“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde
For many years I wrote in secret. I would only put pen to paper when the lights were dim, when everyone around me was asleep.
Also, I wrote when no one was home, I made sure that I was alone because I didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to be questioned and I didn’t want anyone interested in what I was doing.
In hiding, I filled up journals with words of heart-break, poetry, love, laughter, inspiration, anything that was bubbling to the surface.
Those notebooks were mirrors of my truth.
I threw them out. I violently ripped out the ink covered pages.
I was terrified of anyone reading them. I worried what they would think of me if they really knew me.
I worried about judgment, about being misunderstood, about being truly known.
All those words, all that truth, was destroyed because of my own fear.
What happened when I destroyed my writing was I became further disconnected from my own story, became disconnected from my own truth. As I was unsure of my expression and I was unsure of myself.
Over time, I felt fragmented; I felt that the me I presented to others was a contrived version of myself. I was eager to please, a “yeser.” I made sure to stand up strong on a foundation of persona that reflected how I thought I would be most accepted and loved.
When I met people and they asked about who I was, what I believed in, or what I did, I said something vague and cliché. I eagerly changed the subject back onto them. I became disconnected from my own words, from my own uniqueness, from my own power.
I was unhappy, insecure and uninspired.
We Block Ourselves from Living the Life We Want
At the core was a fear of what it would mean to shine brightly. To shine with my story, my truth and my words. It was safer to play small because then I was safe from judgment, from attention, from being seen, from vulnerability.
When we share our creative selves and authentically express our truth, we are raw and vulnerable. This is extremely powerful but also can been extremely frightening.
However, if we allow fear of this power to take over, if we shy away from sharing our stories, or if we keep expressing ourselves from the sidelines, slowly but surely we become disconnected from our creative selves. We become disconnected from our uniqueness and vibrancy.
When we express ourselves we materialize our truth, we materialize our authenticity. This can initiate fear, it can stir up the part of us that wants us to be small.
However, this fear is an illusion, but it can also be a gift. This gift comes from shifting our perception to seeing that fear suggests we are getting closer to our highest truth.
The One Change that Changed Everything
One day when I was tearing out the pages of my notebooks, I tried to tear out too many at one time. They wouldn’t rip.
I became frustrated, trying to tear them with all my strength. They still wouldn’t rip.
As I looked down, I felt a pit in my stomach. It hit me what I was doing.
I was perpetuating fear, I was disconnecting further from who I was and the tool I was given to express myself.
I clearly saw the piles of torn up words and realized I had enough to begin a book, enough to possibly help or inspire someone. My own healing was now in shards, laying in ruin.
In that moment it hit me that I was a writer. I thought the words to myself, “I am a writer.” Then I said them out loud. My whole being lit up. I lit up with love, with truth, with expansion, with a wonderful feeling of effortlessness.
In that instant I felt like I was a train, and the tracks that were going in different directions, clicked into place. I was now aligned with my own destiny.
For the first time I was able to see my light and I was able to feel and touch the power of my words.
I named myself a writer. I could feel the writer in me breathing deeply.
Slowly but surly I began writing in coffee shops, jotting down notes when out with friends, writing before bed, and when traveling. Writing became part of my routine; became part of who I am.
Now when talking with new people I proudly share that I am a writer. When I do, I feel confident, joyful and inspired. I am speaking my truth.
Stand Strongly in Who You Are and in Your Gifts
I believe that we all have a medium of expression that holds energy for us. It is the form that we go to when in our darkest hours; it is our soul’s medicine.
Maybe you are connected to music, writing, art, being in nature, dance, cooking or yoga. Notice the energy this gift holds for you. Does it bring up excitement, fear, love, resistance or peace?
Know this is all energy. When we are charged, we have an opportunity to harness this energy and make beautiful positive change, for ourselves and others.
Look at the ways your inner light shines through when you express in this way. Notice thought patterns that may hold you back and may be blocking your light from expressing itself fully.
Connect to it honestly.
Call yourself a dancer, a yogi, a writer, a musician. Integrate this into your identity, into who you are. Love this part of yourself. Honor it.
This is your destiny.
Identifying your creative self will send a jolt through your bones, asking you to stand more confidently, happily and lovingly.
With each day remind yourself of your story, your expression, your identity. Remind yourself who you are and give this part of you nod of gratitude. Nurture this part of yourself and you will help nurture others to do the same.
What is your truth? Name it in the comments below.
