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Top 3 Lessons I've Learned: Transitioning from 'Becoming' to 'Being'

A conversation I had with my therapist earlier this week made me confront a flood of emotions I usually suppress. In a flurry, I vented about all the "should haves," "could haves," and the list of things I felt I needed to do. My focus was on where I thought I should be or could be, in contrast to my current reality. After listening, my therapist dropped a truth bomb: "Romellus, you're often racing to become, instead of finding contentment in being." That hit me hard and got me thinking. Here are my reflections, in the hopes that they might resonate with someone.

It's crucial to identify when we need to shift from the mindset of "becoming" to simply embracing "being."

Growing up in Western culture, we're surrounded by spoken and unspoken rules and societal expectations. But as humans, we understand this doesn't truly reflect reality, even if the system persists. Do we have to remain trapped in it? How does this framework affect us mentally and emotionally, and why does it matter?

I've spent most of my life in "Becoming" mode. I've been running away from childhood messages that formed the inner critic, the voice that highlights my shortcomings, where I fall behind others, and how I don't measure up. I wasn't the one who created this voice; it likely came from early criticism or a sense of not meeting high expectations from parents or caregivers.

This mental framework fueled my constant "becoming," which can translate to a continuous feeling of "I'll never be enough." This can masquerade as ambition, drive, hustle, or motivation, but it can also lead to neglecting self-care and lacking direction. "Becoming" implies an ongoing process, a loop without a clear end or destination.

Our bodies and brains get hooked on this cycle. We become addicted to the rush of adrenaline, the rise in blood pressure, and that underlying anxiety in our gut. Despite the discomfort, our bodies and brains stick to what's familiar and easier. This doesn't make us flawed; it makes us human.

How do we break free from this cycle?

Embracing Acceptance: Shifting from "Becoming" to "Being" involves inviting acceptance into areas where we struggle to let go of control or accept ourselves. Refusing to fully accept ourselves keeps us perpetually searching for something external that remains elusive. Acceptance allows us to step away from the constant unraveling, the overthinking, and the time wasted. It means understanding that multiple truths can coexist.

Embracing the Power of Existence: When I stand by the ocean, even after a decade on the West Coast, words fail me. The ocean's sheer vastness, powerful waves, and mysterious depths are inspiring just by existing. It doesn't need to prove its might; we intuitively understand it. There's power in choosing to exist. It involves acceptance and teaches us the importance of being. Through being, we gain genuine perspective beyond emotions, childhood trauma, or other's opinions. We learn to explore who we are and who we want to be. Our discomfort with existing often stems from the fear of feeling. To exist means to acknowledge and process our emotions, moving from survival to thriving.

Understanding the Difference Between a Destination and a Journey: This step is tough because it merges acceptance and existence. It's about actively participating in your journey, rather than being on autopilot, observing life pass by. I work daily to accept that my journey is continuous, with ebbs and flows. Some days, I'll take steps forward and then seemingly many steps back. This fluctuation used to scare me, but it's a sign of being human. We must accept that healing is ongoing work. Understanding this offers more empathy and grace toward ourselves and others. It's embracing our humanity and stepping outside our internal narrative and comfort zone. "Destination" implies hurry, while "Journey" encompasses experience with uncontrollable variables, from which we learn.

Transitioning from becoming to being has been the most challenging process in my 33 years. Not just due to the work, therapy, mental struggles, or the fatigue of being human, but because I'm breaking free from an unconscious pattern I didn't design. Unlike our parents, we have knowledge, truth, and the power of existence. This reveals our responsibility and the choice to prioritize ourselves. Becoming serves us in moments, not as a perpetual state. That means reclaiming control from early programming and patterns. Choosing to embrace the power of existing allows us to find clarity and become our true selves. Here's to embracing existing over becoming.

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