Who is your 'me'?
I have enjoyed the opportunity in recent weeks to repeatedly read a children’s story that I really love. It’s called Elephant Me, and it’s the creation of Giles Andreae.
Young Num Num the elephant is too small to know what it is he is great at, and for this he is laughed at and shamed. Fortunately Num Num finds a community of friends who help him to realise that he is wonderful at being himself, and that what shines most brightly is his own authenticity. Num Num returns to the land of elephants and tells the King that he wants to be himself, not someone known for what they are good at. Fortunately the King has the wisdom to connect to his own inner self, to share his sadness at being a role not the Elephant he is, and all ends happily (with some dancing!).
It’s an uplifting and empowering story pointing to the importance of being a human being, not a human doing. Each time I read it I am struck by the centrality of this message to self-esteem and to finding meaning in life. Chasing each badge, each achievement and each task to be done may give us a brief high, but it is followed by that haunting feeling of the next thing on the list, the next mountain to be climbed.
When we can energise ourselves from who we are, and do things for their own sake, not for the end result, we can lead a more balanced, calmer life. A sense of fun, of aliveness in the moment becomes more possible, as does a sense of our own goodness and worth regardless of the latest thing we do or do not achieve.
The question is, who is Me? Exploring what you value, what lights you up and what makes you feel most vibrant can be hugely useful. Spotting the moments you feel at peace, and the moments you are riled because one of your values has been trodden upon is important, because these insights give you an idea of the compass that guides you, outside of your awareness.
We ignore our ‘me-ness’ at our peril. We each have our own beautiful light, and we have the capacity to shine it. When we do that, we not only light our own way, but we light the paths of those around us, and we encourage them to walk them, even when they do not align with our own.
So what do you value in other people - what they do for you, or who they are? How well do you really know them? And how well do you know yourself?
What one thing can you do to show up in your day today, just as your own authentic self?