Updated: Jun 15
Many years ago I was standing in the front of my classroom teaching my first graders how to read when I heard a voice in my head say, "Denise, you are here to teach people to be their truest self."
Honestly, I always had a feeling there was something else I would be doing besides teaching elementary school, but I couldn't put my finger on it. At that time I had no idea what it meant to be your "true self" and I had no idea whose voice I was hearing. But as I stood there in front of my first graders, this voice was undeniable.
It was loud and it was clear.
What I hadn’t known then is that before I could teach whatever this "true self" thing was to anybody, I first had to learn it for myself. Life was ready to teach me and I suppose without knowing it, I was ready to learn.
The funny thing is back then, I was convinced I already knew who my true self was. I think we all do before the journey inward begins. If our Ego is fully in the drivers seat, how can we possibly know any different?
Here is what I know now that I didn't know then. My Soul was committed to me knowing my own truth regardless of what my path "looked" like more than my Ego was committed to ignoring my truth just so I could replicate a path that was "acceptable" by others.
Because my Ego is a tricky persistent pain in the ass, it's been quite a ride. It will say and do anything to keep me from growing because it wants to fit in so damn bad. I wish I could tell you my path to growing into my true self has been filled with sunshine and rainbows, but that's not what you'll find here. Change doesn't often happen by getting everything we want. It happens by getting what we need in order to learn the lessons our Soul intended for us. It also doesn't happen by hearing only what we want to hear. It happens by hearing what we need to hear even if it's brutally uncomfortable.
So the one thing I can always guarantee that you'll find here is the truth regardless of how inconvenient or uncomfortable it may be. Because ultimately in the end, the truth is what sets us completely and unapologetically free.
And at this time in history, the one thing we are all craving for is the Freedom to be our truest self.
Since that day in the classroom, life began to teach me. It taught me about who I was by first teaching me about who I wasn't.
It taught me that I held a belief that there was something wrong with me. I believed this for two reasons.
First, I've always felt different. Second, no matter what I did, my life continued to look the opposite of what I thought it was supposed to look like. When I hear myself say this today, I laugh mostly because I now know that believing in the notion that life has to "look" a certain way will always lead us down an unfulfilling road.
But back then, the feeling of being both different and a failure was very real.
I was also learning that I believed life was supposed to appear a certain way based on cultural standards not "Denise Standards". The job, the money, the relationship status, the body image etc. You know, pretty much everything we strive for to fit in, to feel secure, to feel like we are enough. It never ends. It's exhausting to believe that if we don't meet these expectations on the outside then we can't possibly be enough on the inside. But, yet, we believe it anyway.
This was where I was at and the harder I tried to fit all the pieces of my life together, the more life continued to challenge me. The more life challenged me, the more I was forced to learn about who I really was. Rather than putting my life together on the outside, life was teaching me how to return to myself on the inside.
It taught me about reclaiming all the parts of myself that I had shamed or had forgotten about. (Still in progress)
It taught me about self-love and not the manicure/pedicure kind of self-love. (More to come on that)
It taught me about self-acceptance even when and especially when nothing looked or felt right.
It taught me about self-trust over and over and over again. - I mean how many times does one need to betray themselves to learn a lesson. (More to come on that too)
It taught me to honor and value my voice.
It taught me about Radical Self forgiveness.
It taught me about Radical Self-responsibility.
It taught me about Radical Self-honesty.
It taught me about the power of honoring, feeling and expressing every single one of my emotions.
It taught me about the lies I had bought into and how to transform them into truth.
It taught me that as long as I am committed to myself, failure can never be an option.
It taught me how to let go of the Ego's desires and how to connect to my Soul‘s desires.
It taught me how to remember who I really was.
Life wasn't messing around.
Let me be clear.
This is not about self-improvement.
This is not about fixing anything about who we are.
This is not about being a more positive and loving person.
This is about remembering the whole self from the inside out.
And in order to remember, we have to unlearn, undo, and untangle every lie we‘ve ever bought into about ourselves. It's a continuous journey of returning.
It takes commitment,
It takes willingness.
It takes courage.
It takes a longing to know the truth about who you are above anything else. And when you commit to this path, it's impossible to find a road map outside of yourself because only you can discover the path towards your own truth.
It's the only path that can truly set you free.