If you are craving more meaning and a deeper sense of connection in your life, you will be aided by learning how to find your inner truth. Your inner truth is the part of you that knows what you truly need. It is the part of you that holds the deepest expression of who you are and is unconcerned with your personal egoic needs. While we talk about “how to find your inner truth,” your truth is never truly lost. More so, it is disconnected. When we talk about how to find your inner truth, we are talking about how to look and move within yourself and reconnect with that core source of you. Here are five steps to get you started:
Notice how you feel: One of the most important indicators of your inner truth is how you feel. How you feel helps you know what is true for you, what you are drawn to, and what decisions to make. To do this you need to know the difference between different types of emotion. Many people live in connection with their reactive emotions. These emotions are predominantly the result of prior experiences. While they inform us, they do not necessarily help with clarifying our inner truth. However once we clear these emotions, we get access to a deeper level of feeling that can help us know when and how to act as well as what is right for us.
Notice your affinities: Our deeper feelings help us see where there is resonance and alignment. Resonance and alignment help us see our affinities –what is it we truly like, love, and want in our lives. This builds off the concept that like attracts like. Who we are is also what we seek. We learn and grow in both knowing and living our own inner truth by recognizing where we have affinities and taking action to strengthen those relationships.
Express yourself: Keeping our truth to ourselves blocks us from knowing it more and being able to refine it. Conversely learning to express ourselves in the myriad of ways that life allows helps us know and develop our inner truth. Sometimes, as a result of the expression, we come up against opposition. This opposition serves as a further refinement of our inner truth. It helps us get even more clear about what we are all about and how we want to bring that to the world.
Listen to your heart: Whether you are noticing your emotions, your affinities, or the feedback to your personal expression, your heart is your guide to how to find your inner truth. The way your heart opens, closes, and feels helps you understand, in the most intimate way possible, what is true for you. When in doubt, tune into your heart and – no matter how far you have strayed – it will lead you back to what is most true for you.
Risk getting it wrong: There is no way to go through this process and get it right every time. Living your inner truth requires the humility to get it wrong and to try again. It is through this process – and only with this process – that we can truly uncover our own inner truth and learn to live it through the world. So, fail beautifully! And then do it again and again, and before you know it wonderful things will emerge.
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Oh, what tangled webs we weave! If the purpose of personal growth is to see ourselves and others clearly, then lies definitely get in the way. When we lie, we get out of integrity with ourselves. We could almost say that we lose a piece of ourselves in the process of lying.
Some people like to convince themselves that small lies don’t really hurt anyone. But what is the real price of being dishonest? Distance. When we are dishonest with others it is like saying we don’t want to see a part of someone or we don’t want them to see a part of us. It is a judgment that the other person is not strong enough to deal with the reality of things — or that we aren’t, either.
I think it is safe to say we are all sick of hype and distortions of the truth that are in our face every single day. The bottom line is that, no matter what you do for a living, being truthful earns you big points with others. If you tell the truth, people can count on you — not to be sold to — but to help them make the choices they need to make to get what they want.
Living your personal truth is the key to success in your personal development. Knowing what you want is only part of the process of living the life that you dream of. True life transformation begins when you can start to translate what you want into radical honesty in each moment – honesty with yourself and with everyone in your life. In order to harness this radical honesty, we must connect with our deeper self and uncover our personal truth.
When we live an “unconnected life” (that is, unconnected to our deeper self, our core, our personal truth), what we understand to be “our truth” is nothing more than our ego’s petulant desires. When we live a connected life, our deep truth guides us to live an aligned life by providing us with signs and signals along the way. Our job is just to listen to these signals and act accordingly. When we do, our life becomes infinitely more fulfilled.
Our emotional state is one of the best cues that we have about whether or not we are living our personal truth. However, our emotions only reflect a path for our true selves if they are tied to the present moment, independent of any other baggage we might be carrying. When we are aware of the feeling of liking something, we learn it is in alignment with our deeper truth. When we are aware of our feelings of discomfort, we learn that something is off, that we are somehow not in alignment with our deeper truth.
