Of course you have passions and talents. Of course you have some purpose in the world. Your emotions are guiding you towards it. Each time you discover something that you like or something that you hate, you discover yourself. Everyone can do this. If you didn't like some things more than others, you'd be living in a sewer eating grass. More often than not, it's those things you think are too weird, too personal, or too imperfect that you must share. The world does not await your perfection. It awaits your courage and your honesty. Let yourself be seen.
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The most dangerous way we sabotage ourselves is by waiting for the perfect moment to begin. Nothing works perfectly the first time, or the first fifty times. Everything has a learning curve. The beginning is just that - a beginning. Surrender your desire to do it flawlessly on the first try. It's not possible. Learn to learn. Learn to fail. Learn to learn from failing. And begin today. Begin now. Stop waiting.
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In my isolation, I dreamt of power. My daydreams and fantasies were all about how I could win, how I could be number one, how I could have my cake and eat it too. When those dreams were fulfilled, I felt nothing. The love-sized hole within me grew larger and larger as I died by my own hand, by my own mind. During my transformation, I found what I needed to fill the hole. I found peace, joy, and connection. To power, I waved goodbye. I thought that being a loving, spiritual being meant sacrificing that triumph-hungry drive within. For much too long, I ignored these urges, believing them to be the opposite of love while I cycled in and out of love awareness. The day that my love mindset became a permanent state of mind was the day I realized that love is not the opposite of power. Love is power. Love is the strongest power there is.
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Of course, being open and vulnerable will lead us to, sometimes, experience pain. But what is pain? It is simply a feeling. It is not forever. If you get pain from some person or thing too many times, you can always walk away. To risk a lifetime without pleasure simply to avoid pain is ludicrous.
Our culture has bred consumers and addicts. We eat too much, buy too much, and want too much. We set ourselves on the fruitless mission of filling the gaping hole within us with material things. Blindly, we consume more and more, believing we are hungry for more food, status, or money, yet really we are hungry for connection.
You cannot become good enough for your own approval just like you can't become good enough to have hair. You cannot earn your own self-acceptance just like you can't earn your own ears. You can't become what you are. Stop looking out there. Look in the mirror. You're already everything you've ever wanted to be.
When you begin to walk your own journey, to have your own unique conversation, you will naturally stop feeling envious of others. Not because you'll realize your desires are different from theirs, but because they are so similar. You'll discover the difference between doing well and pretending to do well, between being happy and pretending to be happy, between healthy relationships and staged ones. You'll see just how many obstacles lie on any path. You'll realize that it takes the same amount of effort to work on building up the quality of the conversations in your life as it does to broadcast to the public, constantly, that those conversations are already perfect. You can either build up the mask or build up the authentic self. And you, brave and beautiful you, will make the right choice eventually. Be it now or on your deathbed. We all realize soon enough.
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Authenticity is not the search for uniqueness. An oak tree does not try to become an oak tree. A cactus does not try to become a cactus. All living things simply reach for nourishment - they reach for sun, reach for water, reach their roots deeper into the ground. By being open to receiving what they need, they become unique effortlessly. So let yourself fall open. Forget about crafting yourself a unique personality. Just allow. Allow in love. Allow pain. Allow desire. Allow learning. Allow healing. Allow frustration. Allow uncertainty. Allow yourself to experience what you must experience and learn what you need to learn, so that your uniqueness can emerge organically.
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Your skin is your skin. Your legs are your legs. Your hair is your hair. Your smile is your smile. Your past is your past. You can waste your life hating these things, but you may as well learn to accept them. Both routes are difficult and full of pain, but with acceptance, you will be happy one day, while with hatred, you never will.
No matter how much you cry, the tears will dry. No matter how many nightmares, flashbacks, visions, or terrors you endure, they will pass. To weather these in order to find your true self and the happiness you deserve, that is not a risk. To waste the time you have in this body, never showing your soul to yourself or anyone else, living in fearful misery - that is really the most dangerous thing you can do.
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There is no need to become unique. We already are unique. There is no need to become equal. We already are equal. The greatest tragedies of humankind have come from people trying to force sameness on the level we are different, and trying to become different on the level we are the same. Peace is a matter of recognizing what is already there, not creating something new.
It is almost as if we are all playing a big game of hide-and-go-seek. We all hide expecting to be found, but no one has been labelled the seeker. We stand behind the wall, at first excited, then worried, then bored, then anxious, then angry. We hide and hide. After a while, the game is not fun anymore. Where is my seeker? Where is the person who is supposed to come find me here in my protected shell and cut me open? Where is that one who will make me trust him, make me comfortable, make me feel whole? Some people rot on the spot, waiting for the seeker that never comes. The most important truth that I can relate to you, if you are hiding and waiting, is that the seeker is you and the world, behind so many walls, awaits.
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At the end of the day, we all crawl, exhausted, to some doorstep. Some crawl to the doorstep of their new home, the one they have sought for miles without giving up their goal, exhausted by their determination. And others crawl to the doorstep of their prison, the one they have sought to escape, but gave up, exhausted by their determination. And we all enter our new home with a sigh of relief and put our feet up. Some rejoice. Others grow bitter. And yet, we are tired just the same.
