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It was a post on a friend’s Facebook timeline staring me in the eye. So simple, sexy, elegant, and as true as it is complicated.

At first glance, it felt like another catchphrase that shows up every five years or so, like “be authentic,” “hustle,” “grit,” and “lady boss.”

Then again, in all honesty, this one felt truer than its predecessors. Live your truth! But as in most things of this type, there is a catch. You’ve got to know your truth to live it.

So, I sat with the questions for some time - do I know my truths? Am I living them? And why is it important to me that I live them? But I was a weary, recovering self-improvement and self-growth junkie. I just did not want one more thing to fix or heal about myself so that I could live my truth.

I confess it was more complicated than I thought - to find answers to these questions. I wondered if I had become so used to waiting for some guru to tell me what my truth should be that I could not even discern my own truth any longer. The ego wants to say, of course not, but the truth is all of us, at one time or another, enjoy hearing someone else’s truth and trying it on for size and sometimes embracing it like our own. If you think I am wrong, google it - you’ll see that the self-improvement industry is estimated to grow to $13.2 billion by the end of 2022. It was worth $9.9 billion in 2016. Globally it was at $41 billion in 2021. The truth is in the numbers. Someone is profiting from me not listening to myself.

Despite knowing this, I couldn’t get enough self-help and improvement. I lapped it up and embraced it as my own while trying to “fix” myself to become the ideal, enlightened woman, leader, and coach. An ideal in a different form. This was no different than the diet culture that claims a woman is only worthy if she is a certain size. Only this time, all the messages were about how broken I was; unless I healed it all, I would not be worthy. I justified buying into it by telling myself it was in line with my values of learning from others and growing as a person.

Now I know that the stories I tell to myself are what matters. If I keep telling the story, “they know me better than I know myself,” I will never really know my truth.

I sat with all this for a while, and to my utter disbelief, my “truth” did not just parade with a marching band telling me, “here I am.” I had to look for it. Some of my truths even seemed to contradict each other! I needed time and space to sort through and discern what my truth was and what truths I assumed I should hold as my own. This process was only possible when I turned away from all of the outside voices and noise.

When I finally allowed my voice to speak to me, here is what I realized:

  • I have enough wisdom to know what is good for me regarding relationships, jobs, living style, and career, to name a few, but sometimes, I am still looking for outside wisdom and affirmation.

  • I want a small and simple life that is ginormous in its depths and width, encompassing everything to satisfy all my senses - an extraordinary ordinary life is what I am moving towards.

  • I enjoy and cherish my solitude.

  • I have finally let go of someone else’s truths - donated all my self-improvement books to the library.

  • I don’t want to be the guru to others - I don’t want to tell anyone what to do with their lives and careers, but I am willing to share my hard-earned wisdom and my truth with others without being their guru.

  • I don’t want to grow old. I want to grow wiser, stronger, smarter, funnier, more loving, and more embracing.

  • I do have regrets, there are things I wish I’d done differently, but I am done with my regrets defining my present and future.

  • I want to tell my stories and listen to others’ stories. I want to make people feel heard and understood.

  • The life of hustle and grit no longer has the allure it once did - did it ever? I am no longer willing to give up a big part of my own life for professional success. I want more personal successes.

  • My truths are subject to change as I live longer and experience more - staying true to one truth without examining it is a life not lived fully.

  • My truth is - I am the only authority on what I need. I can do a much better job taking care of myself.

Acknowledging these truths comes with a lot of “letting go” of things I held on to for dear life. Some truths I hang on to for my entire life. Like, who am I if I am not the executive director of a nonprofit? Who am I if I am not reading a self-improvement book at any given time? Who am I without outside affirmation and approval of my identity? Some of these I am very clear on, while others are still fuzzy, but the more I learn about myself, the more my world expands. And I don’t have to buy a thing!

What is your truth? Tell me what you want me to know!



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