August 10, 2021

Find your truth; follow it to freedom

As teenagers, most of us can’t wait to grow up and experience real freedom. It doesn’t take too long before we realize the grown-up version of freedom is not as awesome as our teenage dream. Fundamentally, grown-ups do not have to do anything they do not want to do; and yet, if you ask grown-ups if getting to do what they want to do is their experience in life, many will say “heck, no!” When I turned 40 (an official grown-up age), I had a ring made for myself and on it I had engraved “to thine own self be true.” At that time in my life, I acted as if others held the reins to my life. This line from Hamlet spoke to this longing within me to be free. Over the years, I’ve been learning how to know and live my truth. I learned one thing for sure; owning my truth was the key to my freedom.

I measure the strength of a spirit by how much truth it can take.” –Nietzsche

Denial is the opposite of owning and looks like this: If we do something and later tell ourselves we didn’t really want to do it, or that someone or something made us do it, we are denying our truth. It’s important to clarify that our truth is not necessarily the truth. In fact, many of the false truths we live by and want to deny are the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves. We may also deny a truth we feel embarrassed by, like a hidden bias or judgment or something we want and believe is selfish or bad. We may not know our hidden truth or motivations, and one way to get to know them is to look at the choices we are making and own what we do.

We can discover our unconscious or hidden-to-us truth by reverse engineering our patterns of behaviors. Let’s say you skipped the gym because your kid forgot their lunch box. You want to blame them, right? It’s true that their emergency was the reason you skipped your workout. And yet, did you stop to consider other possibilities and your own wants? You could have gone to the gym and let them figure out what to do. Maybe they’d ask a friend to share their lunch, or they’d skip a meal and learn an important lesson about gratitude and appreciation. Once you own your choice, you can begin to ask yourself questions like, “How did I create this experience?” What belief was I operating on?” “How do I want to respond in the future?” These questions help us unearth limiting beliefs and direct our attention toward looking for new choices in the future.

We live in a culture that values personal freedom, and yet so many of us are held hostage by beliefs that no longer serve us. This month, let’s look for areas of our lives where we feel locked down, inhibited, or controlled and own this truth and good news: We are the only one holding the keys to our freedom.

Leave a Reply

  1. These always seem to be perfectly timed reminders for me. Thank you for the thoughtfulness you put into each of these messages.