Something someone said to me last week in a passing conversation, got me wondering, and no it’s not what you might think…I didn’t literally get naked as the title might suggest!
I mean…throughout our lives, we all wear multiple ‘hats,’ and it made me question how we feel about ourselves when one of those hats is no longer needed.
Maybe you lose a job, you separate from a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner, you move house/country, or as in my case, you recover from mental ill health. How comfortable are you inside, when you are stripped bare of everything that makes you visible to the outside world?
Learning to finally be comfortable with myself and others, has led me to question this many times. When life is simple, almost mundane…when there’s no next ‘big’ thing or a new adventure to be hustling for, are you OK to just ‘be?’
So much of my work recently, has highlighted that for many our identity is created outside of ourselves, and when a part of that is removed, we question our place in the world.
Just think about how much of your happiness is dependant on sources that don’t come from within. If you lost your job tomorrow, how much of your self worth would go with it? If your relationship ended, would you know who you are without that person?
I’m not suggesting that it’s a bad thing to gain a sense of purpose from a job or anything else, but it can be a lonely path to wander if it leaves such a void in you, that you look for alternative unhealthy coping strategies to fill it.
I often think back to my years when I was ill, and realise how much of my identity was caught up in my external world. When I entered inpatient treatment, I was stripped of it all. I was the bare bones…pardon the pun! I was terrified that I wouldn’t belong anywhere. The truth is though that by being stripped bare, I have found out who I truly am from the inside.
So, in times of ‘stillness,’ whereby I mean nothing much is ‘happening,’ I am pretty cool with just going with the flow. I’m happy being me (most of the time) without any need for all the frills that life can offer. It makes for a much more balanced soul, which I hope is a whole lot nicer to be around.