Discover Your Authentic Self: Be You, Be Free, Be Happy - Sherrie Dillard (2016)


When we love soulfully and deeply, all of who we are surfaces. It is through our relationships that we discover more about ourselves and what we are capable of. We can feel uplifted and encouraged by our capacity to forgive, devote ourselves to another, and put aside our needs. We may also be surprised by the emergence of unacknowledged fears, jealousies, and desires. In this chapter, further explore the you that surfaces through your relationships.

78. Pushing Your Joy to the Surface

Along the journey to discovering and living your truth, you will be tested not once, but many times. This is a world of shadows that seeks to dim your clear light of awareness and enlist you into the ranks of conformity. It is in your relationships that you will be most tested, tempted, and challenged to know who you are.

To be in harmonious and happy relationships, it is essential to be true to yourself and allow your friend, partner, family member, or lover to do the same. When we are not true to who we are, relationships simply do not work. Even if there appears to be compatibility and coupled unity, sooner or later the slippery slope of losing self proves to be too much. You feel invisible and resentful and must scramble to rediscover and claim your truth.

Relationships are the playing field where we learn how to be selfless and support others and at the same time be loving and true to ourselves. While we desire to both retain our individuality and fully connect with another, the balance between these two is not always easy to achieve and maintain. We can all too often merge and allow others’ wants and needs to take priority or erect walls to protect our sense of self.

Like a posable Gumby doll, relationships pull and stretch our heart, our boundaries, and our concepts of love. We are challenged to love others and still say no when no is called for and learn how to compromise. Being true to self while being kind and simultaneously present to another can test the best of us.

The not-so-secret secret is that relationship happiness does not necessarily come from being with another. Happiness is always an inside job. It doesn’t spring from an outer source, and we cannot catch it flitting across the sky and descending on some and not others. Happiness and harmony come from within, from the heart and soul. Always in a state of constant renewal, the happiness and joy that we seek is always available. The best of relationships push and prod our soulful joy to the surface. In our willingness to love another and let go of our selfish ego desires and expectations, the best of us comes forward. We bear witness to the love within us, warmheartedly share it with another, and give our partner the space to do the same. In this way, we unlock our inner joy.

I share my love.

79. Your Many Roles

There are many ways that you show up in the world. You may be a mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, grandparent, employee, friend, lover, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, pet owner, or any of the many other roles that make up your outer identity. Each role emphasizes certain aspects of your personality and either supports your true self or detracts from it. For instance, you may enjoy being a loving and caring mother but dislike being the organized office manager.

Different roles empower us to experience the depth of our personality and promote our emotional, mental, and spiritual growth. Yet it is important to remember that there is an inner you that cannot be defined and known through a role. When you overidentify with one aspect of your being, you can lose your connection with your authentic self. When you are out of touch with your core truth, you look to others to validate and tell you who you are. As much as others attempt to support you, insecurity and a lack of confidence are inevitable. You become the role you play in an attempt to fill the empty inner void of the loss of self. This only leads to an increasing sense of uneasiness and a feeling of being off-center.

The roles that we play give us the opportunity to experience new ways of being and interact with others in unique ways. But no matter how gratifying a role may be, it is important not to completely dissolve into it. When you have a firm sense of self, you can experiment with different roles and ways of being. Secure with who you are, you are centered and able to be there for others in ways that they need and desire while still being true to you.

I learn more about who I am through the many roles I play.

80. Being Misunderstood

Staying true to yourself and being understood and acknowledged by others for your unique self can be challenging. Others perceive you through the lens of who they are. They will not necessarily be able to see you in the same way that you see yourself. It is likely that you will at times be misunderstood. It is essential to know, honor, and love yourself despite how others perceive you.

When you stand in your truth despite external expectations, some will recognize and admire this and some will feel threatened and insecure. Many people experience a sense of safety, security, and control by playing it safe and fitting into family, cultural, and societal standards. When you are strong and determined enough to think for yourself, you break through the invisible ceiling of conformity that many are trapped in.

From early childhood, we are taught to follow rules and adjust to what and who our parents, teachers, caregivers, and friends would like us to be. Individuality is noticed but not necessarily celebrated. Fitting in, being like others, and conforming to unspoken expectations is met with positive feedback, good grades, and praise. Although you may initially feel a sense of connection and bond with others when you adjust yourself to their expectations, the feeling is usually short-lived. If you cease living your truth, eventually you will feel empty and without an anchor.

