Being your full self is a life’s work. Some people leave this planet having never revealed the truth of who they are, frightened it would have prevented them from being accepted. But if there’s anything I’ve learnt over the past couple of years, it’s that being unapologetically and 100% you causes people not to reject you, but instead to accept you even more. For when you become your full self, you become a full human — not just a half-hearted mediocre version of one.
Therefore, without further adieu, here are five signs you are already on your way to becoming the fullest, most extraordinary expression of you.
5 Extraordinary Signs You Are Becoming Your Full Self
We must overcome the notion that we must be regular; it robs us of the chance to be extraordinary.
– Uta Hagen
1. Your presence is noticed
Before, at social events, you shied away in the background hoping no one would notice you, or instead pushed yourself out into the room hoping everyone would notice you – but now, you are noticed effortlessly. Why? Because you’ve stopped caring about whether or not you are noticed by others, and instead started focusing on you. The question you used to ask yourself was “How can I be better than the rest?”, whereas now you simply ask, “How can I be better than who I was this time last year?”
For this reason, your presence is generous and warm, and people naturally gravitate towards you. However, this means that when you are absent from a party your presence is sorely missed; people like to feel good about themselves, and you make them feel this way, so understandably they want you around. But always remember that your most important work is you, and that it is important to keep yourself whole first before you can healthily extend yourself to others. Then, when you are able to offer your presence to others, the experience will be rich and valuable and you will both profit.
2. You’ve become a vessel for other people
There is an intangible aura about a full human being – they are the ones who attract worldwide followings and rake in the approval of others without ever asking for it. Conversely, we all know someone who constantly seeks the approval of others yet nearly always fails to receive it, or instead someone who simply expects the approval of others whenever they speak, whilst everyone sneers about said person’s arrogance behind their back.
Yet it is the ones who persist without expecting nor begging for the approval of others that have it and keep it. You know you’ve become one of these people when you are no longer diminishing toward or diminished by others, but instead so full in yourself that you empower others. As the lovely late Maya Angelou once phrased it, you’ll know you are this person the day you “Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.”
3. People know you and you know yourself
To “know thyself” means you understand that your fullness is different to your neighbor’s fullness; that your strengths exist to aid others’ weaknesses and that their strengths exist to aid your weaknesses. The truth is that there is no one-and-the-same “higher self” we can all aspire to or reach, for this aspiration is individual – dependent on who we are and what services we can bring.
When you are your highest self, people know your limits and they know your strengths. And you know their limits and you know their strengths. If everyone’s aspirations were to be perfect at everything, falling in love would be boring, raising a family would be dull and starting a new job would be mortifying – because every person’s end-goal would be as banal as the next… As a result of knowing yourself, you become able to cater to others’ shortcomings. This then liberates them to cater to yours.
4. You stop seeing a difference between vulnerability and strength
Vulnerability is not about collapsing in tears at any given moment, nor is strength about holding back tears to maintain a solid front. To quote Brené Brown’s brilliant TED talk on the subject, “Vulnerability is your greatest strength.” Both qualities coexist.
Only people who are their whole selves have become masters of their vulnerability. You will pinpoint these people in history as the greats: the Martin Luther-Kings, Mahatma Ghandis and Florence Nightingales — warrior-like men and women who lived their truth fiercely so we could all live with the privileges we take for granted today. Regardless of whether their endings were fortunate or tragic, their legacies will forever linger. If we wish to leave a similar imprint on generations to come, we will only get there by first having the strength to be vulnerable.
5. You lose all inhibition
Emotional and mental junk do not get in the way like they used to. You no longer let your present circumstances dictate your future. Instead, you have developed the presence of mind to realize it is your obligation to create your future. Sometimes the fear creeps in. Sometimes you fall down. At times you will feel like you can no longer be your full self because life has polluted your path with too many insurmountable obstacles.
When this happens, know that you and you alone are your anchor. You came into the world with yourself and you will leave it by yourself. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is walking from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.” So do that. Walk from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm. And do so gracefully – as your full, present, uninhibited self – every time. And when you do find your version of success, cherish it like fresh water.