2 min read

Running Bare

Learn how to apply pressure to yourself to grow and find out more about you.
Running Bare

How does one find out who they are, truly. The current way to do this as described by self-confessed YouTube gurus is to meditate, go on long walks by yourself, download this app or do this online self-assessment test. There are also star signs, you might as well send me some money and I’ll tell you how your day is going to go, it will be just like the previous day if you do nothing different. These things are cursory and do not let you know who you are. They are generally filled with Barnum statements more than anything.

So what are the things that make you dive into your soul and reveal who you are regardless of whether you want to see it or not? I think it’s an important point that knowing who you are means seeing the ugly and the beautiful. The ugly will make you squirm and not want to look, it will make you avoid it. The ugly needs to be understood just as much as the beautiful. It’s very much like the Yin & Yang symbol, they’re both part of the whole. The funny thing is they might even be parallels between the two, or two sides of one coin. The parallels are interesting to me.

For me, looking into my soul when I was young involved a gradual increase in danger. Riding my BMX bike over a jump I had never done before, the larger the better, rollerblading on bigger and bigger halfpipes, or hanging on the back of a car and seeing how fast you could go. Generally, it was enough that you had time to freak out during the small event that you could stuff it up. Nailing it or capitulating would be decided on before the jump, in the air and then on the landing. In those exhilarating moments, you find out what happens inside of you. All the fear, anxiety, wonder and glory are there showing you what you are. Dangerous situations were how I access who I was and eventually I built confidence in that. I had access to me, regardless.

As time went on, I couldn’t justify the dangerous things. I was getting older and a family takes priority (I need to be able to earn money and not be broken from something). Looking back, this left a gap in my life. At the time, I didn’t really understand how I was accessing who I was, but I felt disconnected. How was I going to get feedback on myself that was true and pure? The answer is if it can’t be dangerous, then it needs to be large amounts of pressure and to start stacking pressure on top of pressure. You gotta stack it up.

Stacking is adding a lot to your life in a very short burst while making sure you’re internally and maybe externally locked into it (whatever works for you). You commit to running a marathon with a friend, or you agree to extra duties at work, or you take over the finances at home. You keep adding things. Initially, you will be ok, but then you’ll be ground down and you’ll get tired, your guard will drop (importantly) and your soul will be bared again, for all it’s ugly and beautiful. Then you know what to leave and what to work on.

Force yourself to do a lot of uncomfortable things all at once. You’ll continue to find out who you are. Absorb the ugly, learn and get better, and release the beautiful for the world to see.