Although it can be frustrating and induce feelings of loneliness when others do not understand you, there have been many exceptional people throughout time who have been misunderstood. Among the unique individuals who were misunderstood and went on to achieve greatness are Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Vincent van Gogh.

The sting of not being accepted and being out of step with others is only temporary. You shine a bright and clear light when you are you. You naturally attract those who are able to see and connect with the true you. In the meantime, if you have to go it alone, love and honor yourself. Seek out groups and activities that interest you and speak to who you are. When you are being true to you, lasting and authentic friends and community eventually gather around you.

I accept that I will at times be misunderstood.

81. Take Back Your Power

Is there someone in your life with whom you feel you cannot be yourself? You hear their voice or become aware of their presence or even just start to think of them and you lose the ability to think for yourself. You become who they want you to be and hold on to the hope and wish that they approve of you. Maybe you want to impress them. Perhaps you fear that you will be criticized, laughed at, or rejected, so you do your best to be who you think they want you to be as a protective shield.

In this reactive state, it may feel as if you have no power. The good news is that you can break this spell and reclaim yourself.

When you feel yourself slipping into invisibility or becoming who another wants you to be, ask yourself what is triggering these feelings. What do you most fear, and is it reasonable? What will happen if you are criticized or rejected? What keeps you playing the game of compromising your true self?

Some people stir up strong and confusing emotions within us. Fear is triggered and your true self shrinks deep within. Most likely the feelings that motivate you to take on a false persona do not make sense. They may be connected to early childhood experiences and false beliefs about your safety and security that are buried deep in the unconscious.

As you explore the origin of your emotional reactions, you begin to take back your power. Self-awareness moves you back into the center of your being. Feel your feelings and know that you can take care of yourself with people who trigger you.

I take back my power when I feel my authentic self slipping away.

82. Affairs and the Unexpected

Living an authentic life, becoming aware and listening within, is an accelerated path of growth and evolution. Sometimes this journey inspires peaceful, joyous, and lofty thoughts, feelings, and experiences, but not always. Along the way you may experience times of sudden and unexpected change and confusion. This is inevitable and not a failure.

I recently saw a client, a woman about to turn forty, whose world was turned upside down by an overwhelming and unexpected attraction to another man. The last time I had seen Vicky was a couple of years previous to our session. At that time she was happily married with two young children. Now confused and ridden with guilt over her affair, Vicky wanted to understand why she was drawn and magnetized to another man and what to do now that her life was in shambles.

Vicky is not alone. This kind of experience is more common than we would like to imagine. Many people are jolted out of their predictable life by unforeseen and unexpected people and events. This might be spurred on by the arrival of someone who stirs up unexpected feelings, a partner or spouse who suddenly leaves the relationship, being betrayed, or finding out upsetting information about a loved one. These life-altering occurrences ignite and stir up confusing feelings and emotions that keep us off balance. We no longer know who we are, why the unexpected is happening, and what to do about it.

The root of these life-changing events is within you. What we believe will bring us joy and happiness does not always work out the way we think it will. Unexpected change comes to our door when we are not in sync with our innermost truth. When we make choices and decisions based on what others think we should be doing or when we become attached to an empty dream and desire, our truth emerges in an attempt to set us back on course. When our current reality crumbles, we are forced to look within and rebuild our lives around a more authentic sense of self.

Vicky, like many others, was not intentionally living a false life and suppressing her true thoughts and feelings. She was doing the best she could to be a good wife and mother. She loved her family and was not looking to have an affair. Yet unexpected changes occur when we settle into a false life, even when we are not aware that we are doing this. Change comes as a wake-up call to jolt us into a renewed and heightened state of self-awareness. Life shows us, often in unpleasant ways, what lies deep within our soul and psyche. Taken into places and situations that we would normally avoid, we are directed away from the safety of our comfort zone and, like a baby bird, thrown out of the nest.

Under normal circumstances, we would not choose to be tested in difficult ways. We avoid change and do all we can to control our day-to-day circumstances. Yet we often come to know who we are only when we are pushed and prodded to change and grow.

I look deeply into myself during times of change.

83. What to Do When Unexpected 
Change Comes Your Way

Change is inevitable. When you are on a conscious path of authentic living, it is likely that you will experience surprising and uninvited opportunities for change and transformation. Although change often comes to us disguised as unwelcome loss and chaos, greet it with confidence and the assurance that despite its appearance, you are being guided and ushered into a more authentic life.

