Who am I? The old existential question remains among the noise and bombardment that we are all to look alike, think alike, and be alike. With the message that there’s one way of eating that is healthy, one narrow weight range that is normal, and one body type that is beautiful, I think that we have sadly stopped asking who the real me is. Consequently, we don’t get to know the beautiful and intricate person we live with every day. We have sacrificed knowledge of and intimacy with ourselves.
I have observed that people, whether their minds are engrossed in diet rules or their lives occupied by Ed (any and all kinds of disordered eating), have a sincere difficulty knowing who they are and what they like.
What do you like to do with your free time?
Hmmm. Pause. I’m not sure. I don’t have a lot of extra time so I guess I just watch TV.
Do you like any kind of arts or crafts? Any hobbies that interest you?
Honestly, I don’t know. I might like learning an instrument if I tried. I used to want to play the piano, but that was a long time ago.
What are some of your favorite foods?
Gee, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe pasta, but I never let myself eat it because I don’t want to gain weight.
You eat cereal every morning. Do you like cereal?
I’ve never thought about it. Now come to think about it, no. It’s just quick, easy, and cheap.
How would you describe yourself? What are some qualities that you really admire in yourself?
Yeah, that’s a toughie.
Believe it or not, these are some typical responses that I get from people who have relinquished themselves–their actual self–to a life dictated by an unfulfilling career, a mediocre existence, food rules, diet dogmas, and Ed. They have quietly and gradually, often without realizing it, surrendered to the idea that self-discovery and self-actualization is self-ish, that their body can’t be trusted, and that this is as good as it gets.
But somewhere inside there is a desire to know and be known, a hope for something more, a voice.
Grow that desire, feed that hope, speak, and sing.
How well do you know yourself? Would you consider yourself an acquaintance or a friend? What is getting in your way of being authentically you?