Of all the battles we will fight in life, perhaps our greatest war will be with ourselves as we search for our self.
After all, how are we to hear our own inner song in the swarm of everyday noise? Is our individual voice the one we listen to on the morning news or scroll through in social media sites? Is it the lessons we're taught in a classroom or the opinions of our family and friends? No; our real voice whispers from within.
To a certain degree, it's normal to abide by the dictates of others. Much of what we think, say, do, eat, even wear is influenced by external factors. But the clamor of the outside world can easily drown out the melody of our soul, that little voice guiding us down our divine path and reminding us of our highest purpose. How often do we delve within to rescue the rare treasure that is our authentic self?
Act on these five ways to rediscover the genuine you and expand the spectrum of your identity:
Build your life work. Your original self emerges when you work from the seat of your soul, carefully crafting what you love. Pinpoint your vocation, your life's calling, and begin to build on it. Ask yourself, "How may I serve?" Your goal may be to make money and own an empire, but your mission should always be grounded in a greater purpose of serving others. I, for one, love to model as a hobby but I understand this isn't necessarily my calling. I'm showing another pretty face to the world, and there are plenty already. But when I write, on the other hand, my spirit is suddenly stirred. Writing awakens my vocation; if my words can uplift just one reader, I feel fulfilled. Work that is bred in the heart, formed from a deep need to help others, is your legacy and will remain long after your physical presence has expired.
Roam within yourself. There exist endless compartments to your being. You are a multifaceted person with individual likes, dislikes, and tendencies. Get to know them all. There are no good or bad elements to your self; you just are. Granted, it's much easier to shy away from darkness that you encounter within you than to embrace it. But when you become familiar with your every aspect, you can eliminate the fear, the haunting memories, negative impressions, and bad habits. Then, you can begin to operate on your higher self and allow the light within to beam forth. Interview yourself; ask yourself honest questions as if you were examining a person you just met. Know, too, how you have changed and in which direction you are evolving. To acknowledge the totality of your being is your most powerful tool towards progress.
Match your public and private personas. When I was in highschool, I displayed a rough, tough, bad-girl facade while on the inside dwelt a shy, timid, and meek young woman. I didn't yet comprehend that who I was on the inside should match what I showed to the world. I thought I could be "better" on the outside than what I felt on the inside. Then I realized that I was best by matching my interior to my exterior, and I allowed my humble nature to overtake that senseless rebel I pretended to be. You also must evaluate whether your two sides run parallel, and should always mold your public self after your private self.
Know Spirit. Our true nature was divinely inspired--breathed into us by the universe as a wind kindles fire. The divine world gifted you with your incredible, unique way of being. To seek Spirit is to seek the purest version of you. This is not to say you have to abide by one religion; on the contrary, spirituality is detached from the strict mandates of religious teachings. It is simply recognizing the interconnectedness of all things and acknowledging a greater force that is everlasting and ever-loving. When you live in faith you live in the reassurance that you are always protected and guided, and never alone on your journey. Faith encourages your real self to thrive.
Establish your truths. We all have a code that sets up our individuality. You may believe in loyalty above all while I may believe in morality above all. You may value work first while your neighbor may value family first. Whatever your beliefs, they are the foundation of your genuine self. Set up your personal commandments and live by them. Understand what particular principles drive you forward and discern the elements that make you act in a certain way. What you believe defines who you are. So what's true to you?
Influences from the outside world can easily nudge us away from our authentic being. But if we dig through our sophisticated, inner layers, we can unearth our truest self and allow it to guide us graciously through every one of life's twists and turns.
To your authentic self,
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