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.