Unbecoming Who You Are Not in order to Remember Who You Are
Monday July 20, 2020

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Sometimes when a rose that is just beginning to start the blooming process, if it has layers and layers of petals and is hit by a good long rain during the summer followed by subsequent burst of heat, it can become basically frozen for lack of a better word. Gardeners call it balling, but basically, the bloom is stuck and cannot bloom as it naturally would do.

While balling can be largely prevented by creating even spacing between the roses (pruning) so that air flow can move freely, it can also be remedied by gently removing the outer layers to enable the petals inside to share their beauty.

Much like a rose bud that is inundated with rain and not properly and securely cared for, a person who has learned to assimilate themselves into any way of life or habit or way of thinking due to the environment around them can have the beauty that resides within them crushed.

However, even if prevention and awareness to thwart this from happening has not taken place, a remedy absolutely exists to peel back what does not reflect who we truly are so that we may reveal our true selves, and subsequently, based on my experience and others, discover true contentment and deeply experienced daily happiness.

The quote below by author Paulo Coelho is often shared when the topic of unbecoming is discussed, and it is apt and certainly worth remembering. However, I would like to amend the latter part. We have always been who we are, just not fully developed. In other words, unbecome who you are not so that you can remember who you are.

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s unbecoming everything that isn’t you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” —Paulo Coelho

I have shared more than a handful of times during the past few months our current situation is not welcomed, trivial or behind us, but I am doing my best to find the silver lining. Everyone is navigating the pandemic and our societal awakening to long perpetuated injustices in their own way as it is causing and to many, forcing us to self-assess and self-reflect.

With an abundance of time to be in my own company for long periods of time, my home and my mind have become my classroom to self-assess and to discover where I can “unbecome”.

To realize when your mind and behavior shifted and you became someone who [insert behavior or thought pattern you’d like to change] takes time and honesty with ourselves. What we will discover, if we are trying to eradicate thought patterns, unhelpful assumptions, destructive behavior, is that we will have to work at creating new, healthy habits, and this will take time. First, we must see the problem and why it happened, just as we must be an attentive gardener and attend to our roses, regularly checking them, especially after a rain storm.

If you are looking for a simple delineated list of how to “unbecome”, I cannot offer that. To do so would to do the thinking for you, and that would not be living an examined life. You must do the homework of examining your life’s journey. Only you know where you have been. You must be willing to sit with your mind, your reflections, your life experience and become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable as you dig deep. In episode #10 of The Simple Sophisticate podcast I share 5 Ways to Live an Examined Life that I am confident will help you begin the process of unbecoming.

We find ourselves at this moment in time, what will be our history to institute great change, not only in ourselves but in our world at-large. Begin with yourself if the latter sounds too daunting at first. If you want to exercise more courage, examine why and in what manner you have been cowering and for how long. If you want better friendships, examine what you bring to your friendships that is destructive or unhelpful. In other words, begin with your actions, your habits, your life journey that has led you to this point, and examine the why of your behavior.

Once you have this vital information about when you changed and why, do not become discouraged by what you do not want to continue, but instead seek out experts who can help you better understand and navigate forward in a direction and manner that will welcome the change you seek.

Any new behavior or way of thinking and engaging is going to expend more energy than each of us has become accustomed. Much like so many workers who have had to change how they work, not only is their work exhausting as it was previously, but now it is doubly so as they are doing their work differently. Mental fatigue is real which is why we must be patient with the change we seek eventually becoming habituated into our daily lives.

Perhaps the frequent spontaneous visits from my young neighbors (ages 5 & 7), as well as being around my dogs have demonstrated to me the glee that living life can have if only we would understand, or remember, that it is so.

Your amazing, loving, kind, compassionate, uniquely awesome self is there within you, and it always has been. What layers do you need to get rid of to share it with the world? What shifted who you were to squash what you have the potential to blossom into? I am on the journey of unbecoming with you, and I know we can do it. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week.


Image: The first bloom of my David Austin Buttercup yellow roses.

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11 thoughts on “Unbecoming Who You Are Not in order to Remember Who You Are

  1. Beautiful post, Shannon. Your addition to the Coelho quote is perfect. The reminder that we are actually working towards the ‘who’ we all ready are, gives us hope and a bolster to our determination to continue our ‘Journey of Unbecoming’ when the journey can seem a bit overwhelming. (Love that phrase by the way!)

  2. This is exactly where I am right now and for the past 2 years. It’s a struggle sometimes to not go back to the characteristics that made everyone else but me happy. I am now divorced after 25 years of marriage, have been a stay at home mom for 21 and have two more years until my youngest graduates high school and I become an empty nester. That will also be a time of unbecoming..as my identity and 24 hour job has been a stay at home mom. I try to sit quietly with myself often and reflect on what and who I really am now, putting aside the past and the expectations of those in my life. I discovered, for a great many of them, it was a one way street of me always at the ready to help them but not so much the other way around. I am now trying to walk that fine line so I am no longer taken advantage of but I do enjoy problem solving when someone asks for help. I also like to look at who I was in my marriage and change those characteristics, when i look at it honestly, would be better off different or no longer practiced. Thank you for your wise words and challenge to look at ourselves and constantly evolve!

    1. Michelle, I have a very strong feeling you are voicing what many women are feeling and striving to unbecome and return to a healthy balance of not being taken advantage of but still contributing within their boundaries. Thank you for sharing the journey you are on. I think when we, especially as women, but all people recognize that more people will be understanding and supportive of what we are striving to find, we can each be successful in attaining it.Your comment was very appreciated on today’s post. xo

  3. Beautiful. Thank you so much, Shannon, for an inspiring and timely post. I’m struggling right now, as everyone is, to find meaning in these days and continue on a path of personal growth. I keep reminding myself that character is most fully forged in challenging times. Your wisdom and grace and the community you’ve created here are a real source of strength.

    1. Pamela, You are not alone as you shared. I do appreciate your sharing the reminder that our character, when we choose to navigate through such times consciously, can be strengthened and forged in a way that we are proud of. Remembering this can certainly help and provide reassurance to dig deep and do the hard work that is necessary which will be unique to each of us.

  4. Great puece Shannon. As women we become so weighted down with all the different roles we take on. Wife mother sister etc that we lose ourselves along the way. It often takes a crisis like in Michelle’s story to take off all the layers . It should be for our own personal growth that we strive to be who we want to be?

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