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To accept responsibility for your own feelings, your own triggers, and your own experience does not mean to stop communicating with others about how their words and actions affect you. You can own your emotions by not blaming others, and still give the people in your life gentle, loving feedback about how they can treat you in a way that helps your healing and happiness. Creating safe spaces is an interdependent process. It's not ever all about you and it's not ever all about the other person. It's about you coming together and working on the dynamics of your relationship together, taking responsibility for your own part and doing what you can to contribute to the well-being of the other.
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For so long, I was stuck in "either or" thinking. Either I had to change myself, or change the world. Either it was his fault or my fault. Either you had to stop acting that way or I had to stop reacting this way. Either there was something wrong with me or something wrong with them. I would fluctuate between both ends of this dynamic. I'd blame myself for some time and do everything I could to change. When that became tiresome, I'd blame the other, doing everything I could to make them change. When the resentment and frustration became too strong, I'd blame myself again. I've learned that it's never either or. It's always both. I've also learned that, because it's always both, there's no such thing as fault. Fault is only something we can ascribe when we see things superficially. When we look deeper, we see multi-layered, complex systems of causes and effects which affect and are affected by all individuals involved. Fault is a useless concept. Responsibility, however, is the most helpful concept of them all. It's not my fault. It's not his or yours or theirs either. But it is all our responsibility. When we come together like this, we don't have to see-saw back and forth, passing on guilt and blame. We can grow. We can evolve. We can build a better world.
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Human beings are not separate from nature. We are nature. The beauty of the sunset is your own beauty. The power of the ocean is your power. We are inseparable from the beauty of the mountains, rivers, and forests that surround us. The more that you can allow your natural self to come out - to honour your natural beauty, your natural creativity, your natural thirst for leadership and compassion - the happier and healthier you'll be.
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Self-love is not the process of ignoring things, paying attention to fewer flaws or forcing yourself to look away from the parts of you that you perceive as ugly or unwanted. Self-love is the process of expanding your awareness, of seeing those flaws and imperfections alongside the incredible potential of the universe flowing within you, alongside the eternal truth of life flowing within your veins in each second, alongside the flickers of creativity and opportunity present within each moment of your existence. Like this, the imperfections persist, but only as lovable quirks, like a bad doorknob on the front door of a cottage in paradise, like a few thorns on a beautiful rose, like a cloud in a sunset. Like this, what was once unwanted becomes essential, memorable, humbling.
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In today's world, it is tempting to follow suit and artificially numb the emotions you don't want while inducing the ones that you do want. The problem is that pushing pleasure into your veins will not get you out of quicksand, nor will blocking pain bring you relief. The solutions do not lie in the world of emotions, but rather in the world of thoughts.
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What if we all stopped fighting to belong and realized that we already do? What if we acknowledged, in each interaction with ourselves and with others, the eternal, beautiful interconnected energy that flows between us? What if we recognized our equality and celebrated our differences? Imagine how the world could be.
When you have any sort of intense emotional reaction, you have a choice: look for proof that you should feel it even deeper or look for the thought process that is triggering the emotion. One takes you on a downwards spiral, while the other upwards. One breeds toxic patterns, the other awareness. The choice is yours.
Being passive is not the same as being peaceful. If you aren't doing what you know, in your heart, you want to do, you are NOT going with the flow. You are going against the flow. Your reactions, emotions, desires, and talents are all part of the flow of life. Ignoring them is passive resistance. Let yourself go.
Trust that, when you are not holding yourself together so tightly, you will not fall apart. Trust that it is more important to fulfill your authentic desires than listen to your fears. Trust that your intuition is leading you somewhere. Trust that the flow of life contains you, is bigger than you, and will take care of you - if you let it.
You are not who you think you are. You are not your fears, your thoughts, or your body. You are not your insecurities, your career, or your memories. You're not what you're criticized for and you're not what you're praised for. You are a boundless wealth of potential. You are everything that's ever been. Don't sell yourself short. Every sunset, every mountain, every river, every passionate crowd, every concert, every drop of rain - that's you. So go find yourself. Go find your strength, find your beauty, find your purpose. Stop crafting your mask. Stop hiding. Stop lying to yourself and letting people lie to you. You're not lacking in anything except awareness. Everything you've ever wanted is already there, awaiting your attention, awaiting your time.
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No one needs to hit rock bottom to change. And yet so many people do, only because most of us are unskilled in communicating with ourselves. Stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, illness... these are all symptoms of a bigger problem. You're trying to tell yourself something. Loudly. Listen now or listen later. There is no ignoring the call.
Who will you love if not yourself? Other people? How can you love someone for anything but their raw, naked humanity? How can you say you love someone if it is not for their flaws and quirks, snorts and hurts, triggers and tears? Anything else is not love. It is idealization. And, as long as you do it to yourself, you will do it to everyone. You will not love anyone or anything until those eyes in the mirror soften up and embrace the beauty that is already within.
Who can see inside the deepest recesses of your imagination and manifest those wishes into your daily experience? Who can appreciate those subtle nuances of character you've acquired by overcoming your deepest fears? Who can truly respect those things that are no longer a part of you because of all your work to release them? Who can see the strength left behind in the wake of your unique struggles and obstacles? Who will see you for who you are, appreciating everything that is there, everything that is not, everything that can be, if you do not? Who else can?
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