You need you; there are no substitutes. From a young age we are often taught, in both subtle and overt ways, to compromise who we are and to replace our true thoughts and feelings with false masks. We do this because we want to be accepted, to fit in, and to be loved, and we fear that our true self may not be good enough. Over time, our awareness of our authentic self slowly recedes. Yet, compromising our truth brings no true reward. Not knowing and loving our authentic self creates loneliness and cuts us off from our center of power and inner joy.
The journey of discovering your true self promises to be the most rewarding experience of your life. You did not come into this world to be a prisoner to societal pressures and the expectations of others. You are here to set your spirit free and to know, express, and love all of who you are. Yet, knowing our truth is both simple and impossible. The authentic self is not stagnant and nor always easily identifiable. We are multifaceted beings who are constantly evolving, transforming, and expressing our truth through new experiences, impulses, and desires.
Despite the many influences that seek to confine you to complacency and suppress your inner truth, the journey of discovering your authentic self is natural and always unfolding. The process of becoming more aware of and being in sync with the constantly evolving panorama of your authentic self tends to unfold in three phases: awareness, transformation, and awakening.
Awareness is the ability to be attuned to the present moment and the deeper calling of your spirit. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that arise, as well as your inner voice and gut feelings. Although this sounds simple, it can at times be challenging. From a young age, the world around us (including our family, peers, and schools) has told us who we are. We have come to know ourselves through such things as our race and gender, our socioeconomic circumstances, and societal norms. Throughout our lives we receive many well intended, but soul-suffocating messages to quiet our authentic voice and comply with the expectations of others and the values of our environment. Some of the personal characteristics, qualities, and likes and dislikes that we unknowingly adopt to fit it may reflect our authentic self, but others may not.
To discover what is true for you, take a look at yourself and the world around you. Listen for and trust your intuitive gut feelings and allow your heart to guide you. For example: Examine how you spend your time and what you put your energy into. Is it reflective of your inner truth? Does your current job or career provide you with a sense of purpose and meaning? What is the quality of your relationships? Can you express your innermost feelings and thoughts to the people in your life? Do you have an interest that you would like to explore or is there something that you would like to be doing, but you fear that others may not understand or reject or laugh at you?
Allow your true thoughts and feelings about your day-to-day responsibilities, patterns, and activities to surface. You may at times unknowingly compromise and limit yourself out of habit. From a young age, you may have suppressed your true desires, aspirations, and dreams and do not realize that you are continuing to do this.
As you listen within to your intuition and allow your thoughts and feelings to surface, false layers of self begin to fall away. Transformation and change comes your way as you consciously let go of what no longer speaks to your true self. For instance, you may become aware that the job that you have held for many years is no longer satisfying. You are ready to take the leap and go back to school and pursue a much-desired career path that you previously did not think was possible.
Sometimes change is sudden and unexpected. A much-longed for opportunity comes your way with little effort on your part. Your boyfriend or girlfriend ends the relationship or you are laid off from your job. Sometimes change is more subtle. You are able to trust others and open your heart and share and receive love and connectedness at a more intimate level. Perhaps you feel disconnected from those things and activities that once brought you a sense of belonging and joy. Maybe you feel an inner void or a soul longing, but you do not know why or how to heal it.
Transformation can bring a sense of inner relief as emotional expectations and burdens drop away, or it can be more challenging. As we shed false beliefs, things, and activities, our sense of security and our connection to others may falter and diminish. Yet, letting go is part of the cycle of soul growth and ultimately leads to the authentic awareness of self. When we submit and allow change to happen and become more comfortable with insecurity, new energy and possibilities begins to emerge.
Transformation ushers out the false aspects of self and invites you to know yourself in new ways. Similar to transformation, awakening can be a gentle unfolding of new awareness or the abrupt realization of a truth. For instance, through a deeper alignment with your authentic self you may become more aware of those actives and practices that help you to feel more peace and joy in life. When you let go of the expectations of others, you find the courage to choose what feels right for you even if there is a lack of support from family and friends. Others opinions and judgments no longer control your behavior and sense of self. More independent and able to go it alone if necessary, you feel positive and enthusiastic about the future.
Sometimes awakening can be more challenging. For instance, you may realize that you have to confront a truth about yourself that you have denied. Maybe you have given your power away to another out of fear of being abandoned or being alone. You may awaken to the reality that you are in an unsatisfying or controlling relationship and that you and your partner need to work toward positive change. Maybe you have an interest in a type of spirituality or practice that you have kept hidden from others because you fear that they would not understand and accept you.
Yet, despite how disruptive, surprising, or confusing change may be, awakening always leads you deeper into the core of your authentic self where your true power and joy resides. With awakening comes an increased sensitivity to the world around you and a new appreciation of your own heart-centered depth and inner truth. You become aware that what is inside of you is more powerful than what is outside of you. The loud voice of the world's standards and expectations subside as your intuition strengthens and you trust and act on your what is right for you. As you step outside of the three-dimensional paradigm of self and into the multi-dimensional and spiritual, you become aware that you are more than what you have thought yourself to be. Your communion and connection to the earth and to the spiritual realms intensifies as you come to the awareness that you are not a single, lonely individual. You are part of a whole, a oneness that lives and breathe through you.
New Rules to Live By
The process of awareness, transformation, and awakening has no true end. On the journey to discovering your authentic self, you are constantly cycling in and out of these phases. As you awaken to new aspects of your core truth, you are transforming and becoming aware of others. Don't resist this current—flow with it.
Give yourself new rules to live by. Be a paradox. Be spontaneous. Become comfortable with being the mystery that you are. Do not strive to be a solid and inert mass of predictability. Go beyond your limitations and delve into your soul's beauty. Let your definition of self include the stuff that the stars are made of, the depth of the blue seas, the magic of the celestial heavens, and the heartbeat of love within all of life.
There is a precious being inside of you, a spark of divine individuality bursting at the seams and ready to lead you into new adventures and creative possibilities. Be the open channel for the love of the heavens to move through you. Point your awareness in the direction of the eternal and the everlasting truth of who you are and what life is.