Whether you know it or not, your entire life is summed up in one sentence: An escape from the demons of your past. This is the honest truth and it cuts across every aspect of your existence, like your self-esteem, beliefs, and confidence. When you really get down to analyzing the person you are now, it’s impossible not to see the strokes of your past.
The achievements you’ve scoped this far and the triggers behind your ambition date back to your childhood, as do the values that govern your life and the principles you live by. All of these elements don’t just embed themselves on you. They stem from the foundation of your history.
That future you’re currently busy carving out for yourself is largely influenced by your past, because you know where you’ve been and you’re doing your absolute best not to end up there. It’s easy to prove this, and if you ever found yourself in the confines of a quiet room where you could replay your life like a motion picture on the screen of your mind, you’d be able to see it.
Unfortunately, not many of us are accustomed to examining why we do the things we do, what we base our ambitions on and why we become the people we end up as. Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, knew there’s a danger in not sitting with ourselves to think—to really think. He said it well: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
If you did this, you’d finally understand that your present is still very much attached to the umbilical cord of your past. You’d clearly see the shadow cast by the demons from your childhood. You’d realize that the reason you set the bar so high was basically to live up to other peoples’ expectations. It would dawn on you that your life choices were never really yours to begin with.
Perhaps you’d even realize you’ve never really sat down to draw a plan for your life—a clear, concise plan for what you’d like your life to look like—and that the biggest reason you push your limits so hard is to achieve the standards set by others and not by you.
Because you’ve merely been cruising along in life; it would make sense why you got lost in the dark forest of wrong choices, most of which stem from past issues and insecurities. Issues you wish you could go back in time and undo because of their indelible marks in your life.
This new awareness is supposed to make you feel better. Only it doesn’t. Instead, it leads you to a crossroads. Do you continue building the rest of your life upon this dark and shaky foundation of your past, or do you find your way home so you can start building anew?
The answer to this seems pretty obvious, like a shiny object glaring in the sun. Only it’s not. The truth is, the latter is too much work because sacrifice required is great. Probably a bit more than you’re prepared to pay. This is because the process of self-discovery requires huge effort. You see, living a life authentic to your core means tearing down the walls that you have erected for years and being brave enough to go to uncomfortable places.
Why? Because you’ll never really know who you are until you mute all the other voices and begin to pay close attention to the voice that stems from your soul, whether that voice is a cry for healing, a desire for recognition, a need for love, or even a tinge of dissatisfaction.
Sure, a great career, a wonderful marriage, and some success may awaken a certain degree of fulfillment. And for a while, you may even feel as if you’ve finally reconciled with your past. It might even make you happy. But the reality is, eventually, that kind of fulfillment wears off. You see, these accomplishments will never do much when it comes to quieting the cry of your soul. At the end of the day, all they are is smoke and mirrors.
But here’s the thing: The day you decide to reconcile yourself with whatever you’ve been away from running from is the day you finally stop running. It’s the day you find your way home. But wait, what is home exactly?
Home is many things, but most importantly, it’s where you get to the bottom of things. It’s where you evaluate their root causes of your problems, hurt, insecurities, anger, bitterness, resentment, and everything else that weighs you down.
Home is where you finally remove the mask without fear of judgment. Home is where you confront your demons, make that nerve-racking phone call, or have that difficult conversation. But above all else, home is where your wholeness dwells.
Finding your way home is far from easy—let no one tell you otherwise. It’s also a journey you must take alone. No one can do this for you. You’ve got to be willing to tear open the wounds that have festered for so long and you’ve spent your entire life covering up. Getting in touch with yourself and who you are truly meant to be requires peeling back the layers. This means being broken so that you can remold yourself, because your old, inauthentic self must die before your real self is born.
I won’t lie: Finding your way home takes a lot from you, although in reality, it never feels like it because it gives you so much more. For starters, you get to rewrite your story and make it whatever the heck you want. You get to repaint the canvas of your life in any shade you deem fit and to rebuild your life on your terms.
Indeed, this new life brings changes, and that’s okay. You should embrace them because this is precisely where you are meant to be. Remember, you don’t have to embrace them all at once; it’s enough to take in little by little, a day at a time.
Eventually, you’ll get there. And you’ll begin to feel the essence of your soul. You’ll start to experience the warmth that emanates from being authentic. You’ll bask in the joy of being you, the real you. Healing the sting of your past will bring you peace. But what’s most precious is the freedom that comes from being able to mold yourself and your life as you please.