by Megan McDonough
I was in the halls of Kripalu on my way to lunch when a wonderful young student from the Certificate in Positive Psychology course stopped me. With a radiant smile and tears in her eyes she pulled me aside and said, “I’ve never felt so much like myself.”
Being who you really are seems so utterly simple. Who else would you be if not yourself?
What does “feeling like yourself” mean, anyway?
I’m fascinated with that odd question, which reminds me of the Zen kōan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
How could I feel other than me, since I am the one experiencing the “me-ness”?
Apparently, there are multitudes of ways we can be imposters in our own life. We all experience times when we feel off-course and separated in some intangible but undeniable way from our own authentic self. Perhaps it’s a bad marriage, work that leaves us empty or uninspired, or an illness that saps vitality. Finding our way back to our authentic self is a difficult and treacherous journey. It’s what Joseph Campbell calls the hero’s journey.
The student’s comment (which I’ve heard more than once since then) hits the bull’s-eye of my own experience in the course, describing a kinesthetic feeling of coming home to one’s self.
Think back to a time when you felt natural, at ease, and completely yourself. A time when you were comfortable in your own skin—if only for a millisecond or two. How did your body move? What was the quality of your mind? What emotions were present?
There is a natural, organic way of being when you find yourself. We may want to be able to bend steel with our bare hands, sail though the sky on a spider thread, see everything with x-ray vision, or leap tall buildings in a single bound. But there is one ultimate superpower you already possess: the ability you have to be uniquely and wonderfully you. And you’re the only one in the entire galaxy who owns it.
How many times today can you gift those around you with a glimpse of your superpower? Unlike Superman, you do not need to hide your identity, find a phone booth to change in, or worry about Kryptonite.
May the force be with you,
Uncover your own superpower self with the Introduction to Positive Psychology course, a convenient 5-week online course. For a more in-depth study with onsite immersions, see the Certificate in Positive Psychology.
Megan McDonough is CEO of Wholebeing Institute, an educational organization co-founded with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. WBI is committed to spreading ideas and practices that can help individuals and groups live life to its fullest.
Click here for a course listing.