I’ve noticed catchy phrases gain popularity in recent years in the personal development and growth arena. They take the form of ‘being your best self’ or creating a ‘better version of yourself’. There is a lot to be said for exploring and healing those aspects of you that have been hurt and feel separate. A focus on learning what’s going on beneath the surface and how you might approach situations differently at the next opportunity can be a meaningful endeavour. What I’ve also noticed is that many of the approaches that come with the ‘be the best version of yourself’ tagline are often trying to make you believe that you are somehow not enough right now. That the ‘best version’ of you is somewhere in the future and once you’ve made one last addition, you will be whole.
This idea that something more will get you closer to your best self is just a new marketing angle, designed specifically for women. There is a distinction I want to be clear about here. We all have stuff we want to heal, work with, and move through. It can be emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological and it’s important that we pursue healing these wounds. Life gets better when we do. The distinction is that there is absolutely NOTHING that you need to add or take away to make you whole. You are enough right now. You always have been, you always will be. Your best self is already in there, hidden under all the stuff you’ve been adding over the years.
Humans learn from our upbringing, traumas settle into our nervous systems, and we add layers of personality, armour, and beliefs throughout our lives. It’s like when you were a kid and you made paper-mâché masks. First you blow up the balloons that serve as the shape of the face. The air in the balloon created the space to make the mask and we layer on the paper. As we layered the glue-soaked strips of newspaper over the balloon it became harder and harder to see. Finally when done, you could no longer see the balloon although you knew it was under there because the mâché was holding it’s shape. Once the mâché hardened and dried, you could pop the balloon and the rigid layers of mâché would become the mask.
This is similar to our lives. The shape comes from the (already) perfectly formed balloon, not the layers of paper-mâché. We are perfect from the start when our essential nature shines through most strongly. However throughout our lives we plaster layers and layers of learned behaviours, traumas, beliefs, expectations, and insecurities overtop of our true nature. We are trained to believe that adding one more layer may make us better, when at the core, we are already holding the perfect whole shape.
So yes, we may have work to do to be the best versions of ourselves, however the work is in digging through the layers, lovingly acknowledging them, and allowing each beautiful layer of protection be healed, shed and let go. We are already whole and we already have the best versions of ourselves hidden within us. When we are able to give ourselves permission to be enough as we are in this moment, we create room for the layers to start peeling back to reveal our best selves.
What layers might be ready for acknowledgment and healing?
How might life be different when you focus on the place where you remember your wholeness?
What might happen when you choose to BE WITH your best self in the current moment?
I’d love to hear about your exploration into this topic! Leave a comment and join the conversation.