The most important part of connecting with your personal truth is listening – listening to yourself and then adjusting what you are doing to bring yourself into a place of alignment with your truth.
The challenge to trying to live your personal truth occurs when speaking your truth brings loss or pain. Our fearful ego interprets this loss or pain as punishment for a bad or unhealthy choice we have made, and pushes us to revert the change or avoid future ones. The truth is that pain and loss are a natural part of change.
At times, the transformation that comes when you start to live your personal truth includes letting go of the old to make room for things you desire in the here and now. For example, when you speak your needs in a relationship, you risk not having them met. When you are honest with yourself about your work not being satisfying, you may realize that it’s time to look for new work. Your ego responds to the immediate pain of this sort of situation without taking into account the freedom and growth that come next. If you are able to challenge your ego’s fearful, knee-jerk response to transformation, you will be able to create real change for yourself.
Your truth can change everything around you. Learn how to speak and share your heart with the world, even when it is challenging, and tap into the profound strength that comes from this practice. If you need help learning your truth or practicing it, I can help you. My Personal Breakthrough Intensive is a great way to clear a path to living your truth. Click here to learn more.
Connecting with your core is the key to your empowerment through choice. “Make a decision,” is a crippling command for many. When your mind is presenting dozens of different scenarios, how can you know which is the right way to move forward? Learning to connect with your core allows you to tune out the white noise of ego, doubt, and distraction, freeing you to clearly assess your options and make an empowered, conscious choice in any scenario.
When you are more connected to your core, your path forward seems clearer, you feel happier and more at peace, and you are able to have a more positive impact. Think about it this way; would you rather make your decision from a place where you are doing what you think you should do, where you are angry or fearful, or where you are in contact with the highest truest part of yourself? Yep, me too. Below, I have outlined 6 ways to connect with your core.
Most of the time we walk around in the superficial part of our selves – the mask. In fact, many people don’t even know that is where they are living from. You can challenge you mask by asking if what you are thinking or feeling is actually true or if it might be able to be viewed from a different perspective. The work of Byron Katie does a wonderful job of challenging the mask and reconnecting people with a deeper part of themselves.
We might want to pretend that this part of us is not even there at times. The whole reason it is the lower self is that it was shunned and shut down—deemed socially unacceptable—but it needs to have its time as well. When we learn to connect with and safely express our lower self, we gain a ton of energy and are much less likely to leak out our negativity in unconscious ways.
It is a very simple fact that if you do more things you love you feel happier, more fulfilled, and more at peace. The trick is to know if you REALLY love what you are doing or if you have just adopted it because it is socially acceptable. So, pay attention. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about this in his book Flow. This book states that when we are doing things we truly love we experience things like time “flying” because we are so engrossed in what we are doing.
From a beautiful painting to a sublime piece of music, we connect with our core when we are inspired. This effortless way of returning to our core can be used frequently through our days and weeks to nurture this connection.
When we are in integrity with ourselves, we are more connected to the core of who we are. One of the things that I teach in my programs is that there are no methods or rules that guarantee a person fulfillment and success because each one of us needs to create a life and or business that is in alignment with who we are at a deep level and our values help us do this.
The most challenging and most profoundly life-changing strategy for connecting with your core is simply returning to love when you have left it behind. This requires that you are experienced enough with feeling deep love and that you are aware enough to switch gears at will. This is also a central teaching in my work. I believe that as people learn to do this their lives becomes infinitely better.
The most important part of this is remembering to pay attention to where you are coming from so that you can apply these tools and reconnect with your core self. You can also download this pretty infographic and place it somewhere you will see it everyday, to help remind you of your focus.
Marie Kondō, the reigning queen of de-cluttering, says, “The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” The same can be said when we talk about getting in touch with the Core and our Personal Truth. Holding onto things you don’t need weighs down the body, the mind, and the spirit, creating hurdles between you and your goals. If we do not clean things out, whether they are our houses, our bodies, or our businesses, things start to fall apart. So, how can we know if it is time to clean house? Listen!