Photo by justine-reyes
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52 thoughts on “One Simple Change to Live a Happy and Empowered Life”
I have wanted to write for a long time. I recently started a blog and I can NOT begin to tell you how hard it was to push “publish.” But in spite of feeling the fear I did push it. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Holly, thank you for sharing! I am excited for you and your writing journey. Hitting publish is difficult but so powerful. Each time you do, fear gets smaller and putting your work into the world becomes easier. Keep writing, you got this!
Fear has been a road block for me, and I’m still trying to get around it completely. I feel that no one reads what I write and my grammar is not the best. At times I cannot spit the words out. I become emotionally blocked. I struggle with expressing my true feelings. Don’t get me wrong, my writing speaks my truth but it can lack the emotional aspect that the reader might be able to relate to. My wish for my writing is simple; I want people to know that they are not alone, there are people that understand, and I’m here for them. I’ve been there and done that. I don’t know how to reach people that may have been through similar experiences as myself. I keep treading forward and hopefully I will find my way.
Hey there Dawn, It feels so good to find someone going through the same head-space as mine. Thanks for being there.
You will find your way. Your intention and hope for your writing is beautiful and so needed. Trust that. Keep writing and definitely know you are not alone. I have felt all those things you have listed. And actually today, I was just thinking to myself how it bothers me that I struggle with grammar, still get confused and self-conscious about it. Additionally, getting our words on the page is not always easy. Just trust that with each word you write, you are overcoming fear. That is awesome. Your message is awesome and the world needs what you have to say.
Loved this post, and really feel like I need it right now. Have been blogging for ages but just changed the name and everything of my latest blog, gonna stop just writing reviews and I’m gonna start writing about myself, about school and my life. For ages I didn’t really think I had a story to tell but now I really want to show myself to the world. And become more confident in showing who I am to the people around me.
Please check out my blog/follow – and see the latest post for what I’m talking about. It’s at: http://bedroomconfessionalblog.blogspot.co.uk/
Very inspiring post.
Charlie, I am so glad you enjoyed the post, it means a lot. Also, how wonderful you are feeling the call to write and put your story out there. Doing so can be intimidating and exciting but it is so important that you do. The world needs your unique voice.
Isn’t it amazing how fear can control our lives! You found a wonderful truth that fear can be a gift. Having the self compassion to discover it can be enough to overcome the challenge of looking at it.
Fear had run my life for so many years, yet journaling was my relief. I hid those journals from others, and you made me realize how grateful I am to not destroy them.
I re-read some of mine, and came to the conclusion that “I’ve come a long way baby.”
I too realized I am an artist and writer, yet still lack some confidence. I created new products which I sell on amazon and started a blog on my website.
You have given me some hope to persevere and I can build my confidence with time.
Susan, that is such a gift that you still have your journals and can see the growth that has come from time and engaging in the writing practice. I think you are right, the more we share our story, and reflect on it, the more confident and empowered we get. Thank you for sharing your experience and taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.
What a beautiful article and wonderful inspiration you share this morning! Thank you. I too torn up and threw away all my journals and yes, it was a fear that someone else might read them. As you wrote, ‘However, this fear is an illusion, but it can also be a gift. This gift comes from shifting our perception to seeing that fear suggests we are getting closer to our highest truth’. Facing my fears I slowly but surely have stood up to who I am – I am teacher and a writer. I love sharing my insights and expereices with others. Now I see the heart in my writing and not my doubts.
Carolynne, Thank you for taking the time to write and to share your experience. I absolutely love that transformation you shared–seeing the heart in your writing rather than the doubts. This is so powerful and a wonderful reminder that each time we write, there is always heart there. When we are open see with love over fear, the heart will shine through.
Thank you for sharing this. I too have written in secret for years; never calling myself a writer because I am not published. Your article helped me realize that a writer is someone who writes to communicate; a published author happens to be a writer who got paid.
Thank you! This was eye-opening.
You are a writer! Yes, yes yes you are! Keep it up, your story matters, your voice matters, the world needs what you have to say.
I love your description of tearing out too many pages and they wouldn’t rip. It’s as if the words themselves were standing up and insisting they be heard. Beautiful chronicle of your journey and claiming your place as a writer.
Thank you for your kind words and lovely observation. Also thank you for sharing your thoughts and taking the time to write, it means a lot. xox
Thanks, Jackie. I am writer. Though I can say that confidently, there was a time many years ago that I was like you and it seemed to be something that shamed me. And, you’re right — we ALL have creative gifts. You’re offering wonderful advice today. Thanks.
