384: 6 Things We Gain By Honoring Our True Self
Wednesday June 19, 2024

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A red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) butterfly with its wings painted in white, orange and black rests upon the Albrighton rambling rose that climbs up the right column on my front porch. Slowly opening and closing its wings as it drinks the nectar from the recently come into full bloom pink roses, to witness this sighting is a dream come true.

Just over four years ago I planted this particular rose with many hopes, doing my best to stay free of expectations and reminding myself to do all that I could and can to care for it well. Having named my house Le Papillon for reasons described in my most recent book – The Road to Le Papillon, the name also speaks to my love of gardening and my hope that my approach of organic gardening welcomes more pollinators into the space. From bees to butterflies and even moths. With each year in the garden, the rose has stretched ever upwards, and through times of quandary (why do the roseslugs like the rose so much and how can I prevent them from nibbling on the leaves?) as well as jubilation when the first and second flush of blooms arrive, offering more and more each year, the patient journey of turning my hopes into reality reveal themselves as possible if there is intention, effort and humility applied.

It begins with intention and clarity as shared in episode #381, then patience paired with consistent nourishment, and don’t forget the persistence, to be willing to look for the lesson even when it feels like the path forward is being obscured or is unclear.

This same journey occurs when we choose to embrace our true selves. When we make the life changing decision, a change that we cannot see at the outset, we open up a world of seemingly magic opportunities, gifts and moments of awe.

Over the years, beginning in 2018 and the post from which the excerpt above came, we’ve talked about honoring our true selves, what it entails, why it’s important and how to stay the course.

The choice to step onto the journey’s path of who each of us is must be made consciously, an exercise in self-awareness because we will be pushed and pulled off and over and even emotionally deflated along the way, and each instance will most likely, especially in the beginning and sometimes just at the end, prompt us to question if it is really worth it.

Today, as we are three days away from the launch of TSLL’s Contentment Masterclass, I wanted to share with you six of the amazing benefits we welcome into our lives when we choose to honor our true self, something the course will teach you how to do in the first couple of lessons.

1.A sustained joie de vivre

“When you experience unity of intention, fascination, and purpose, you live like a blood hound on a scent, joyfully doing what feels truest in each moment. Your daily work, whether it’s writing computer code, gardening, or building houses, is so absorbing that at the end of the day you don’t really want to stop.” —Martha Beck, The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self

A couple of years ago, an entire episode of the podcast was dedicated to Martha Beck’s book (ep. #307), and as she writes and if you are new to considering whether it is worth unearthing and understanding your true self, you may be doubtful that such sustainment is possible even when the work is difficult, demanding or exhausting, but as she continues to explain, it absolutely is possible to experience joie de vivre everyday all day. No, you’re not wearing rose-colored glasses, but rather have grounded yourself with the tools and knowledge that has helped you make constructive choices for your life journey as well as the skills to navigate through seemingly difficult or unwanted moments.

You will wake up excited to begin the day, have deep nights of restful sleep and enjoy the company you keep and they with you. Beck reminds that it all begins with being brave enough to step away from what is not who you truly are and honor the voice, your inner compass, that is trying to get you to listen about what is nourishing, and where you can truly give to the world that will also nourish you.

Deepak Chopra also posits that “being true to yourself should be a joy . . . feeling blissful is the hallmark of your true self, and the surest way to know that you are not betraying your core values”. Once we have done the homework of acknowledging the layers put upon us and also accepted either consciously or unconsciously by us of ‘life rules’ by others, then we can be sure that the decisions we are making our coming from our inner compass, and when we begin to listen and take the next best step based on what we know about ourselves, we are gradually with certainty stepping toward a life full of more joy, more bliss and yep, experiencing joie de vivre.

2. The desire to interfere with life ceases and unnecessary stress disappears

To live with trust that we will know how to navigate whatever crosses our path can only happen when we know ourselves well enough to know our strengths, to know what energizes us, what drains us and why. It is by grounding ourselves in this knowledge that we cannot be lead astray, and so then we can relax and savor the present moment. It doesn’t mean that stressors won’t arise, but we will know which ones are actually worth addressing and know how to patiently proceed forward to engage with them constructively. Seeking out help from those more knowledgeable than ourselves if we are unsure and having the humility to learn and forever be growing.

3. We begin to celebrate of our gifts and realize them as such, not something to be fixed, but rather nurtured

“What if what’s ‘wrong’ with you is actually what is right?” —Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, Psy.D, author of The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius

If we have struggled to find our place in the world, to find what fulfills us, a way of life that stimulates and energizes rather than drains and exhausts, most likely at some point we may have tried to do something differently, or seen something a different way or that others around us at that time didn’t see in the same way, etc., and if it went against what was the norm and we were the only one willing to point it out, we may have been shushed or ignored or even laughed at or ridiculed.

Of course, each of our experiences with engaging differently than the crowd, observing something differently than the masses, will be unique, but if you have ever felt you were nudged or pushed or demanded to go along in a way that didn’t sit well with your being, perhaps even made you sick to your stomach, let me first say, there is nothing wrong with you, as the quote speaks to above, but more than likely, that is what you need to drill down on and explore – that is an arrow illuminated by your inner compass, bringing something to your attention that you can uniquely see or do, and even if in that current situation nobody ‘gets it’ doesn’t mean it isn’t worth exploring.