Listen to your emotions. Our emotions are keys to helping us know what needs to go. Sometimes, things we don’t need fall off in a natural, easy way, like the falling of a leaf. Other times, what we do not let go of becomes like a bad smell in the refrigerator – difficult to find and growing more and more unpleasant each day. The ability to stay tuned into your emotions is a powerful tool that can be used to keep all aspect of our lives clean. Becoming familiar with your emotions allows you to recognize what is an ego-driven response and what is a true, deeper sign from your body, and your core, to you. The following are some examples of emotions we might feel and what they might be telling us about the clutter in our lives.
Are you feeling frustrated when you come to work, does the idea of picking up the phone and talking to that “friend” make you grumble like an old mountain man with a hound dog and a shotgun? When things are healthy they are also happy. The key is to figure out whether you need to let go completely or just make some kind of change inside yourself so that you feel more in alignment with what you are doing.
Do you find yourself spacing out while reading that book or unable to complete an essential task? Perhaps you need to pay attention to what you are not doing. What I mean is that sometimes we have a difficult time focusing on something we know we need to do or, under other conditions, might even want to do because we are not attending to other parts of our lives. Have you had fun or spent alone time recently? Doing something you have not been fitting in might balance you out and increase your focus.
Ok, so, sleepy is really just bored –most of the time. It is time to freshen things up! What is the new way that you can engage whatever is boring you to tears? It could be an aspect of your work, it could be a new program that you started. Find out if there is a fresh way of connecting to what you are doing or let it go.
Are your cupboards a mess, do you have too much to do, are you over stimulated by your life? Feeling overwhelmed is the experience of “too much” or even chaos. You can even have too much of really good stuff. So what can you weed out of your life so that you feel less overwhelmed and more at peace on a daily basis?
Learning to listen to your emotions is a tool that you will be able to apply to every aspect of your personal and professional development. Read your emotions as signs of things it’s time to cut on your journey to your core, and you’ll travel a much smoother path. No one knows you better than yourself, so start tuning into the things you are telling yourself.
One of the things that I love about the Greek gods is that they are all incredibly flawed. Zeus was always jealous and (hypocritically) always a cheater. Hera was vengeful. Artemis was impulsive. Poseidon was easily pissed off. Athena lacked compassion. The gods fell far from perfection, but they were worshipped nonetheless. Their power existed because they unapologetically claimed the truth of who they were – flaws, shadowy parts, and all.
When the shadowy parts of who you are — those flawed parts that you try to pretend don’t exist — come flaring up, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to disown them or project them onto someone else. We all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like, that never seem to change at all, and that we can’t imagine learning to love. For example, I can’t spell and I am often late. These are not my favorite traits about myself, but they have proven to be a part of me that I just can’t seem to shake. Years of having them as my steadfast companion have tested me — Do I direct hate or love (or at least acceptance) at this part of myself?
When we are confronted with parts of ourselves that we just do not like, it is helpful to remember that we are multi-faceted people and that our strengths may actually need our weaknesses to be what they are. Who ever came up with the idea we were supposed to be without flaws anyway? Everyone has them (even the gods) and somehow they are still viewed as something that needs to be fixed.
What would happen in your life if you decided it is ok to have your flaws, weaknesses, and shortcomings? Loving and accepting where you are when you start Personal Development work is usually the best way to move forward. After all, today’s starting point was a desired destination at one point in time, whether or not we were conscious of it. And, where you are headed will one day be a place you are eager to leave behind. Life is flux, and we’ve got to learn to ride it.
The best change we achieve comes from a loving unfolding of who we are in the world and a deep appreciation for the truth of who we are, every last bit of it. Those anthropomorphic gods (yes — made in the design of humans) achieved greatness through their strengths and their flaws (and often times their greatest accomplishments were a direct result of their biggest mistakes). Love your light and your shadows. Claim all of yourself. Be your own god or goddess.
