Me, myself and I

Do you ever catch yourself "wearing" a different persona when you are among different groups of people? When I was in my architecture circles I was a different person than when I was with my family. When I was in my consciousness circles I was a different person than when I hung around other creatives, business or tech people. I was a different person when I was with my American circles than when I was with my Sri Lankan circles. I had these personas as a way to manage an image, control how people perceived me or sometimes to manage social anxiety of being around other people when I really didn't want to. It was also reflective of my need for control and my constant obsession with perfection (or actively trying to deflect perfection) that stemmed from self-worthiness issues. In my thirties, I increasingly felt growing discomfort having to manage these personas. It was exhausting. It felt like I was wearing a mask. And the more I became comfortable in my own skin, in being myself and allowing my authentic self to come through, I started realizing I am not happy carrying around these masks. It felt inauthentic. In fact, it actually was inauthentic. Reconciling these personas meant that I would be presenting myself as who I really am. And being OK with how people perceive me the way they decide to perceive me, instead of the way I decided I want them to perceive me. And be OK with not having everything be so perfect. In fact, I was actually mostly projecting my self-judgement on to those around me and thinking they would constantly judge me. It was a very humbling realization that people actually have their own things to deal with, rather than sitting there constantly scrutinizing every single move I made. It sounds stupid to even say this aloud but it needs to be said: "the universe doesn't revolve around me." In the last 3 years, I've done a pretty good job at converging these different personas. Part of this journey, I think, came from maturing in age and being less concerned with things I was worried about when I was much younger like needing to prove myself to the world and seeking approval and validation from external sources. It also has to do with being more coherent to my authentic self. It was a big bold decision that I made to leave the "comfort" of a steady architecture gig to start a firm on my own. Not only did I start a firm on my own, I also started an unconventional sort of a design practice. My normal tendency is to underplay bold moves like this. But the problem with that is that whenever I don't acknowledge what a brave decision that was and how courageous I was to make that move, I make myself small. I send a signal to my subconscious that these achievements are not celebration worthy. And the only type of "celebration" that happens is with "failures" in the form of disproportionate time and energy spent stewing over these failures. (We'll talk about the so called failures another time; it's a whole topic in itself). So a part of owning who I am also comes with celebration of the achievements. This is what it is to be me now: own all parts of myself. Because of the nature of my work at Neuma Being, I've also had to confront various beliefs and constructs I've carried around most of my life without questioning. Where do these beliefs come from and do they really align with my values and principles? So, here are the things that helped me reconcile my different personas. Realization: That moment when I actually realized I had different personas I was showing to different people The Why: I was "wearing" these masks for specific reasons. Why am I doing that? What was I hoping to achieve with that? In my case it was a need to PERFECT my image, wanting to have a controlled narrative that stemmed from self-worthiness issues. Where and what: I was doing this by spinning a story with different audiences to get a specific result of being liked, appreciated and admired. Make it look like I have it all figured out. How: The big question is, how to overcome this and reconcile the different personas? These are some tricks that's helping me: Understanding my values and principles - knowing what I value the most and the set of principles I chose to live by is at the foundation of all the good work I do. It helps me set up goals and the boundaries. Acceptance of all of who I am, all the good, bad and in-between. This was and continues to be really challenging for me. I have to continue to check in with myself to make sure I am not leaving any stone unturned. And it's a process. Lots of reflection, journaling, and self-care has been really resourceful for this process. I use lists. And before (like a few years ago), I used to find many bad things and not as many good things to talk about myself. This made me angry and sometimes sad. How I got around this challenge was to start writing a list of good stuff I've done, things I admire about myself and like about myself - often turns to be a love letter to myself. It's a very delicate balance to walk between self hatred and narcissism. So being very gentle and grounded and having a lot of compassion and kindness helps. Integrity to who I really am. This requires quite a bit of self-awareness. You have to know what you want, you have to know who you are and you have to be strong to stand for all of that. I'm not saying you have to know 100% what you want at all times and know who you are completely. It's impossible by the virtue of evolving and changing every single moment of time. But at least to a certain degree, having a direction of what you are hoping to achieve and what is it that you truly desire in life, along with a modicum of understanding of your inner being helps. I've found tools like meditation, substance-free altered states, and therapy to be invaluable tools in promoting reconciliation of these various personas. Also, going into nature has become a massive part of my inner well-being journey as well. Together with all of these, I am now more confident in my imperfect self. If you want to find out a bit more about how to increase awareness through mindfulness and altered state practices and find out how this can improve your life and overall well-being, book a discovery call with me. Check out : https://www.neumabeing.com/mind-spa-relaunch With gratitude and blessings, Manori xx

Me, myself and I