We don't know ourselves (silly caterpillars)


I’ve known myself for 27 years. But not really.

The more I learn about myself, the more I realize I don’t know. Let me explain.

I’ve been ignorant about who I am. I’ve clung to the ideals of others or what others told me I am, should be or must be.

Some may call these “phases.” You could say they were “exercises in self-discovery.” But they really weren’t. They were exercises in ignorance.

We’re all trained to be ignorant.

As children, we were told what was “good” and what was “bad.” Of course, we wanted to be good children, so we did what we were told. Mostly, anyway. Like good little caterpillars, inching along in our happy worlds, moving over for the sharp objects in our way. (I promise the caterpillar thing will make sense later.)

I was really good at being good.

Always the teacher’s pet. Always doing what I was told was “right.” 

It wasn’t just my parents and teachers I was obeying.

I also obeyed the rules either told or understood by my peers, without question. From what to wear to how to act to what to eat to hobbies, I molded myself more and more into the people around me. As the people around me changed, I changed. “Transformation” is the big word we like to use to put a positive spin on it. 


Think about how we use that word.

Look at Kelly’s weight loss transformation! Before and after pics click click click hereeee!

Cindy’s really gone through a transformation. She used to be really quiet and now she’s so outgoing.

Ever since I started practicing yoga, I've transformed into a better person.

Do we really transform though?

If so, how many transformations do we go through before we are our true selves? How long are we in the cocoon before we finally transform into beautiful butterflies?

When I was recovering from my eating disorder, my therapist introduced me to a concept that was foreign to me. Presence and awareness.

The therapist I tried before him talked to me about things happening around me, which I think is normal. She also gave me pills. Neither of these methods were working for me. Needless to say, it didn't work out.

Instead of dosages and the day, my new therapist talked to me about NOW. He taught me to be aware of the present moment and to focus my awareness inward.

I discovered that I was a stranger to myself— I hadn’t spent much time at all looking inward. I could spend hours looking at myself with critical eyes in the mirror, but looking at my internal self? Not a second. 

I'm so thankful to my therapist and to yoga for helping me look inward.

I had my eye on the butterflies fluttering around me when I should have been looking at myself.

As it turns out, I’m not like my friends. In fact, my friend Whitney and I frequently joke about how different we are. 

Like all things, there has to be a balance.

If we constantly focus our gaze inside ourselves we’ll become selfish creatures. And nobody likes that. But I think it’s safe to say that most of us aren’t in danger of looking at our inner selves too much.

You want to be a butterfly? Take some time to yourself.

Quiet time. Meditate if you’re into it. How do you feel? What sensations do you feel? Not just your body, but your mind and your spirit? What might deserve your attention? What do you need? What’s full? What’s empty?

I’ve been asking myself questions like these and trusting my intuition doesn’t come super easy but I’m getting better.

I know myself better than I ever have and for the first time, I really feel like I’m on the right path and making decisions that are right for me.

The real me. Not the me I was hiding in a cocoon made from everyone else’s ideals. It feels better than good. It feels right. 

This is where you think I’m going to say I’m spreading my wings and flying high like a beautiful butterfly.

But I don’t even think I’m a butterfly, after all.

I’m more of a bunny.

Living WellCara McDonald