The creative journey is so interesting, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your experience of overcoming fear and standing in confidence. It’s inspiring!
I had an aha-moment that lasted for five minutes. I suddenly knew who I was, an entrepreneur, and everything made sense. My past, my experience, my knowledge and my personality. It all fitted together and it was me. I felt it in every inch of my body and soul.
That was years back. Sinse that moment I have been ashamed of it. I have kept it hidden and been stupidly vulnerable about it when I allowed myself to feel it. ( I am quite good at disconnecting my feelings from it.) I needed this reminder so badly. Because it isn’t about what we do, but who we are. And if I still feel ashamed of it, I am an entrepreneur.
Thank you for sharing who you are. The world needs exactly you as you. I think the reason owning our truth can be so charged sometimes is because it holds so much life force and transformative energy. That can be scary but the more we own it the easier it is to hold. Keep rocking your entrepreneurial spirit, it is needed and inspiring!
So beautiful and true! Thank you for sharing yourself so openly with the world. And thank you for speaking to this deep truth that so many creative people struggle with.
Danielle, I am so glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for taking the time to write. I hope you have a beautiful day!
Thank you Jackie, this is important stuff!
Why is it that we hold back from expressing who we truly are? At what point did it become shameful to stand out from the crowd and dare to be different? The more people who claim their life for themselves, the better this world will work. Thank you for being an inspiration to others.
Meg, thank you. You bring up such an important question and I think it is something that still pops up even when we have claimed our lives for ourselves. I think the beauty of shame and fear is it asks us to fight for our truth, to bust through blocks, and to be stronger in ourselves for it. Thank you for commenting!
Really Nice.. Its true, Most of the people facing their own fear and killing their soul voice , desire and happiness, just because of the fear of bieng discarded by others. Once we overcomed it, Life is beautiful and full of all beautiful colours… All we needed is to realize “What we are,What we want”.
Vikas Sharma Ajjai,
I think you are right, there definitely is fear of standing out, being other, or rejected by others, when we are expressing our creative selves. However, like you said, there is so much beauty and strengths that comes from overcoming fear and standing honestly in ourselves.
Good for you Jackie. A message of positivity.
Having spent quite some time over the years writing all sorts of things in all sorts of places I know for a fact that the best work comes from your own beliefs and experiences…as you have proved in this article. Writing for yourself is a great place to start. Keep going.
Thank you for the article.
Alex, thank you for your kind and encouraging words, I appreciate them! Also, thank you for sharing your experience of writing from experience and how empowering it can be to write from our truths.
Jackie this is a great post. I’m a writer! It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve been able to say that out loud to my husband and kids. But as time goes on, I keep writing and publishing and my confidence is growing. I’ve now told a few friends and I’m getting ready to publish my first eBook. YAY! Thanks for this post Jackie, I can totally relate.
Yay, I am so excited for you and the writing journey you are on! Congratulations on owning your craft and for putting out your first ebook. That is a big deal and totally awesome. Keep it up!
I love it!! And it took me 53 years to get”here”, like you write so well. I am totally okay with that now. Thanks for sharing!
Ruthie, thank you for sharing and taking the time to comment. You bring up such an inspiring and good point–we are all on our own beautiful journeys to coming into who we are. We must love the process, roll with it, and honor the lessons along the way. It doesn’t matter what age we are, how long something takes, or what our process looks like compared to others, we are all on uniquely similar journeys taking us closer to love rather than fear.
My truth would be “for things to change, first I must change”. If I am not happy with where I am now, I will spend some time to reflect on my current life and find out what I need to change in order to progress towards where I want to be in life.
Yes, I agree, reflection and taking time to be still can make big positive change in our lives. Thank you for the important reminder and for commenting!
It’s funny, I was the same way – when I was starting my blog, I would write drafts at my college and when somebody would come near me, I would hide them. It made no sense, really. I was going to inspire people and put it up on the web for the whole world to see, but didn’t want anybody looking at it while it wasn’t done.
It’s all about your mindset – if you “fix” the way you think and perceive the world around you, everything else will follow. If you think of yourself as an awesome person, you will act like it and won’t let fear put you down.
Phil, I have totally done the same thing! And, I think you are totally right. Fear is a mindset and when we work to shift that mindset to be one of acceptance, possibility, and love, everything else falls into place. Thank you for sharing your experience, I can relate and I bet others can as well. It is nice to know we are not alone :)
Beautiful, inspirational post.
