Finding Yourself: Path to Self-Discovery

Revealing Your True Self: A Journey of Self-Discovery

In this blog, we explore how when we lose touch with our inner selves, we drift away from our true essence, often due to emotional neglect or substances like drugs. But even in this state, there’s hope. By embracing mindful practices and emotional intelligence, we can reignite our inner voice and set ourselves back on the path of self-discovery self-discovery.

Loosing connection to your inner self

What happens after thinking you don’t matter and that you’re invisible, is that you lose connection to your inner voice. Your sense of you. If the people in the environment around us are not listening, we learn not to listen to ourselves. Early on, we stop listening to our intuition, our gut, our soul. The inner voice that is there to guide us on our journey. I shut down that inner voice so many times because I thought it was silly, all the way back in my childhood and teen years. Then, later on, with drugs and alcohol, I really put out the inner flame. 

Drugs shut the door to intuition and understanding

With drugs, you negate yourself – your true self, as they say. I didn’t listen to myself or my soul and lost connection to that thing inside that’s designed to let me know what is right and what is wrong, what’s good for my body and good for my soul.

Drugs provided a way for me to let go of needing to feel like I mattered because when you’re high, nothing matters, and it’s a huge relief. You don’t need anyone or anybody. And for most people, including me, drugs become your best friend.

Of course, that works in the beginning. But down the line, drugs make you feel so much worse about yourself. All the nagging low-esteem and low-grade anxiety slowly turn into pure self-hatred and desperation. Then, you really have to claw yourself out of it. It’s a tricky spiral, and many don’t find a way out.

Tools I used to rediscover who I truly am

Throughout the years, I’ve had to rediscover the inner voice.

It’s taken me a long time. Yoga and the 12 steps of AA helped at first, and then later, as the years went on, it was meditation that gave me a palpable sense of who I was each day. Meditation helped me to rediscover me: my true self, my soul self.

It helped me rediscover the inner joy and unconditional love that is inside all of us. I also rediscovered self-love. It was through this connection with myself that I started feeling really listened to. I even started feeling that I no longer had to depend on the outside world for validation. I now validate myself.

It’s difficult to find that inner listener when there is too much going on in our environment and with no caretakers or people around to guide us emotionally. This is why AA works so well. We get to share, and a whole room full of people who have experienced the exact same things as you are hearing you and listening. You feel validated. 

For most who come into the program, it’s the first time they have ever had that experience.

I believed that what I had to say didn't matter

Being listened to and feeling heard and validated are important needs that must be met, to some degree, for healthy processing of emotions and sustained emotional balance.

For me, not feeling heard was like feeling invisible. Of course, all children are sensitive in different ways, and other children in my situation may not have been impacted at all. They might have been just fine with it and thought, “Oh well, my parents are just busy right now.”

But this feeling I had was important. I was deeply sensitive to it.

If you repeatedly don’t feel heard, then you will most likely feel like you are generally not validated. You learn that what you say doesn’t matter. 

Feeling like what we say matters is crucial in the creation of a healthy emotional system. 

Bringing awareness to my critical voice

I work on this for myself now, as an adult in a relationship with another adult. I catch myself often, even now, feeling like my husband isn’t really listening to what I’m saying. I hear myself going down the rabbit hole of negative emotion and thinking, “Ugh, he’s not listening. He doesn’t really care about what I’m saying anyway. I should just shut up!”

When I notice that voice in my head, I let it go and always try to put myself in his shoes. Something is going on in his mind that makes him unable to listen 100% right now. I’ll try again later.

If there are times when I want to say something really important, I choose a time to tell him when I know he’ll be present. Telling him an idea for my book when he’s rushing out the door to go to a meeting isn’t great timing. On long car trips when we have hours to talk is better.

Opening up to others takes practice

These days, whenever there is a chance to express myself, I make sure to take it. I do this as a way to somehow pay back my younger self for all the times I felt shut down or invisible as a kid. 

I don’t dramatize or make everyone feel held hostage by my feelings. I just talk about what I know, and sometimes people listen. To me, that is a miracle.

In the past, if I was in a conversation and something was said that I know a lot about, my default would have been to deny my inner voice. I wouldn’t share the things that I knew because of fear. 

If I’m in a conversation and I pause and notice that I’m hesitating because I’m not sure of myself, I dare myself to say it anyway. It’s almost like a new muscle that needs to be trained. 

