Being our true self. This is a very common notion in philosophy and personal development books. But what does that mean exactly?

Being our true self. This is a very common notion in philosophy and personal development books. But what does that mean exactly?

The most common example is that of someone with artistic sensitivity, desire or talent. Whether it’s writing, singing, painting or… radio and TV animation :). If this person has never really satisfied his desire, his talent, his artistic passion, he will always have a feeling of frustration, of regret. Why? Because this artistic sensitivity is part of him (her). And to not express it is to reject a part of who you really are. Of course, we can transpose this example to different situations and desires. An employee who’s never had the courage to become an entrepreneur and launch his idea. A banker who has always dreamed of being a teacher but who has not quit his job and start over.

If someone has an extraordinary talent that he has not developed, he will have the feeling that he has missed something in his life.

Frédéric Lenoir, Les Jeudis de la sagesse : vidéo 16, Réusir sa vie (4min53)

But how can you be your true self?

The first step is introspection. We can all feel that we are not happy, that something is bothering us. We must then try to understand why, ask the right questions. “Am I happy? Do I like my job? And if so, is it for the right reasons?” But one exercise that I find very effective is remembering what we liked when we were children and teenagers. When you are a child, you do not yet ask yourself existential questions. We love playing football: we want to be a professional footballer. We love astronomy: we want to become an astronaut. As a teenager, things get a little more complicated. We have specific interests, appetites, but adults start warning us about the reality of life “If you want to succeed in life, you need to have your degree, to do long studies and find a job that pays well. You can say Goodbye to your dreams and passions and Hello to pragmatism and a uniformed vision of happiness.

I love writing stories… and making people laugh

Mourad, 10 years old

My dream would be to become a Radio and TV Host

Mourad, 17 years old

We then start our career and time passes very quickly. When without warning, one day, we question everything. And it’s not uncommon for this to happen around our 40’s. Yes, the famous middle-life crisis. It has a very bad reputation because it is often associated with negative stereotypes (ex: the husband who has an affair or leaves his wife for a woman, 20 years younger than him). But in fact, it can be lifesaving. We become aware of the passage of time, of “approaching” death. That all those years, by looking for approval and admiration from others, we ended up betraying ourselves, not being our true self. This is when we start thinking of the “good old days” and feel sad about it. We want to put our life back on track, we review our priorities, we try to be honest with ourselves. But without action, self-knowledge is of little use. Then comes the time for decisions. And some can be radical. Our entourage does not necessarily understand us, and this can have a big impact on our relationships. Why quit a stable job with a good salary and start from a new career from scratch? Why getting a divorce after spending 20 years with your partner? In philosophy, what I describe above is called the process of individuation and Carl Gustav Jung is often referred to. This will no doubt be the subject of another more detailed article.

But then, how can we re-orient ourselves after this awareness? Below are the tools and solutions I have used.

Career coaching: what could be more natural than talking to a specialist. He / she can guide you, thanks to psychometric tools (career report, MBTI…)

Therapy: here too, talking to a specialist can probably help. Especially if some blockages come from childhood, which is often the case.

Reviewing your priorities: what really matters to you?

Call to memory: thinking about our childhood and adolescence. What did we want to do and become when we were younger? What were the passions and activities we enjoyed, whether alone or in a group?

Ask yourself the right questions: if my life ended today, what would be my regrets? If money and social recognition were not part of the equation, what profession would I like to work in?

Well, I think this is a good start. The task is not easy. Personally, it’s still a work in progress. Moving to London is one of them. The future will tell us if I managed to be myself.

What about you? Are you your true self? Leave me a comment to tell me about your experiences and development tools if you have any.

Mourad Zeggari

Serial French Expat currently living in NYC, I was fortunate to live in Sydney, Boston, Santa Monica, London...
While I like my job as a Digital Marketing Consultant , my passion has always been around radio and TV. So I've decided it was time for me to give it a try and start blogging and podcasting again.

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