The mask is the outer expression of who you are. It is also called the persona. Your mask makes up much of what you might think about when you think about “you.” How you choose to cut your hair, what you wear, and how you connect socially are all a part of the mask or persona that you choose to put out to the world. Sometimes the mask gets a bad reputation. New age rhetoric and self help books tell us to be authentic and to be our true selves. Some spiritual traditions emphasize dropping the illusion of the self for a deeper connection with the spirit. Let’s also consider the benefits of the mask.
The mask is a useful and important part of who we are. At its best, the mask is an outward expression of who we feel ourselves to be on the inside. It can be the creative material of our deeper expression. When our mask is in alignment with our deeper nature, it feels authentic and is fun to play with.
On the other hand, when we overly identify with our mask, and think that it IS who we truly are, we live a life of subtle or not-so-subtle anxiety. We suffer from feelings of emptiness and feel a profound loss of meaning. Our defenses are grounded in our mask. When we live in these defenses, we can find ourselves caught in the drama of life, fighting often, or feeling the victim.
Our deeper nature exists as the part of the self that is differentiated from the oneness of everything, but fundamentally expresses our essence. This is often called the true self or the core self. This is distinctly different than the no self that is discussed in Buddhism. The no self is when we are able to completely step outside of our personal identity. In this space we are able to connect with the infinite. There is a lot to learn from this experience of the no self. I find it is the true self that helps most people live fully and create a life of meaning.
As I mentioned, we can live our lives believing our mask is our true self. Often times, this illusion only gets dismantled when we have significant crisis that pushes us to question how we have come to see ourselves. As our mask is challenged, we go searching for something else and this search can lead us in the direction of our deeper nature.
We do not need to wait for crisis to begin our journey. Some of us feel a call to look for something deeper and more significant. Some of us are fortunate to have maintained a strong connection with our deeper nature. Others of us might experience a generalized sense that there is more to our life than what we have previously lived. But regardless of how we start, the way that we get there is by challenging the hold of the mask, dismantling the beliefs and emotions that hold us to experiencing the world through this limited view, and learning how to express our deeper nature through the filter of our mask.
In my LifeWork Community program I teach a number of ways that we can more productively work with our true self and bring its expression through our mask and into the world. The following are some of the areas that I address in my program and questions that you can use to support yourself in moving towards living your true self.
People sometimes believe that you do personal development work if you are broken, but that is not really the case. Yes, it is true that hurt people work on themselves to feel better. However, it is also true that the best place to start your work from is a place of total acceptance. When we do our personal development work from a place of more and more appreciation, we gain so much more for our efforts.
What is one thing that you get on your case about that you can start to accept about yourself?
Personal truth can sound like a lofty concept and like it is detached from everyday life, but this does not need to be the case. Our personal truth can be a felt and lived experience. In fact, it is. When we live our personal truth we feel happier, more loving, and more energized. When we step out of integrity we feel less happy, closed, and like we have lower energy.
When do you feel that you are connected to your personal truth? What does it feel like to you?
Forgiveness is a pathway to healing. Healing is a state of harmony and peace. When we hold onto grievances from the past the pain of these events is carried in us and is reflected in the world around us. We continually activate the pains so that they can be healed. The idea is not for us to suffer through life but to become aware that the pain is there so that it can be transformed.
What are you carrying from your past that needs to be let go of? What needs to happen for you to be ready to let it go?
Our most highly attuned state is a creative state. Creativity and its expression are the result of being able to be in the present moment, spontaneous, and positively focused. Creativity is a form of healing and an aspiration of conscious growth. We cannot create without the willingness to see more than what has previously been.
How can you nurture creativity in your life?
People crave a sense of meaning and purpose. Without it, we often feel lost at sea. The trials and tribulations of life are hard to weather because we face them with no sense of what to do with them. We may even end up feeling victimized by life and see ourselves transform into a perpetrator. When we have a sense of meaning we create a pathway through the challenges of life and create a sense of inner peace.
What is most important to you? Why is it most important?
When it comes to the “true self,” one fixed point for contemplation is the relationship between your ego and your essence. The terms “true self,” “ego,” and “essence” are broad and have many associations attached to them. Let’s take a look at how you can make your ego work for you as a tool to help you fully unearth your true self.
