So often we allow the tides of our busy lives to take us where they will in a whirling current that tows us past the grand truths. Along my journey down the rabbit hole of life, I’ve noticed that there are three not so secret secrets that many of us frequently choose to ignore, moi included.
They are powerful and can create alchemy of epic change, yet even though these three secrets are worthy of the Covenant of the Arc, we oftentimes overlook their immense importance in place of perpetual outward striving.
Secret #1: To thine own self be true.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!
Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82
You’ve heard it a hundred times in a hundred ways. But can you say, right here, right now, that you are living life true to yourself? Do you know your real self or is she/he buried?
We do a lot of things that don’t sit well with our innermost selves. We take careers we dislike for a big income. We act against our core values for some kind of pay-off. We sleep with people we aren’t attracted to for security or a good lifestyle. We pretend to be straight when we’re gay. We say yes when we mean no. We place ourselves in prisons we fabricate and feel there is no escape.
I’ve eliminated a lot of the inauthentic in my life and I am crystal clear about what makes my heart burst, where I am happiest, and what I find gratifying. I know the things I yearn to study, how I wish to contribute, and oh, the places I will go. My conundrum is that I’ve yet to break through those self-constructed prison bars (body and mind) to breathing it and living it, each and every day.
Illness is the grand eye-opener, if you are willing to hear your own truth. I met a woman when I first moved to Calgary who had a successful, high paying career in the oil and gas sector. She became increasing ill with Crohn’s disease, which lead her to the life she truly craved. She didn’t actually care for people that much and loved nature. She and her dog moved out to the mountains where she contentedly spends her time camping alone in the backwoods. She didn’t listen to the disapproving opinion of others. She opted for being true to her own solitudinarian nature.
Sometimes we have a nagging knot in the pit of our stomach, other times we are downright despondent.
A couple I know retired young. They are in great health, they have set up their lives with “Freedom Fifty” success, they travel a lot, and have a beautiful family. They look like the picture of happiness. However, I learned that the wife is desperately unhappy, no longer loves her husband and wants to leave, but feels she cannot because of the rigid paradigm of their lives and the creature comforts she enjoys. I am curious to see if she finds the courage to create a new life on her own. If not, life may bring her an unexpected change.
On the flipside, I know another couple who are open and honest with each other about their feelings. They’ve been married many years and both were getting bored with the other. They decided to swing. They haven’t gone berserk with the whole thing; they have an extremely time consuming business so they haven’t turned it into a sex-crazed lifestyle. When the mood strikes either of the two, they discuss it and if it’s a mutual agreement, they find suitable playmates. It has spiced up their marriage and they are still affectionate after decades of being together. They’ve found a way to be true to themselves that works and it’s cool to watch how supportive and symbiotic their relationship is.
It takes an honest and sometimes brutal inventory to determine if you’re being true to yourself. We’re not here to fulfill the desires, belief systems (B.S.), or lifestyles of others. The number one sentiment caregivers report that people express on their deathbed is (paraphrased), I wish I’d done what I really loved instead of what I thought I should have. The hard thing to remember is that we’re not in dress rehearsal.
Secret #2: The energy we bring to life matters. A lot.
“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.”
—Homer, The Iliad
Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor speaks of the magnitude of this in her talks about her experience after a stroke that affected the left hemisphere of her brain (her book is A Stroke of Insight). Even though she couldn’t articulate directly after her stroke, she became acutely aware of the energy each caregiver brought into her hospital room. Her perception of people’s motivation was heightened and now she teaches professionals about the crucial importance of their bedside manner.
We’ve all experienced those peak moments when we feel like the brightest star in the sky. It could be at an event where people are drawn to us like bears to honey, or at work where everyone needs to know what we’re up to. Our energy is luminous and we’re in “the zone.” We’ve also known moments when people react to us as though we have a serious case of bum stink.
I remember a sales trip I attended in Florida. I didn’t get along with my moody manager and I was miserable. My cohort, Cindy, was a friend of the boss, so she could work around her rudeness. One afternoon we took a boat trip to a gorgeous island beach and partied with sales reps from across North America. Even though Cindy didn’t do a thing to “pretty” herself, the men swarmed her. She was authentic and happy. I couldn’t have paid any of them to talk to me and I didn’t realize until much later that even though I hadn’t said anything negative, my energy exuded pessimism. We can either bring light and joy to others or we can drag their ass down the drain.
The Institute of Heartmath is dedicated to the research of the heart’s emotional intelligence and has scientifically proven the distance our heart’s frequencies travel and how strongly we affect others with either our erratic heart patterns (i.e. anger, agitation, fear) or how we bring those near us into happy coherence with our harmonious heart patterns (i.e. compassion, contentment, love, gratitude).
I will give myself credit for always–no matter what any maniacal manager has harassed me about–putting TLC above profit with my many clients over the years. That is a value I will not compromise. The irony is that loyalty rises exponentially when people know you sincerely care about them.
It is in our best interest and for the good of all if we make a genuine effort to be responsible for the energy we bring to life. If we can make kindness, compassion, and love a priority in our encounters with others–no matter who they are–it’s bound to boomerang in a good way.
Secret #3: Love and accept yourself 100% (I’ve discovered it’s not optional).
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh
Trite? Hardly. Whether you are the president or a pizza deliveryman, how you feel about yourself emits like an unseen beacon. What are you telling the world about your level of worth?
As I wrote about in The Taming of the Twerp, how we feel about ourselves internally expresses itself externally. We think we can afford the luxury of beating ourselves up, but there is a high price to pay for it. (And I speak from extensive experience.) We seem to have the notion that if we self-flagellate, we will incite new found motivation and inspiration. I’ve learned it has quite the opposite effect: profound procrastination. Self-love is the greatest muse.
Louise L. Hay, the pioneer of positive affirmations, has coached thousands and impacted millions through her books and work. She said that when she first began counseling people, she would tackle one problem at a time. She soon realized that there was only one fundamental issue that needed to be worked on: a commitment to cultivate self-love/acceptance/forgiveness. Once a client began the journey to true self-love, all else fell into place. (12 Ways You Can Love Yourself)
For the sake of unadulterated greed and manipulation, our culture is designed to not only foster discontentment of self, but to whip us into a frenzy of it. We must see the relentless bombardment of “you are not good enough” with its messages of youthfulness, flawless beauty, skinniness, perfection, and fame for what it is–impossible and erroneously defying the laws of nature.
We don’t have to prove ourselves worthy of our own love. We all have a unique journey and thumbprint on the canvas of the Universe that we can admire right now, not when we achieve a goal or look a certain way.
I think the missing piece of The Secret and law of attraction is self-love. I believe that divinity loves us beyond measure, in all of our wounded-ness and beautiful imperfection. If you’re prone to prayer, I’ve recently recited this simple one-liner: Please let me see myself the way you see me.
What do we have to gain from applying these 3 supercalifragilistic secrets?
DON’T MISS A POST! SUBSCRIBE (free) HERE.
Enjoy this post? Get your spicy winter read, The Cuban Chronicles, here!