Now there is much debate about younger generations and always having to prove themselves, step outside of the box or doing things differently, but what I hope to point out is that what we observe, understand or can do that is different isn’t to be different, it is who we are, it is what we can do naturally, and now we just need to figure out what to constructively do with it. I would wholeheartedly agree that if you are merely doing something different to be different, not because it is innate to you, then that is not being true to yourself. Only you will know if it comes from within, but if we are honoring what continues to bubble up within us, trying to help us to understand to explore, if it is persistent in its prodding to notice, than we are the only one’s standing in the way of living a life that brings us to life.

No, it won’t be an immediate turn around, but we have to start if we are ever going to arrive.

4. We set ourselves free from being controlled by the ego

“Self-awareness is a transcendence. An abandonment of the ego. A letting go.” —Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being

Any time you feel “I am not enough”, the ego is at the driver’s wheel.

Any time you refuse to examine your deepest fears or not address old wounds, or exclude rather than hold an open heart and mind, any time you refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing or become defensive, as Deepak Chopra teaches, the ego’s agenda is running the show (p. 97 of Abundance).

The simplest way to ensure we put ego in its place (because it does have a place, and can be a driving force to honor ourselves and our journey) is to learn and exercise the skill of self-awareness. When we do this, and continue to fine-tune it, which is a continual ongoing process, the ego no longer can drive our life’s journey.

When we live with self-awareness, this is when we realize what our inner compass is trying to help us realize, and from this starting point we are receiving vital life changing guidance that will lead us to true contentment, deep, abiding fulfillment and a calming inner peace that enables us to let go and let life unfold as it will.

5. We make real, loving, kind connections

It has been said that in order to find ‘true love’ we must first embrace our true selves. In many ways it is a play on words, because when we are true to ourselves, that is true love, but to take it outside of ourselves, when we know who we are and have courageously embraced and presented this self to the world, we first, have the clarity of discernment of sincerity with those we meet, to choose wisely who we share time with, and second, we now have the open heart and open mind, because that is what we gave ourselves, to connect lovingly with another, not rushing, not demanding, not expecting, but savoring each day and moment we both choose to be together and with our awareness noting if indeed the connection is healthy, truly loving and something to continue forth into tomorrow should the opportunity arise.

6. We set ourself free and engage with life fully

Earlier this month, my garage door broke. Breaking the spring and all wires eliminating the possibilities of extracting my car out of the garage to do the most mundane, but necessary routine tasks – grocery shop, for example. I have been told there were emergency ways to open the door, but settling into patience, I wanted to ensure the door remain unbroken in any possible way so as to be fixed and returned to its desired functionality. Never before, have I felt ‘stuck’ in my own house more viscerally, and not liked that feeling. I never even felt this way during the pandemic. While the door eventually was repaired – a broken spring and rebalancing tended to – the moment I was able to open and close the door safely of my own choosing I felt as though I got my life back. Now, I know it is a privilege to have an electric door opener, as someone who during their childhood was the ‘electric’ door opener for my mother (in other words – physical power), but in many ways when we are not being true to ourselves, whether we know what that entails or are still searching, until we embrace it, there is a feeling, a depleting feeling, of limitation and confinement that we don’t know how to get out of . . . until we do.

How do we step fully into our true selves? Well, that’s just it, only we have the answers we seek, but we often need to learn the skills and seek out those experts in these skills so we can practice them and apply them to our lives. But when we have the courage to acknowledge we feel restricted or trapped or in need of [anything that would make you come to life, even if you don’t know what it is, but you know you don’t have it now], that is when the journey begins toward figuring it out, and that is what TSLL’s Contentment Masterclass will help you do. I have touched on how to unearth your true self in a few posts and episodes from the archives and have included them below if you would like to explore or get a taste of what you can expect in the course.

What can be both exciting and unsettling is knowing that what you will discover on your journey to realizing your true self will be unlike anyone else’s – past or present. As Rick Rubin reminds, “Your path is unique, for only you to follow. There is no single path to great art.” Your art is your life. And it becomes art when you live with intention, choose to understand what you can uniquely give to the world and then courageously say to yourself (repeatedly), “I will figure out my path. I will figure out why this either doesn’t sit well with me, unsettles me or conversely, brings me to life even if it doesn’t do the same for everyone else I know.”

It is my hope that you choose to be brave. Choose to do the work, and choose to be patient, because in your life journey’s own time, you will begin to see more butterflies visit your roses, to use the analogy we mentioned above. You will see the rose begin to thrive, the sun begin to shine and each day feel like the best gift in the world that feels like a dream, but is indeed your everyday reality. It is possible, and you are the only one who can ensure it comes to pass.


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2 thoughts on “384: 6 Things We Gain By Honoring Our True Self

  1. Thank you Shannon. This episode resonated with me so much. I also had a recent experience of feeling a bit trapped when my car was having a significant repair and I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere and had some anxiety about how I was to get to a pottery class I had booked. While friends offered me their cars I took the opportunity to use public transport and discovered how enjoyable it was to make a slower journey and relax as I didn’t have to deal with the traffic (though never really that bad in Adelaide Australia).

    1. Annabell,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Yes, I so wished we had public transport here in Bend, as I would use it gladly! We of course have Ubers and my neighbors would help in a pinch, but one of the few drawbacks about the states is our lack of public and ease of use of that transport to go about daily life. That is yet another reason I so love Europe. Not having to drive is such a treat, relaxing and keeps the day far calmer as I don’t have to focus on being safe and can really settle into my day and whatever I am doing. Tickled you found the opportunity in this unwanted moment. 🙂

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