Know Thyself

Soulful Pursuit

For a long time, I thought I knew who I was. I thought I was funny, smart, opinionated but always fair and most of all a passionate woman. I also thought I was pretty sure of myself with a strong unshakeable resolve. Often proud of being able to call upon a tough exterior but never losing my gentle heart. At no point had I ever considered a journey to purpose. Which I now reflect upon had been my mission all those years ago (when I felt a strong desire to reconnect with home- Nigeria). Nor that this was would also become a journey of knowing myself. Strangely I found myself asking questions such as who am I? Particularly when I found myself in situations that made me ask, this isn’t me so how did I get here? Times when I found myself hiding pain and frustration, putting on a mask without even realising that I was.
If I am to pinpoint the moment I started or better yet had an inner but unexplained yearning for me was in 2009. At 23 close to graduating from Medical School, I thought what now? Part of me thought, well get married and become a mum, this is what you were born to do. I had always been a caregiver to others in my family so I thought this was where I needed to be. A housewife to a good man, a homemaker, and a healer to those in need. During my first year of training, within a week I knew I needed to further explore and discover the life I wanted to create. This shocked me as I had never been ambitious or adventurous. So I pushed the thought down but the voice continued. I also began to long to belong and this desire intensified when time after time I faced racism from supposed educated empathetic colleagues. Or when patients would question your capability with one exclaiming ” I don’t want a black person taking my blood!”. And as the customer is always right I was told to kindly not touch this said patient. 

Soulful Pursuit

Reconnecting with your roots

I also became disencumbered and knew in my gut I needed to reconnect with my roots. Having been dislodged from a place I called home at the age of 9 it never occurred to me that I needed to validate my identity. I also thought having mastered an eloquent grasp of the English Language, enjoyed many western activities considered myself secure in my new environment.

I had my final push to take this leap. When my consultant at the time, a highly respected staff member within my medical school, asked me which foreign country had I studied medicine in. I replied with a chuckle “Your medical school” From which point I knew I had now made this rotation a hostile one for myself. It was essential for me to go home and hopefully find acceptance here. (More about that on another post!)

During my time home I started facing and answering the question of “who am I?” This journey although still ongoing has led to discoveries I hadn’t factored in. I realised that what I considered constructive self-critiquing was self-bashing. At the same time I had an inherent fear of becoming the narrative I clung so dearly to. I possessed an understanding of the ego and the subconscious. The importance of taking ‘the seat’ as described by Michael Singer in (‘The untethered soul’) from the ‘ego’. The impact our childhood has, namely much of the negative roles we play out or beliefs we hold onto in adulthood stems from childhood traumas. At the time I thought these were the quirks of being a high achiever, necessary for my success. I have since learnt you are what you believe and the more you dwell on your fears the more likely they are to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some of what I called passionate expression, were deep-seated anger and resentment at the pressures any child in an African home knows all too well.

The False Narrative

We claim of being aware that we are imperfect beings, but what we mean most times is, I am perfectly imperfect. Thus requiring no reflection nor inner work. We secretly believe if I can function reasonably well, hold down a job, survive a handful of messy relationships, and keep the beautiful masks in place then thyself is doing a fantastic job! So why fix broken pieces that have fallen right into place.

To know thyself is not simply to rejoice the good nor is it a self- deprecating exercise. Rather it is owning what positively makes you unique. Also facing the false narratives that hold us back or in my case that keep me procrastinating!

Knowing myself painful as it may have been initially. Sometimes shocking and overwhelming has enabled me to acknowledge bad habits and make changes. If you do not know what haunts you, then you cannot fight and remove the demons.

Often we that are well put together; ambitious, highly functioning whatever you wish to call it individuals, often misconceive that our inner demons are beautiful ones. In comparison for instance, to those suffering depression or psychosis. When in fact left unchecked and thus ‘untreated’ so to speak is simply a lottery time bomb that may or may not explode. Be it into depression or its sister anxiety and to an unknown magnitude. We all need some form of inner compass and reflection, with the only way of achieving this being to know who we are.

Following this, acceptance is key to smashing the negative beliefs. Such as the belief that I held that tall women could never be feminine. So in effect was saying women like me, could not and were not supposed to be feminine.

Tuning out the noise which unfortunately most times comes from those closest to you. Which can be more harmful than you credit it. Shattering the belief system given to you that no longer fits with the core value of who you are. For instance, as an African woman I am nothing if I do not marry. Worse I have failed if I do not give birth, oh, and to sons! Wow. That belief needed a Thor hammer!

Your Core Values

In knowing what I stand for and not what I have been conditioned to. This had led to increased faith in my intuition. I no longer doubt that inner voice. The same one that told me it was time to pack my bags in 2010 and head to Nigeria thus starting me on this journey. To the dismay of everyone around me, with the community at wide judging that I had gone astray.

When I am called names such as arrogant, outspoken, idealistic, all my triggers before, I can sit back and take it for what it is. An individual’s opinion that has no bearing on me. Often a depiction of insecurity within themselves. It allows me to still show kindness in understanding those who out of self-preservation often attack consciously and subconsciously that which shakes its ego. I had chosen to resent my height subconsciously harbouring envy towards women considered the ‘average woman’s height’. Fearful that the narrative engrained in me, that I was too tall and now too opinionated would doom me to a lonely life! I can confirm I will continue to be curious and share my thoughts (I have after all started this blog!). Since accepting myself I have never felt more at ease with being real around others.

Self Love

I now recognise that my self-worth does not come from the numerous degrees I have nor praise for outward beauty. It comes from teaching others how to treat you and walking away from situations and people that do not fit the mission statement you have for your life.

I know and accept lovingly that I am a beautiful juxtaposition. I love chicken but I also love Puccini and Bach (check out Cello suite No. 1 in G Major- heaven!) No longer am I afraid that by standing up for myself in the face of discrimination will I be labelled an ‘aggressive black female’. I laugh at those who attempt to speak it.

Most importantly, I love thyself as much and firstly, not less nor before I love thy neighbour.

I understand what it means to live in Purpose. Mine being in bringing together my foundations of being the type of doctor I wished to be. A healer, teacher, spiritually conscious being with curiosity for human beings particularly the mind and a passion for the arts. Mouth full I know! I continue to discover depths each day of what this purpose means and how to serve others.

I uncover the scars that are stubborn to heal and now face them with intrigue and compassion. Knowing that growth is at the end of this tunnel.

Pin Me

know thyself

Sharing is Caring!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Hi! I'm Dr Jessica

I share my expertise as a Family Physician to provide you with the support and tools to a holistic lifestyle.

Subscribe to Get Soulful Updates!

9 Powerful Habits to Make You Assertive

Being assertive is critical to healthy relationships and living a stress-free life. I have said that assertiveness lies in the healthy middle between passivity and aggression. So, it is possible to be assertive without being aggressive.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Soulful Pursuit

Download Free Gratitude Affirmations (includes social media shreable graphics)