom comes from the ability to immerse our selves in other experiences without losing a piece of our selves to it. We understand what we believe in and are comfortable enough to hold a conversation with somebody who has a different point of view and explore new ideas rather than argue about who is correct. We are free to take advice from others who seek to aid us, and not take it as an attack on our way of being. We can allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and open up about our deepest desires, concerns, or emotions, without worry about being “weak”. With being full of our selves, we are always prepared to move forward and discover what else is out there, because we have everything we need with us.
Nowadays, being “full of yourself” is implied to be a negative thing. It is inferred that the person gives themselves an unreciprocated sense of importance, and that this importance leads them to benefit only themselves. Problem is, we have become confused.
To be selfish is to give importance to yourself, while denying that same importance to anyone else. To be selfish and to attain a victory means it had to have come at the expense of somebody else. On the other hand, to be selfless is to give importance to others while denying that importance to our selves. The selfless individual strives to attain a victory for others at their own expense. Yet, to be selful is to attribute importance to your self as well as to others. To accept the equality of importance allows us to attain shared victories. You win, I win.
The Golden Rule that many of us were taught in school implicitly accepts this equal attribution of importance. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. We saw others as equal, and in doing so we accepted that they deserve the same treatment as we would like for our selves. This rule is the very foundation of selfulness. In order to understand how we would want to be treated, we have to understand how we want to feel. We can assume that we want to be happy, but what does happiness feel like? We can say we want love, but if somebody were to give us the purest unconditional love, would we be able to recognize and accept it? We must dwell far within to recognize the feelings within us, and how we respond to each and every one of them. Once we have accomplished this, we can better understand others.
The goal of the Golden Rule goes further than to teach us to treat others as we would treat ourselves. The higher purpose was for us to create a beautiful environment in which we were free to express our selves completely, allowing us to interact with others at the most intimate level. This intimacy leads us to create relationships in which we learn as much about the other person as we do about our selves. We learn to accept others, their beliefs, their insight on what they have experienced, and doing so shows us that there is no perfection to be achieved, for we all differ in our own way. We can accept that we don’t have to attain a level of competence to be complete, and instead we can focus on uncovering potentials and creating a better life. Our selves become connected, transcending our personal pleasures in an attempt to create larger relationships, while still remaining differentiated and unique.
If we do not think well of ourselves, who will? If we do not…love ourselves(warts and all), why should anybody love us?