Stop and Listen to Your True Self

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future” – Deepak Chopra

I feel great today. The sun is shining. The street is calm. On my terraza, I wonder where I’m going to sit in the sun in New York and write in the morning. Where can I find a spot where the cars aren’t honking and the world isn’t awake at 11:43 a.m. I’ve always wondered if it’s possible to take the mornings in New York and turn them into my mornings in Madrid, and for the first time I know that I’ll make it work. The “can I” attitude that I had previously has now morphed into the “I can” attitude with, well, everything. There’ s no longer a question in my mind of the things I can and cannot do. The things I was wavering on before are now more stable in my mind. Again, it all comes down to perspective.

It’s easy to get lost in the world around you. To get caught up in the world of others, but it’s a blessing if you just allow yourself to stop. For those who work in high stress jobs it’s more difficult, this notion that your life doesn’t have to be so hard. But, I truly believe that it’s healthier for you in the long run. Over the last three years I’ve met so many people from all over the world and many of those from the U.S. have said that what they love about Madrid, and Europe in general, is the lifestyle. There’s more time here, people say. There’s more time to enjoy yourself, and the people around you, to look at your life in a different way.

People have always said that everyone should live in NY at some point in their life, but I think that people should live in Europe at some point in their life. I’m not saying that Europe is better – what I’m saying is that when you can escape what you know and explore what you don’t – the way you look at your daily doings shift.

It may seem obvious, with all the books about traveling to other places to explore who you are. But I think it’s less about exploring who you are and more about who you want to be. The more experiences one has, the more likely one is to choose the best life for himself/herself. If you stick to only what you know – you continue to be only what you know. But imagine the possibility of seeing yourself differently. Not visualizing it, but actually living it. You’ll surprise yourself at how often we get away from what we truly want in our lives.

For a long time I was trying to turn New York into Madrid, but what I’ve realized is that’s not possible. New York is not going to change for me. But what can change is how I exist in New York, which is why going back doesn’t haunt me like it used to. I can look in the mirror today and express exactly what it is I want in all areas of my life. Even though I don’t necessarily know the path I’ll take to achieve these things, I know what it is that I want to fill my life with. If I know what I want, I’m less likely to live what I don’t.

We all think we know what we want, but sit down and pull out a piece of paper. Write at the top, “What I Want”. Then start jotting your desires down on the page. It doesn’t come so easy, does it? It takes time to figure out what your true self wants. I’m not talking about your false self, but your inner self, the one that’s underneath all of what has shaped and made you who you are today. I bet if you look back at when you were younger, before you could make sense of events in your life – you’d see that what makes you most happy has always been there, it’s just been pushed to the bottom of the pile of this thing called life. And more often than not, the sense of joy, and possibility that one has as a child stops at some point because the world makes you start to feel like what you’re experiencing is childish.

The biggest hurdle to jump when thinking about perspective is to say goodbye to the one you know. We think that if we take the hour for lunch it pushes us back somehow. We see everyone else eating at their desks, which makes taking an hour seem like we’re bad or not good workers. But I truly believe that if you gave yourself that lunch hour – to go to a restaurant and enjoy a meal – you’d actually get more work done.

It all comes back to time. People always comment that there’s not enough time in a day, but here’s a secret – there is. There is enough time in the day to get done all that you need to, and to also enjoy all that you want to. And how to do that is easy. Allow yourself the time – take your time back. Shift things around so that your day works best for you, so that you leave work with a smile on your face and energized for things you want to do.

We’ve been brought up with phrases like, “I’m stressed”, “I’m overwhelmed”, “I’m busy”. But what if I told you that you aren’t actually any of those things; that those things are all what we’ve been socialized to feel and think. Wouldn’t it be nice not to complain– or to feel that you have nothing to complain about?  Then all you have to do is stop and allow yourself to think that way. There’s nothing wrong with being happy for all that you have in your life. There’s nothing wrong with letting yourself want the things you actually want. It’s when we let ourselves want what makes us happy when we truly experience joy. There’s no need to hide behind defense mechanisms in case we don’t get what we want. Why not just be honest with yourself and say things like, I want to find love. Not I want to find love, but if it doesn’t happen I’ll be okay. By saying the latter you’re trying to make yourself feel better, but what you’re saying might actually make you more sad.

When you think about the kind of life you want there’s an automatic smile that comes with it.  Think about what you want and not about what you don’t want; think about all that you have and not about what you don’t have; think about the small things you can do that will make your day better and do them. Say goodbye to the old way of seeing the world and wake up to the possibility of a new way. If you find yourself reacting the same way you have previously to situations, stop and think. We all have the power and ability to smile and be happy – we just have to let ourselves.

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Showing 4 comments
  • beau

    you smart! i liked!

  • Jen

    Very lovely, Cynthia. I want to incorporate this way of thinking into my life in DC 🙂

  • Arthur Hamilton

    I was doing this for a while, then, let events overtake me. I lived in Europe for 13 years & spent 7 in Turkey! Even spent a coupla weeks in Berlin, before the wall came down. I’m glad to see all those feelings from Madrid & Spain actually put into words. I feel as if those are words I’ve been searching for, but, never found.

  • Cynthia Kane

    Thanks, Arthur!

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