We need to have a working connection with our true self to feel a sense of success and fulfillment. Put another way, it’s only through our connection with our true self that we’re able to feel satisfied by the positive outcomes of our efforts.
Our ego is both an obstacle and an ally. On one hand, if our ego ran amok and ruled every decision we made, it would be impossible to experience our true self. On the other hand, our ability to fully access and express our true self emerges with the help of our ego.
Personal development work requires that you become aware of your ego and your true self. Further, this work teaches you how to use the many aspects of who you are in a productive way.
There are several common problems that people encounter along their path of personal development. The main problem is that once we realize that we’ve previously been totally consumed by our eg, we forget that we’re actually part of something much greater than ourselves.
As Eva Perakkos says:
“Even those of you who have, for years, formed a concept of the real self, of the creative substance that enlivens every human being, forget in ninety-five percent of your daily lives that this creative being lives and moves in you and you live and move in it. You forget its existence. You do not reach for its wisdom. You stake all your reliance on your limited outer ego self. You neglect to open yourself for the deeper self’s truth and feelings. You go blithely ahead as though there really were nothing else but your conscious mind, your ego self with its immediately accessible thinking processes and will force.”
If she’s right and we do indeed forget to draw on the infinite richness always ever-present outside ourselves, what can we do to change this? How can we live from our true self more fully? How can we connect to our true self so that we can create richer and fuller lives?
I propose that we look at the ego as if it were a tool. Think of it this way: if I can use a hammer, then it can serve me. If I think I’m a hammer, then I will be used by something else to serve some other end (and most likely hit up against something quite hard in the process.) The only way that we can stay conscious of our ego is to employ it.
You can’t get rid of your ego, and you can’t ignore it either. And if you stop using it to help draw out your true self, you’re likely to fall under its illusion. So, how can you make your ego work for you? Well. You can draw on the will of your ego to focus yourself on removing obstacles to your true self. You can also work on strengthening the lived experience of your true self so that it becomes less and less of a concept and more and more of an indelible part of your everyday experience.
The intellectual acceptance of the real self as a philosophical precept will not alleviate [the problems] because it cannot give a sense of reality and true experience of the real self. This requires more. It requires an actualization of the faculties of the real self.
What this means is that you’ve got to train your ego to sense and support the expression of your true self. The truth is that you really can feel into your true self. To do this, you need to use your ego to plug into the wants, needs and full expression of your deeper self and remove the obstacles to it along the way. All the while, keep your eye on your ego so that you do not fall under its spell.
Awareness, of all kinds, is not the end of the road. Rather, it’s part of a cycle. Once we have an awareness we need to learn how to apply it, live it, work with it.
People ask me all the time what true happiness looks and feels like. My answer is always self-acceptance. The truth is that our happiness requires our acceptance – especially of parts of ourselves we like the least.
If you don’t have much context for self-acceptance, then you might not know what it’s all about. Let me put it into some concrete terms.
When you accept yourself, you’re okay with who you are. You’re also okay with you are not. You’re always on your side – no matter what happens in your life.
Self-acceptance definitely takes some practice. We all can get carried away with thoughts that are self-shaming, self-judging or self-criticizing. When you catch yourself thinking these kinds of thoughts, I suggest that you douse yourself with self-acceptance because it really is the best antidote to feeling cut down or simply not good enough.
You can get a sense of how self-accepting you are by asking yourself the following questions:
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Self-acceptance is a continual pursuit that’s just as much about your relationship to yourself as it is about your relationship to others.
If you want to work on building your ability to accept yourself, you can start with these exercises that come from my book Real Answers.
Ask Powerful Questions:
Speak Your Truth:
Talk to Someone Who Was There:
Acceptance of your personal experience radically changes the way you approach almost every aspect of your life and ultimately allows you to engage the world in a more positive, productive way.
Want a step-by-step guide to find and live your life purpose? My Morning Mindset Life Purpose is an inspirational daily video series that delivers tips, insights and exercises straight to your inbox for three weeks. Morning Mindset will help you step-in your purpose and live your life to its fullest. Learn more here!