The month of July is very much a month for Pride. We often associate the idea of Pride with human rights in terms of sexuality and gender. For people whose sexuality and/or gender doesn’t fit within the traditional binary, Pride marches and parties focus on celebrating and claiming the right to be proud of who you are. But feeling proud of who we are, isn’t the sole prerogative of the gay and the queer, it is a human right for all of us.
What are YOU proud to be?
My invitation to you is getting curious about what are you #ProudToBe? Are you proud to be a woman or a man, loving gardening or being a parent? Are you proud to love reality TV or whodunnits? The clue here is how it feels when you connect with that aspect of you or when you do that particular activity. When you do that, does that make you feel good about yourself or bad? Remember feelings are information. They are the clues that give you direct access to who you are.
Knowing who you are, or as it’s frequently referred to the authentic self, is often talked about but can feel like this nebulous notion of something that’s really hard to get a hold of. My sense is that it’s because we expect it to be this one sage or profound thing but actually in my experience, it’s a coming together of all the different aspects that make you uniquely you.
When you notice whether something makes you feel good or bad about yourself, you are paying attention. If it makes you feel good about yourself, chances are it’s an aspect of your authentic self. If it doesn’t, it’s an invitation to get curious. We can feel guilty for the things that we really enjoy or feel embarrassed about who we are.
Stephen Fry once famously shared that one of his guilty pleasures was reading a book by Georgette Heyer, a regency romp if I’ve ever read one and not ‘high-brow’ at all. If that something makes you feel bad about yourself, get curious. Is it something you don’t want do or goes against what’s important, notice it because that’s a clue too.
Give yourself permission to be proud of who you are!
Giving yourself permission to be proud of who you are, can take courage. Proudly claiming to be a trainspotter in a group of motorbike lovers takes courage. Proudly claiming your faith in a group of those who don’t share it, takes courage. Courage by its very nature is needed in scary situations. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s about getting curious about the fear, responding to it and taking it by the hand as you claim the right to be proud of who you are. It works like a muscle and just like a muscle needs practicing and building.
Developing a sense of the aspects that make you uniquely you, will give you a greater understanding of what makes you tick and how you experience your sense of purpose. We can think of purpose as this big thing but actually your purpose is whatever allows you to honour more of the aspects of who you are, what you are proud to be. By living your day in a way that honours who you are proud to be, you are living your purpose. Always remember: it is more helpful to be curious than critical.