Am I my perception of myself?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

We tend to have a limited perception of ourselves. I know the things that I like or dislike, the type of people or situations that I try to avoid, the reactions I have, the things I aspire to, whether I like/dislike something about myself, what I do not tolerate and a few other things. All of this comprises the perception that I have of myself. And we say: this is what I am, I am like this, because this is what I am able to perceive about myself…It is sufficient to live and to survive. We settle for that, although it does not make us happy. We are used to it being like that. More than once I have heard people say: “I’m just marking time”, “there is nothing more to life”. Those who say this are ordinary people, they are not people with some form of pathology. They are people like you and I, who live their daily routines at work, while they study, in their families, with their children, their friends or in their leisure time. However, in these expressions appears a certain sense that something is lacking, a lack of joy or meaning. I do not perceive anything more in life than: routine. To break with routine, often we resort to activities that make us feel something more exciting, even if it is momentary. For a while we put ourselves forward for a wild night out, for a speech that sounds quite interesting, get to know new people, sign up for a class in something, drink until we fall over, or we look to find in drugs a form of relaxation or numbness for our anxiety, or we go to see a sports match that thrills us and makes our adrenaline rush as a result of a victory by other people and even if there is no victory at least we can shout and feel the company of others, or we eat too much or look for quick sex.
But when it is over, we return to the same thing.
There is no important change in our lives.
And I say that there is nothing more to life. And from that limited level of perception of myself, it is absolutely true. There cannot be anything more.
Can I feel otherwise?
I believe that to do this the first thing is simply to start by “feeling” since we do not feel what happens in our bodies, we just try to supress what is unpleasant. When you observe what you feel, without criticism or guilt nor running away, you start to listen to what your body really needs. Your perception of yourself increases. The result of doing it with that attitude opens the way to a land that I did not believe existed, and that allows me to be the lead in my your own life and not a puppet whose strings are pulled by circumstances and my own unconscious urges.
From this point I sense myself, I realise and know what is happening to me and my perception of myself is no longer just what we said at the start of this text.
Now I am much more and much better.
Now I observe and I choose.
Before I neither observed nor chose, although I believed I did.
It was my fear and anxiety that caused me to take a path. This broad perception gives me the freedom and joy of really being responsible for my own life.
Do it for yourself, do it for everyone!