On being true to ourselves

Schalk Neethling
3 min readApr 18, 2022
Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

In today’s world, it feels like our every move, word, and even our thoughts are being judged. The way we look, what we have and have not is constantly being measured against some artificial standard. The constant judgment, feeling like we have to prove ourselves over and over again. Our very being placed on the altar and sacrificed to the gods of commercialism. Our sense of self is being stripped away and replaced with an artificial shell of materialism. It is all so emotionally and physically draining.

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But this need not be so. This should not be so. Instead, we need to find our own unique voice and say loudly for all to hear, “Not, not me!”. We need not be paralyzed by the fear of being discovered to not be as perfect as the picture we paint. Don’t paint the picture in the first place. Instead, paint with your true emotions, with your true colors. Do not let your sense off self, your uniqueness, your very identity be made less. As Rumi says:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

If we give in to this unseen pressure, we grow small, and we retract. Instead, Rumi says:

“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.” ~ Rumi

And if a may paraphrase a little,

“Stop acting so small. Everything in the universe is within you. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” ~ Rumi

Often we silence our voice, whether that be our physical voice, the written word, our art, our passion, or our love. To this Rumi says:

“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”

Do not hide your gifts, share them freely and widely. Do not hide yourself, step out into the world and invite and embrace abundance with open arms. Speak your truth, live your truth, be unapologetically you. Because you know:

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?” ~ Rumi

Why hide behind a mask made for you by someone else? Or as Rumi says:

“Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?”

When you feel judged, when you feel like no one understands, when you feel like wearing your mask just one more time, do not. Do not let the world demand of you but instead demand of the world and say,

“Study me as much as you like; you will not know me, for I differ in a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.” ~ Rumi

Be strong my friends. Be courageous, be true, be a hero to yourself. Be like a mountain standing steadfast no matter the weather. Do not let unseen forces determine who you are. And with that, I will leave you with the following from Rumi:

“You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don’t.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.” ~ Rumi

And from Florence Nightingale:

“Rather ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.” ~ Florence Nightingale

Be unapologetically you.



Schalk Neethling

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, living your best life through an active lifestyle and a whole food plant-based diet. Psychedelic curios :)