I love the analogy of thinking of yourself as an onion, and peeling layer upon layer away to get to the center - the real essence of who you are. Our self protection instinct has grown these layers to buffer us from the outside world. For most of us, our psyche has been a private sanctuary, so well guarded that we barely allow ourselves a peek inside, let alone anyone else. Peeling the onion means discovering things about you, being honest with yourself and going deeper. The deeper you go, the closer you get to the key of your existence.
As I peel the onion of my Self, I try to reach greater self-awareness, self-acceptance. and personal effectiveness. First I have to discard the fear layer, the one that holds me back and makes me want to isolate and tell myself that I don't have the courage to do what I want and need to do. The one that allows my fear to become greater than my faith.
Next is the insecurities layer that is full of tapes playing in my head, telling me that I am not as good as the rest of you, the main authors being my ex-husband and my ego.
Then the layer of hurt, aka the victim layer, afflicted by people who have let me down, taken advantage of me, and have not met my expectations. Being the victim is painful and causes me to be at the effect of someone else rather than a cause in my own life. I hate the victim mentality, but it is the one that I seem to embrace.
The layer of false security is the one that makes me look good on the outside when I am crying for help on the inside. The one that permits me come across as capable of helping everyone solve their problems, because I have so many answers that I pull from the big self-help book that is my brain. I would rather help you than ever ask for help for myself.
The resentment layer is a crippling one, because I find it difficult to forgive and the person I should forgive first, is myself. It causes anger, hatred, and obsession which is a waste of mental energy. The key to this is to identify and admit the part I have played in whatever has taken me down. Not an easy thing for me to accept.
For me, peeling the onion is a learning process. A lesson in vulnerability. A search for underlying causes. A discovery process. It involves gently peeling layers of data, layers of interpretation, layers of emotion, layers of meaning. Asking "Why?" and "What do you mean?" and "What else?" persistently. I search for what is holding me back, why I have such a hard time accepting myself and why I am living so small.
It is peeling the layers of the past and realizing that you can never have a different past, you can only learn from it. I have to stop regretting the mistakes I made and never make the same ones again. Maybe someday I will understand the complexity of the person that lives inside my skin.