Be true to you

Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Personal Development | 0 comments

I went to a writing retreat in Hawaii and had a terrible time.

My experience was terrible because I wanted a different experience than the one I had. I thought I SHOULD have a different experience.

I had a terrible time because I didn’t allow myself to be true to my actual experience. I didn’t allow myself to be true to myself.

Hawaii isn’t my idea of paradise. I prefer the mountains to the beach, boots to sandals, and cold to hot. Despite my preference for pine trees to palm trees, I went to Hawaii ready for an amazing, life-changing experience! I was ready for expansion. This retreat was going to be the next step in my evolution. Bring it on.

Only it was the wrong place, the wrong time, and, well, the wrong just about everything.

There I was at a resort on the north shore of O’ahu, surrounded by amazing people I admire, all opening ourselves up to write our books, and all I could think was, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” And the very next thought was, “what is wrong with me?”

It wasn’t just being in Hawaii that pushed me out of my comfort zone. For the first time in my life I stayed at a fancy resort. I’ve never stayed at a resort before. I grew up in poverty.

But let me be real for a moment- my discomfort was not really with staying at a resort. I was uncomfortable because for years I’ve practically prided myself on being a “have not”. I survived for years with the understanding that there were certain things I didn’t get to have, and traveling to Hawaii and staying at a 4-star resort is certainly something I believed I did not get to have.

I wasn’t ready for this experience, but I told myself that didn’t matter. I SHOULD be enjoying myself more. And all that is before the writing retreat officially began.

I’ve always been a writer. When I was 7 or 8 years old I began writing poetry and short stories. I started blogging 8 years ago. I love writing. It comes naturally to me. I didn’t think writing a book would be easy but somehow I thought it would be easier for me.

The writing method and process we were taught at the retreat turned out to be ineffective for me. When I asked questions about the method and process, my questions were dismissed. “Just keep writing,” I was told, “That’s a left-brained question- don’t overthink it.”

As an expert overthinker my initial reaction to this advice was, “there I go again,” and I accepted what I was told and kept writing. And kept writing and kept writing. I kept writing through the disappointment, frustration, and tears. I felt ashamed that I was struggling. I didn’t stop to ask myself why it was difficult. I SHOULD be able to write by this or any process, right?

Then I realized- this process was not working. It was not going to work for me and that’s perfectly okay.

As soon as I gave myself permission to feel what I was feeling, I started having a lot more fun, even though my circumstances were not ideal. Finally, I allowed myself to be true to myself.

Hawaii is not my idea of paradise. I’m not ready for resort living. I depend on my left brain to balance and ground my writing. So why did I judge myself for being who I am? Why did I deny my actual experience by telling myself what kind of experience I SHOULD have?

I learned a lesson I’ve learned many times before. The most important thing I can do in this word is be true to myself. I’m happier when I am true to myself. My success is bigger when I am true to myself. My experience is not going to match everyone else’s, and that’s okay.

Doesn’t it work that way for you, too? How can you be true to yourself?

Take a moment to think about where in your life you are SHOULDing  yourself. Where are you not allowing yourself to be true to you? What would you do differently today if you were true to you?

be true to yourself quote

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