How to Stay True to You

Anything that numbs us is really treating the pain of misalignment and the pain of silencing our own expression. It can be sex, drugs, alcohol, whatever your drug or numbing agent of choice. I even went so far as to quit coffee, sugar, alcohol and marijuana because I realized I never want to be in a relationship with anything or anyone where I don’t get to participate in the agreements of that relationship. Even seemingly harmless things can become numbing agents to some degree, and I couldn’t hear the truth of my body over all the noise. 

The body doesn’t lie. There’s a truth there that’s real and hard to ignore. But we so often gaslight ourselves, or let other people gaslight us and our experiences, and ignore those telltale signs. I used to have moments where I’d tell someone, “Hey, the way you spoke to me wasn’t okay,” and the response would be, “Well, you’re just too sensitive.” For a while I thought that was true. Maybe I am too sensitive. How many times have you expressed something and then been told you were too sensitive, or too much, or not enough? We’re led to believe there’s something wrong with us, as opposed to there being something wrong with the circumstances. 

When you begin to step into your fire and express yourself, you start choosing yourself. And when you choose yourself, there will be a moment where you have to choose you over someone else, over belonging to a connection. It’s a wild, paradoxical experience. Biologically, you feel immense pain because you’ve lost a connection, or you feel the relationship is broken, or a group of people won’t like what you have to say. That’s painful. The relationship ends, whether it’s romantic, platonic, or professional. But here’s the thing: In the midst of that pain, you feel a glimmer of hope. A glimmer you probably haven’t felt since you were a kid, except maybe in fleeting moments. All of a sudden, you realize there’s this light inside of you, and now it’s growing. It’s wild and paradoxical, in that you’re losing a connection you thought you needed for this light, but this is the beginning of recognizing you are the one you need, you are the one who cultivates your own worth. 

You’re the one who possesses all the light you need to shine. You’ve been socialized to seek that light in other people, or in outside experiences. We’ve all been raised to believe that we need other people to love us to prove that we’re loveable. If they love you, then you love you, right? No! It doesn’t matter whether they love you, or even if they like you. What matters is that you love you, that you belong to you, that you belong with you. 

How often do we sell ourselves out to appease other people? We choose what school we go to, what sport we want to play, what jobs we apply to, what hobbies we try out, what partners we date, and with every one of these choices we’re taking into account what everyone else thinks of the decision. We base most of our choices on whatever we learned from our family, or our society or culture. We inherit their patterns and ideas, not realizing we get to choose or make a different decision. 

Here’s another paradox: in recognizing that you get to choose, the decision may not get easier but harder, because you might have to go against everything you’ve ever known to make the decision that’s best for you. 

I get so many questions about What To Do: How do I get over a breakup? How do I stop attracting unavailable people? How do I speak my truth at the cost of belonging? How do I tell my partner I miss them? How do I tell my parents they’re being difficult? How do I set a boundary? 

All of these moments are invitations. Each one is a doorway for you to walk out of the prison you’re trapped in and into your life, into who you truly are. But it’s not always easy. It can be some of the hardest work in the world, to walk out that door with one foot in front of the other. 

I’m not saying you need to drop everything and walk out on your life as it is. But how you do one thing is how you do everything. If you’ve turned down your volume in your romantic relationship, then you’ve most likely turned down your volume in all relationships. Maybe there’s a few people who truly see who you are. Maybe your partner can say, “I see all your fire.” So often we run from good people, good love, and unconditional love because we’re afraid of people seeing that fire. We think it’s too much, or it’s unattractive, and wrongly believe we need to abandon ourselves to make ourselves likable, or loveable, or attractive, or enough. 

The wake up call could come in one grand moment, or in a series of small moments that build up over time. It could be a quote you read, or sipping your morning cup of coffee, or after ingesting a psychedelic, or in the middle of a nervous breakdown, and suddenly you go, “Whoa, I haven’t actually been who I actually am or want to be, I’m only 30% of who I really am.” Whenever it happens, or whatever message comes through, it’s all an invitation. 

This is the work of staying true to yourself. And all of us are in this together. If you knew how many questions come pouring into my inbox with people asking how to become their true selves, you would never feel alone. Yet we walk around censoring ourselves, or living a kind of half life, or residing in echo chambers and feeling like we’re the only ones searching for our true selves. But you’re not alone. You’re never alone here, in this work of becoming your true self.