Giving power back to my inner voice

I am training myself to speak up and give life to my inner voice. To me now, it feels like a betrayal of my soul each time I don’t share something. So, in the same way, I wanted to protect my younger self that was hurt so many times by not speaking up, now I am here to stand up for myself in a new way.

Now, when someone close to me immediately refers to themselves after I share something with them, I simply go back and repeat what I just said. Often, the other person will notice that they immediately talked about themselves in response to me and will then check in with themselves to see if they heard me the second time. 

To me, it’s telling of very intense mind chatter and a dominant ego. It’s not their fault. They are not conscious of it. It is simply another person who was likely not seen or heard when they were little, and because of it, their subconscious strategy to survive was to respond this way. For most people who grew up in the ‘40s and ‘50s, children were taught to be seen and not heard.

The path of self-discovery through awareness and presence

Notice your mind when others are speaking. Notice your own mind when you speak and whether or not there is an attachment to how others perceive you. By observing your mind in this way, there is freedom and presence, and by default, you will listen deeply and allow space for others’ inability to listen in return. By surrendering your judgement you stop taking others’ inability to listen so seriously. 

There is such great comfort in discovering that if we are present, we can be heard by our inner selves. This is the deepest connection anyone can have. What we thought we needed we actually already have. The one we are looking for to comfort us, hear us, and listen with presence is already inside ourselves.

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Abdi Assadi is unlike any other healer or spiritual teacher ever encountered. He is an expert in martial arts, and a dynamic healer practicing a diverse array of Chinese and Eastern Medicine, indigenous shamanic rituals, and meditation techniques. With a clinical practice in New York City for almost 4 decades, Abdi has accumulated a vast knowledge of real life experience working with several thousands of individuals, guiding them through the most difficult times, and teaching them how to understand themselves. One of the greatest things about him is he merges the human psyche with the spiritual psyche.

Steeped in deep wisdom and insight that is rare to find on this planet in these modern times, Abdi has an extraordinary ability in perceiving and comprehending human souls and their individual psyche. Guided by the divine, Abdi guides you to open up and see beyond your limited Self, into your own soul. His impeccable discernment enables him to unleash personal remarks that pierce through your veil, statements that you will never forget and in an instant alter your perception of yourself and your reality.

– Quotes from Shadows on the Path by Abdi Assadi:

All spiritual masters teach us that love is an activity before it is a condition – and that love is all-encompassing.
Page 18

It felt like I was coming off a race track and driving in a school zone. He knew, years before I did, that my speed was my way of suppressing my early childhood anxiety, and that only slowing down could heal it.

Why do you need to use all these words like God and spirituality? It is right here Abdi, all around you, all the time
Page 40

one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Page 51

Ultimately it keeps grace out of our lives because we are using our will power to manipulate every event and person around us.
Page 74

His lesson, which I had begun to learn for myself, is that outside circumstances do not define our internal experience if we can surrender into them. Painful or undesirable situations will always arise; true suffering comes from our ego’s desire to resist life as it is.
Page 77

Note from Pernilla:
I met Abdi in the fall of 2014 and when I arrived in his office the first thing he said was, “It’s time that you stop carrying other people’s anxiety.” In the year that followed, my entrenched codependency patterns reared their ugly heads and I was confronted with a part of myself that I had never even known was there.

A few years later, Abdi said, “When are you going to start writing your book?”I looked at him in surprise. I was not a writer. My expertise was centered around creating crazy good Excel spreadsheets. However, I started writing and collecting notes about life issues and life experiences … and here we are a few years later.

Sally Kempton is a preeminent meditation teacher of our time.

She is an expert scholar in Hinduism and all Hindu texts especially in Kashmir Shaivisim. Formerly Swami Durgananda, she left monastic life in the 1980’s to teach publicly. She has written several books and is one of the most known and loved spiritual teachers in our time.

Note from Pernilla:

I met Sally at one of her workshops at City Yoga in LA in 2003. She had the most gentle and loving disposition, and I just wanted to always be around her. I was fortunate to have been part of her two year-long “Transformative journey” courses in 2006 and 2007 and many retreats ever since. She is the true representation of unconditional love and transmits intense shakti from her Guru Swami Muktananda.

Sally is the primary building block and foundation in my spiritual journey. Without her, I would have never found and stuck with meditation – the most transformative experience of my life. Without her, I would have been lost without a clue where to go next. Her wealth of knowledge of yogic philosophy and incredible understanding of the human condition is what makes her a force to be reckoned with.  She understands your depth and makes you feel seen, heard, validated, and deeply loved.