As gifted adults, the search for meaning and purpose in our lives is ever present. Whether we’re fully conscious of our search or if it’s hidden somewhere in the back of our minds, it’s always there. We want to know why we are here, what life is all about, and what the point of it all is. But in this process, sometimes something terrible happens…
We notice that everyone else isn’t quite as interested in these things as we are, and they don’t stress over them so much, and they go about their daily business without trouble or difficulty. So we start thinking something is wrong with us for being so ‘concerned about such silliness’. And then we start wanting the freedom that they have in their lives, so we try to be like them.
So what do we do? We work our very hardest to please them, to do what they do, what they want us to do. We fit ourselves into their mold. We only bring home excellent grades when we’re in school; we do what people ask of us even if we don’t really want to; we repeat the behaviours that get reinforced by their encouraging words and cheerful smiles, even if we don’t totally feel like ourselves when we do them, because maybe, just maybe, we can capture their freedom in the process.
But day by day, we find ourselves becoming something that we’re not. We develop made-up selves that we show to the world while our real selves lie buried somewhere inside. The worst part is that our made-up selves are loved by so many people – because our made-up selves have been designed to their liking. Our made-up selves fit exactly what other people want because they have shaped them that way, and we have let them.
And everyone else is happy. And still, they’re free.
Our real selves get buried under layers of stuff that we have allowed the rest of the world to create for us, and we start to think that maybe we hate ourselves because what we’re feeling definitely isn’t love. But the thing is, it isn’t really that we hate ourselves or who we are, we hate the false part of ourselves that we have fashioned. Deep down, we experience conflict between that which has been created and that which we know really is. And so a gap still remains.
The gaps that exist between us and others probably won’t easily go away. We’re wired differently than most of them, so no matter what we do our experiences will not, and cannot, ever be exactly the same. The secret is to recognize what is us and what is not us. To know that what we think and feel is just as valid as what anyone else does, and to see that who we are is just enough.
And when we can acknowledge that we don’t need adjusting, and we aren’t broken, and we have everything we need in exactly the right proportions, we can start to let our true selves shine through. We can peel away the made-up parts of ourselves because they no longer serve any purpose, and we can become who we were meant to be, who we really are.
And then the gap will lessen, and the pain will go away. Then we can truly understand who we are, and find with our inner sense of knowing what is it we are supposed to be doing here, and feel within our hearts what life is all about.
When we find this place of living and loving authentically, only one part of us will remain – our true selves.