For years I searched for an answer. I read books, traveled, studied, went on hundreds of coffee dates, and heck, I scoured the Internet for hours. I was THIRSTY for something. I was HUNGRY for truth. My truth. And yet, it felt ephemeral and distant.
In all of my reading, a particular mantra kept popping up: “The truth is within yourself. The truth is within yourself.”
This was a big pill to swallow. I didn’t quite know where to start. There wasn’t a manual I could read for further clarification.
I decided if I wanted to understand my truth, I would need to take an old-school approach. I would need to study myself just as I would a subject in school.
I decided to attend Carla’s Truth 101 lectures, where I was both the teacher and the student. I wrote the “truth is in me” affirmation on post-its, on my hand, said it during meetings (to myself), and repeated it in my mind while walking down crowded streets. I started to listen to my emotions and my thoughts with more intention. I decided to wake out of my slumber and listen to my truest self.
But boy oh boy, did a myriad of voices within me have a lot to say about this statement. They would not leave me alone with their comments:
• Am I too thick to understand what’s in me?
• What if the truth in me is unworthy and unlovable?
• What if the truth in me isn’t economically viable?
My own SELF had conflicting opinions about what was good for me.
After battling with these voices, I realized that it was difficult to listen to myself when my own mind was a confusing landscape filled with emotions, uncertainty and fear masked as voices that were trying to “help” me. I didn’t have a clear understanding of whom I was really listening to: fear or myself.
Needless to say, listening to the world’s opinions and my own meant there was a lot of chatter about what I should do filling my head. It got so noisy that I realized the first step in my journey was to actually understand who and what I was listening to.
What I realized is that the voices that challenged me with fears and thoughts of uncertainty were actually there to protect me. They wanted the best for me but had a hard time saying it to me kindly. I had to first identify what were “ego-based” voices (the voices that were there to keep me in status-quo) and my true voice.
This was a huge revelation in my life. Soon after I worked my way through this identification process, I brought the concept to tea+purpose, the purpose-driven gathering for twenty & thirty-something women I founded & facilitate in NYC and Chicago. At tea, we discussed different strategies to keep your fear in check. Here’s a couple of strategies that we came up with:
• Keep a “conquer fear” journal. Similar to a gratitude journal where you write what you are grateful for, we flipped this concept on its head into a fear journal. Every time you feel any type of fear, simply write your thought and what happened. As you advance past the identification stage, you can write how you’ll move beyond the fear into making decisions out of love instead of fear.
• Tell your fears that you appreciate their opinions. You love that they are trying to keep you safe. However, you are in charge and will be making the final decisions. A little conversation can help shake them back in their place.
• Tell someone your fear. Once you identify your fear, open up to someone you trust about what you are experiencing, the fear-based patterns in your life, and how you can conquer those thoughts.
In my own life, identifying the driving forces (especially when they are fear-based) has pushed me closer to my truth day by day. This process catapulted change across all areas of my life, especially in my career. Today, I’m only working on projects and with people that I feel a strong connection to instead of taking whatever opportunity that comes across my plate. I’m investing my time socially and career-wise with people who I believe are living their truth.
Change is difficult. It can be crappy to shed old skin and mute voices that have been there. But, it’s a day-by-day, moment-by-moment process. And I’m keeping at it.
Carla Blumenthal builds environments and work on projects that cultivate self-love and empower women. She recently launched tea+purpose, a movement of heart-centered twenty & thirty somethings who have conversations that matter over tea. Join them in NYC and Chicago and send her a note at email@example.com.