Writing is like conversation with oneself. It is giving expression to one’s view of life, pain and joyful experiences. Every individual has some unique experience to relate, some pearls of wisdom gathered in the journey of life. Keeping all that to oneself is like burying the treasure under the earth along with me ( when the time comes ). By sharing the experience with others, we unburden ourselves, gain confidence in ourselves and also, may be , help others in understanding my part of life.
Mahavir~ I agree that we all have wonderful gifts to share the with the world. Your comment made me think of the importance of trusting the process of putting our work out there. We may not know the extent of the impact, or have clarity about the larger picture, when we do it, but when we share our stories doing so can have wonderful, positive effects on others and ourselves. Thank you for sharing!
Hi Jackie, a really beautiful post thanks so much for sharing. I work with people everyday who are too fearful to let their light shine in the world, but this process you describe needs to happen to find the courage inside yourself to have faith that what you have to share is ‘worth’ sharing. Until you hit the point where you couldn’t destroy those words any longer, that light would have been easily extinguised when it was shown to others. Bravo for finding the strength to shine and share your very special gifts.
Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. I think you are right, finding our courage, and our light, is a process. I think the reason it is so difficult, at times, to live in our truth is because we have to work through that difficult stuff to shine even brighter. Doing so strengthens our courage muscles and asks us to fight for what we believe in.
This article has opened my eyes to so many things . Fear of failing and being judged has held me back from what I want to be in life and how your saying embrace your destiny and each day say this is who I am by making it apart of your everyday life is fantastic . You are such a inspiration!! I will from this day foward call myself a Fashion Stylist/Designer . I feel I can be headed down a better path . Thank you :)
YOU are an inspiration. I love that you standing so confidently in your truth. Fear will always pop up as part of our process. We must trust that we are on the right path and our creative expression will take us where we need to go. Thank you tons for sharing!
Thanks for sharing Jackie, as i began to read your post i could see myself. its comforting to know i was not alone in wanting to hide my true self and also destroying the evidence of the real me. I have grown to appreciate my journals and now i see them as a reflective learning journal.
Erica, Thank you for sharing your experience. It is so wonderful to know we are not alone in our journeys. I love the perspective you have on your journals. And I agree, they are such treasures that help us see our growth, learning and perspectives of ourselves and the world.
Jackie, thank you so much for sharing your journey of self discovery and ownership. SO MANY people do stuff like this! As an art teacher I’ve lost count of the number of stories people feel compelled to share with me about “giving up” or never fully acknowledging their art interest because of those fears. The more we can all acknowledge on some level this is normal and we deserve our best shiny selves the more people will take that risk of keeping their notebook filled with beautiful words. :) Best wishes!
Carrie, Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I completely agree with you! It is so powerful to share our stories and experiences of the times we want to hide or be small. Doing so normalizes the experience and helps us stand up stronger, individually and together. I am thrilled you are teaching–what a gift of spirit your ideas will bring to the world. xoxo
I found my calling a few years ago. a flipant remark about what I was going to do, and i love what i do! I am an acupuncturist who helps others find their destiny! Whatever that may be. Thank you, having a crisis in confidence on and off for all my life i guess, but for now about my abilities as a therapist… I need to remind myself of my true nature, as a healer and own that! Thank you foe the reminder i needed
What an inspiring moment you shared! A flipant remark revealing your calling. I love it. I think you are right, we need to keep orienting ourselves to the truth that is bubbling inside us. Sharing those aha moments help us all do so. Thank you for sharing yours.
Thank you for the inspiring message. I think there is a writer in me that wants to come out and shout. But each time it tries, I push it back saying to myself no not yet, not perfect enough. I don’t know when that perfect time will be. So this article is timely and for helping to see that no time is perfect and NOW is all that counts.
Bina, I have been there, oh have I been there. You are not alone. Trust in your calling. Find ways to express yourself, little by little. Recognize how awesome you already are: Having the courage to name, publicly that you are being called to write. That is huge! Keep it up. Tons of love to you on your journey.
Thank you for your beautiful story. I am a write/motivational speaker. I started blogging 3 years ago and my truth started to just poor out of me. I got busy in life and stopped for a long time. I have recently begun a new blog and am now speaking my truth again, which feels great! My hope is that in shining my light, I will inspire others to do the same. Thank you for shining your light!
Hi Jackie !
Thank you so much for sharing !
This post is so inspiring.
I know that you cannot know yourself and live your truth if you live in fear.
So I am now standing for my real me: I am a painter and I am a writer
God bless you