'Who am I? Am I good enough?’ Finding your true self
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Alina Apopei MBACP (Acred), MSc Counselling and Psychotherapy, BSc Psych
11th February, 20170 Comments
From a very early age we are shaped and told who we should be. Parents, teachers, peers, extended family, friends, media, jobs and even strangers tell us how we should behave, how we should look like, what to wear and how we should feel, what’s good or bad and who we should aspire to be. As if just being ‘me’ is not good enough. And we may conform, as we all have a deep need to be liked and accepted. Nevertheless, even though we hope they are doing the best they can with what they knew at that time, I cannot help but wonder how their ideas shape who we become.
We may hear 'x has better grades/job/goods’, ‘you should be more like her/him' or 'be good', 'don't be bad', 'it's good to be thin', 'it's bad to cry' etc. and we may never really question those ideas definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Adding to that, there are all the fears and pressures to conform to be liked, to be accepted! So, what's left of who we really are after all this shaping and polishing? With all the 'what if’s'?
As a result of all the pressures, we may learn to be, to act as we are expected to by others. And as it goes unquestioned, it can create a feeling of being trapped in a life that does not make sense, in jobs or relationships we are unhappy with, feeling lost, confused and feeling a deep sense of unhappiness. Furthermore, we may have no idea why or what to do about it, as maybe superficially, things seem OK.
Finding and being one’s true self may not always be easy. It's a process of deconstruction and reconstruction, similar to redoing a puzzle in an order only you know. You may need some extra support to help you through this (family /friends /counsellor or psychotherapist). They could help you start questioning things that you may have taken for granted for most of your life (e.g. 'do you like doing that?'), to support you through that deconstruction and through finding what feels right for you, whilst leaving behind old patterns and fears. Is all this work going to be worth it?
I will attempt to ask this question with some other ones: did you ever wonder how much energy it takes to 'act' a play you didn't really agree to but which you somehow ended up playing, especially if it goes against who you really are? How draining that might be; day in, day out? How much the constant worries and fears affect you? How your life could be without them? If you're already unhappy leading this inauthentic life, then you do have a choice to continue in the same way or you could do something to change it.
Therefore I urge you, take that journey towards self-discovery and do get in touch if you feel you may need some professional help with this. We are all inherently good at heart and able to follow our dreams, to be our own beautiful unique selves. Under those fears, self blame, unexplored anger and resentment, there is a kind person waiting for you to let them out, to be free, to be alive! So give yourself the chance to be authentic, to be you, do what you love and to be happy. And you will find the freedom given by finding you are good enough.
About the author
With over 8 years of training, Alina made it her life quest to learn as much as possible to be able to help the ones in need of emotional and psychological support. With extended experience working with people with depression, relationship issues, anxiety, illness; as well, experienced with disabilities and mental health diagnoses & leading groups.
Related articles from our experts
Debbie Fletcher Dip Integrative Counselling Reg MBACPJune 11th, 2018
Greg Savva, Counselling in Twickenham & Whitton, Masters Degree, UKCP,June 14th, 2018
Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. CounsellorJune 22nd, 2018
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
Imi Lo: Specialist Psychotherapist, Art Therapist (MMH,FRSA,UKCP,HCPC)March 29th, 2015
Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.