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Who Are You ... Really?

I took a trip to Montreal and it, like my furniture painting became an exercise in my expression of self and further discovering those parts that had been a bit camouflaged for a long time. I had been feeling boxed in, a little confined with my identity. I’ll be honest, I sometimes wonder if my social media presence looks a bit like Mary Poppins (true story: someone actually called me that once and I cringed from every part of who I am), living a peaceful and perfect life by the lake and that is definitely NOT my reality.

I have stress. I have bad days. I have an edge to my personality, that when left unchecked it can lead me to some darker emotions.
we can find our footing again.

I work at it though with a compassion for myself and a respect for how far I’ve come. It took practice to get to this place and a willingness to be really vulnerable and accepting of ALL aspects of who I am.

So this trip to Montreal ended up being a lot more than just a bit of experimentation with my image and a photo shoot. It became a glimpse into the many aspects of who I am and the permission to express that in order to feel complete as a person. Some might say it was a bit of a “reinvention” of self. I think we all go through a reinvention at some point in our lives. Sometimes it’s a critical moment like a divorce or a death of a loved one and other times, it’s the smaller every day, nuanced experiences that help guide us in shaping who we truly are.

Sometimes we do the opposite as well. We make a choice based on what is socially acceptable or what seems to be the more approved way of doing things and living our life. It is inauthentic and it often takes us farther away from the essence of who we really are. It’s those choices that don’t “fit” us that can lead to an unhappy marriage, a profession we never wanted but chose because our parents supported it, a lifestyle that is far from anything we enjoy.

And that’s how we lose the footing, the happiness and the fulfillment in our lives, BUT….we can find it again when we allow our curiosity to guide us and our openness to the unknown to expand the rooms of our self-identity that we inhabit.

You see, we are not fixed in any of this. That’s a construct many of us exist within because it is the safer way to be. We are actually meant to grow and expand and evolve every day from little experiences to the more soul defining ones.

 I learned to appreciate the dark with the light

I had to really put myself out there for this experience in Montreal. It required me to dig deep within the recesses of my sunny personality and let the other “colours” cascade through. You’ll see it in the photos. I can see it. I see a woman who had to rebuild her life, her business, her M.O. from the ground up. I see a woman that was heartbroken at times, really challenged by some difficult situations and for that, I am grateful because it’s in knowing that depth of emotion that I became a better therapist, a more compassionate person and a better version of myself.

I learned to appreciate the dark with the light.

In those moments of internal conflict

In those moments where we feel conflicted with who we TRULY are and those desires to express ourselves versus who we feel obligated to be and how we should portray ourselves to the outside world, we need to:

  • Take a pause (seriously make some time to just rest and relax. That’s when we can get off the treadmill of our life and look at the bigger picture).
  • Reflect (get out a paper and pen and start writing down all the thoughts and feelings that are coming to the surface – this is helpful to make sense of some themes in your life that may be emerging).
  • Ask yourself “Why” you chose this (i.e. did you do this because you really wanted this or because it was the “right” thing to do or the approved way of doing something?).
  • Does this match your values of who you want to be (write out your values and be clear on what behaviours coincide with that. For example, you value family – are you making time to be present with family?).
  • What do you want for your future (i.e. imagine yourself a year from now in this ideal scenario: who are you being? what are you doing? How does it feel to be this version of you?).
  • Take tangible action steps towards who and what you are wanting to become (i.e. doing more of something, less of something, saying “no” to people, places and things that aren’t in alignment with this).

Look at yourself in the mirror
where do you start
When you love yourself and you’re happy from within, you can extend that to others in your life.  The metaphorical “sunshine” returns and we naturally gravitate to the path that was destined for us. You don’t have to take a trip or have a major life changing event to get back to who you really are.

So where do you start, you might ask? 

You start by loving and believing in yourself enough to try!


introspective discussions reconnecting to our true selves

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