“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are there too many “shoulds” in your life?

Are you trying to be who others want you to be? Or do you wish you could be who you want to be instead of the person you currently are?

I want to believe that I’m always a nice guy, I can handle stress, I’m never jealous, I don’t mind being single, I can handle anything on my own, and I don’t need anyone’s help.

However, that would be inaccurate.

In reality, I’m not always a nice guy, I’m not as compassionate as I’d like to be, I’m not grateful enough for what I have, and I don’t handle stress well. I get jealous of those who have everything I want in life, I spend a lot of time wondering if I’ll ever find my soulmate, and yes, there are plenty of things I can’t handle on my own!

This contrasts with the person I wish I was, and it’s easy to beat myself up over it.

So why does this happen to me?

Simply put, it’s caused by getting so caught up in being the person I want to be that I don’t accept the person I am.

I want to believe that I’ve already become the person I aspire to be, but that just isn’t true.

How many of you can relate to this? Do you pretend to be someone you’re not while ignoring your emotions, hiding your weaknesses, and refusing to be seen as vulnerable? Do you work to hang onto an image of yourself that doesn’t exist?

We’ve been encouraged to be logical and rely heavily on our intellect, as if we’re actually rational beings. Sure, we’d like to think we’re rational beings, but we really aren’t, are we?

In believing that our intellect is who we are, we’ve forgotten our true selves.

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As a result, we don’t listen to our intuition, we don’t accept our emotions, we don’t open up to others by fear of losing their love, being seen as weak, or facing rejection.

It’s easy to figure out how to behave if we want to be perceived as “civilized” people. It’s easy to play it safe and use our intellect to ensure that we’re liked by almost everyone around us.

But is it what we really want?

I realized that neglecting to reconnect with my true self will prevent me from growing as a human being, and will keep me from raising my level of consciousness.

I could feign compassion or even feel sorry for someone on an intellectual level because I know it is how a nice person would react and feel in that situation. I could do this even while knowing that, at the center of my being, I’m not feeling compassionate.

I could even force myself to help an elderly person crossing the road because I know it’s what I should do, even if I don’t feel a natural urge to do so.

Well, that’s fine, isn’t it? You can just act like everyone else does and pretend to be compassionate and caring. No problem there, right?

Well, there’s actually a huge one: If we keep using our intellect to pretend to be someone with a high level of consciousness, we won’t learn or grow. This will ultimately stop us from reaching higher levels of fulfillment.

The reality is that we can’t use our intellect to raise our level of consciousness.

As long as I refuse to accept myself as I really am, I’ll continue to be an inauthentic mixture of both my expectations and the expectations of others regarding the person I should be.

Yes, it’s easy to hide ourselves behind our intellect, but we can’t lie to ourselves about who we are forever!

It’s undeniably scary to open up to other people and let them choose whether they want to be with us. It’s less frightening to make them like us by manipulating our image.

It’s difficult to accept our feelings as they come and realize that we are not (yet) the person we thought we were. It’s also hard to admit that we are in fact no better than the people we look down upon.

Then again, aren’t we here on earth to get rid of our fears and to become more compassionate beings? That’s what I think, at least. If so, we have to start relying more on our intuition and begin fully accepting our emotions. Then, and only then, will we be able to grow and evolve into more compassionate people.

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It may seem hard to reconnect with our true selves, but the following tips can help:

1. Fully accepting our feelings.

Our feelings are supposed to help us learn and evolve towards higher levels of consciousness. If we ignore them, we miss opportunities for growth.

2. Speaking with honesty.

We should express ourselves candidly instead of suppressing ourselves to protect our image. People can argue with opinions and even facts, but they can’t argue with how you feel!

3. Meditating.

Meditating quiets the mind and helps us reconnect with ourselves on a deep level.

4. Practicing mindfulness.

This allows us to observe ourselves throughout the day without any judgment.

5. Listening without judgment.

This enables us to hear others instead of trying to use our intellect to force our views onto others.

6. Trusting our intuitions.

In so doing, we can allow our emotions to guide us and see where things go.

The time has come to reconnect with your true self. It may not be easy, but I promise it will be worth it!

Guide to Inspired Life