When it comes to going after what you love in life,
don't take "NO" for an answer.
-- Regina Brett
Much of our stress and dis-ease in life is caused by living a life that does not resonate with our own inner truth. We hide from ourselves and each other in big and little ways each day. We find ourselves blaming and judging other people, our situation or circumstances for our unhappiness, not realizing that its deeper source lies within us. In failing to recognize and honor our own truth, we sacrifice our own well-being. Why do we do this? I've noticed that it is usually for one of three reasons -- either we sacrifice ourselves to please or support others, to conform to social norms, or we are too afraid of what might happen if we really gave ourselves permission to be fully ourselves.
Having it your way doesn't mean that we should all be selfish, greedy and self-centered. Rather, it is about being honest and true to ourselves by living life as a reflection of our inner truth. This takes courage and ruthless personal honesty.
Each of us has a unique set of preferences, needs, talents and abilities that affect how we see ourselves in the world and how others see us as well. Among the strongest influences on our identity are our gender, race, family, socioeconomic affiliations, culture, moment in history, etc. No matter how similar we are to another, each of us has our very own unique way. Just as we might prefer to "hold the pickle, hold the lettuce" on our burger, we each have a personal sensibility about many things in life. We might prefer the country to the city or the color turquoise to red. We might have a great voice, tremendous business acumen or parenting skills. Being conscious of our own talents, abilities, preferences and deeply held beliefs and values is the foundation upon which we can build our life your way.
Each of us is an original and can't be replaced. When we fail to recognize and celebrate who we are, it is a collective as well as a personal loss. The less we live as who we are the less alive we are. Knowing ourselves and what we are capable of contributing is not only personally liberating, but socially responsible as well. This doesn't mean that we are all meant to be stars. Many of us contribute quietly or to only a small group. The point is to be who we really are and to give our best. Anything less cheats us all.
f you are feeling out of sync with yourself or with the world, the following five steps will help you find your way to living your life your way.
Many of us have only a vague sense of what matters to us, yet we are quick to judge anyone who doesn't agree with us as though the whole world should share our point of view. It takes time and intention to get below this surface level of encountering life to develop a clear understanding of who we are and what really matters to us so we can live from the inside out. Paying attention inwardly is essential to really getting to know ourselves. The truth is we all hear voices in our heads -- unfortunately, for many of us the voices of fear, doubt, self-sabotage and judgment often speak the loudest. Listen for the voice that values you, your skills and abilities and is always there to encourage you on to find the courage and creativity to face whatever life brings your way. This is the innocent yet powerful voice of your true self.
Once you have come to recognize the voice of your own inner truth, create a routine of checking in at least once a day to see if you are on track. If you are facing difficult challenges, a lot more inner focus will be required. Ask yourself questions like: "When was I on course/off course today?" "What is working for me and what is not?" "How can I tell the difference?" Listen and notice if the negative voices try to insert their point of view. Their ultimate message is always to give up and see yourself as a failure and/or as unworthy of what really matters to you. It is important to become conscious of what they are saying to you because only then can you do something about it. Assert your own power by refuting the negative remarks. Respond to inner negativity by reframing your perspective in a way that you can see your own courage and goodness and build upon that.
No matter how long you have been afraid or following someone else's lead, the opportunity is always there to wake up and get into the driver's seat in your own life. If you haven't done so yet, why not now? Everything in life involves choices and trade-offs. No matter how high a mountain of change might look to you, always remember you progress one step at a time and you get to control your pace. The more you trust yourself and the wisdom of honoring your own truth, the easier it will become to make this your normal way of behaving.
Remember Henry Ford's famous quote: "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." We die a little each day when we don't believe that we have the right to live according to what is true for us. The willingness to be happy gives us the ability to be happy. Try it!
The more authentic we become, the happier we get and happiness that is rooted in truth is a beautiful thing. Since our lives are reflections of our inner relationship with ourselves, a life built on truth is about as good as it gets.
Celebrate and share the gift of who you really are!
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