Let me ask you a question. But before I do, prepare yourself to give an honest answer. Not one you “think” you should say. But a REAL answer. Ready?
How much of your life is spent doing or believing things that don’t really resonate with you? Things that you have been told to do or told to believe? How much of your life is actually spent on your terms? It’s a big one I know.
Why am I asking this? Because I know what it’s like to live life on other people’s terms. By other people’s rules. To be consumed with beliefs that were never really mine in the first place. Why is this important? Because until we allow ourselves to take an honest look at these things, it’s really hard to live happy and fulfilled. Because we really aren’t being our true selves.
When we truly evaluate our lives and sit down and take stock, we become aware that there are so many things we are doing on a daily basis that isn’t really us. There are so many things we are thinking, being, believing… and that we are doing so because that’s what we’ve been told to do.
There comes a point in our lives where we just get tired. Exhausted really. Because it takes a whole lot of effort and space to be living a life that’s not consistent with who we really are. There comes a point where we have to start making the decision to look deep within.
The Importance of Looking In
Last month I released my first book – It’s called Looking In and Finding Out. It’s all about the process of doing the hard work to truly look within yourself and find out the things you need to know about becoming who you truly are.
My story is riddled with trauma, loss, and tragedy. What I’ve found along the way is that it seems we all have these components somewhere in our stories. What we don’t realize is that these experiences can also seriously color the way we see ourselves and the world. Especially when we choose to tuck them away and hide them. Acting like they aren’t a part of our true self.
When we allow ourselves to look within, we are aligning ourselves with the truest version of us. So often we go through life with our heads down and our mouth shut. Not because we want to, but because that’s what we’ve been taught to do. Or we allow shame to be so consuming of our identity we must remain hidden.
It took me 7 years to write my book. Why? Because of the shame I felt about my story and the fear I felt surrounding challenging all the things I was taught to believe and how I was taught to behave. It was scary to shine the light into the dark places and disempower the roles of shame and fear in my life. This doesn’t mean you have to write all your secrets and publish it for the world to read, but it does mean it’s time to start intentionally taking stock of the areas of darkness in your life that need light. The areas that will set you free once you truly allow yourself to look within.
Participate in Your Own Unraveling
In the book I talk about the analogy of a rope and how each of our experiences is like one of the fibers of the rope. Individually, those fibers are weak. But when you put them all together, they create something that is strong. Our experiences, both good and bad make up who we are, and we are strong. At some point though, we have to be willing to unravel the rope because at its core is who we were supposed to be.
The experiences we have and messages we receive from those around us can overtake and hide our true selves. They can mold us into someone we were never intended to be in the first place.
It takes a conscious effort to participate in your own unraveling. It’s not something you can do from a place of comfort or auto pilot. That’s why many people choose to stay in the same place. They don’t want to face the dark places. But you know what, we all have them. From childhood sexual abuse, alcohol issues, seeking my identity in men, loss of relationships, the disappearance of my mom, the deaths of my brother and dad, I could say I’ve been dealt a crappy hand.
I could allow that to suck me in and never return. Becoming a victim to the crappy deal I’d been given. And… I know that’s not where I want to live. It’s not where you’re supposed to live either. We’ve got to do the work and unravel the things that keep us buried beneath all the things we allow to define us that really aren’t us at all.
Who Are You?
It’s so important to know that you are not your experiences. You are not your bad choices. You are not your mistakes. You are also not what people told you to be. Do you know this? Maybe not at first. But if you really sit back and allow that to sink in, can you feel it? I bet you can.
Most people think that who we are just magically appears someday and all is easy. Not true. I’m sorry to say it’s going to take a conscious effort on your part. But one that is SO worth it!
Ask for help if you need it. Hire a counselor or a coach who can walk you through this process. Listen to podcasts. Immerse yourself in learning and new knowledge to see what fits for you and what doesn’t. Read books. Take classes. There are so many things we can do to intentionally grow and let me tell you this… reconnecting with who you are at your core is totally worth it!