If you find yourself in the midst of sudden change, here are a few helpful suggestions.

Do not try to control what is happening. As much as you may not understand why and what you are going through, surrender and let go. When we resist and try to control ourselves and life, change only becomes harder. Once change is in motion, go with the flow.

Keep the focus on you and your process. As tempting as it is to blame or become preoccupied with outer events and other people, what is happening is about you. New circumstances and conditions come along when we are ready. When we need a wake-up call, our soul creates the perfect experience to get our attention. Conditions will right themselves as you accept your lessons, evolve, and transform.

Take time for yourself. Instead of trying to figure out what you may not yet be able to understand, accept your confusion and give yourself some time. If you do not know what to do, don’t do anything. You may need solitude to reflect and listen within. Reconnect with your inner self and be honest. Trust your heart and your intuition.

Have compassion for yourself and the people in your life who are affected by what you are going through. Compassion is the ability to fully accept, love, and care for yourself and at the same time recognize the pain that another is experiencing without judgment. Listen to others and accept the fear and confusion that they may be experiencing. Listen to your own fear, doubt, and stress and keep loving yourself.

Forgive yourself and forgive others, even if you do not feel forgiving and especially loving. Use positive affirmations that support and spark the emergence of your wisest and most loving inner self.

Take baby steps and constantly assess how you feel. Know that it is all right to make mistakes, change your mind, and feel differently from one moment to another. Do not make commitments or long-lasting decisions unless you feel a calm inner assurance that you are on the right path.

Notice new aspects of your personality and inner self that are emerging. For instance, a change in your financial status may motivate you to look for another job. You apply for a job that you might not normally be interested in and are hired. This new job brings out more of your latent leadership abilities and you find that you enjoy it. Take a chance on trying new activities, developing new skills, and meeting and networking with new people.

Know that the confusion, the tumultuous events and changes, will pass. Wait out the storm. Clarity, renewed energy, and a higher state of well-being and inner peace are on the way.

I gracefully accept change.

84. Recognizing Emotional Vampires

Emotional vampire is a term that describes a person who is an expert at eliciting emotional attention from others and using it to their advantage. Attracted to loving and caring individuals who are willing to give of themselves, emotional vampires feed off of positive energy. If you feel unusually tired, anxious, stressed, and irritable after spending time with certain people, you may have been in the company of an emotional vampire.

In a close relationship with an emotional vampire, you are likely to lose your sense of self. Their needs, wants, and desires take priority over your feelings and needs, and eventually yours are discounted altogether. Their constant emotional demands will leave you with little energy to focus on yourself.

Emotional vampires do not have a healthy sense of their core truth. Instead, they are focused on the external world of appearances and boost their low self-esteem by taking on and mimicking the positive attributes of others. They need constant validation and people in their lives whom they can control and manipulate. Without this, they feel as if they are shadows and ghosts who do not exist. Because they are out of touch with their genuine thoughts, emotions, and individuality, they create drama and crisis wherever they go. In this way, they receive the attention they desire and temporarily fill their inner emptiness. Yet this strategy never works for long. The constant craving for emotional energy never ceases. They continue to seek more and more attention and emotional energy.

Emotional vampires lack empathy and the ability to be emotionally present to others. Unable to reciprocate the amount of love and attention they require and often demand, they are extreme takers with no ability to give. If you are in a relationship with an emotional vampire and hope that one day your love and care will heal and bring your partner into wholeness, you will be disappointed. No amount of love will ever be enough. You will never receive as much as you give. Instead, you will likely become drained, resentful, and confused. When you are finally unable to give any more, the emotional vampire will seek out another source of emotional sustenance.

If you feel that someone is draining your energy, they likely are. When you suspect that you are in a toxic relationship, take some time to listen within. Breathe and tune in to your gut impressions. Feelings of weakness, confusion, or powerlessness are signs that someone is siphoning off your energy. Detach from the person or group that you feel is draining you. Spend time reconnecting with your core authentic self. Seek people you can be yourself with and who uplift and energize you.

I take care of myself when others try 
to rob me of my positive energy.

85. Detach with Love

Have you ever ended a relationship but still feel emotionally connected to your past partner long after the breakup? Do you feel as if you lost a part of yourself in a relationship? Are you currently in a relationship and feel as if you no longer know who you are?

In an attempt to harmonize with and understand those with whom we are in a relationship, we all too often allow another’s perspectives, opinions, feelings, and needs to replace our own. Over time, we become overwhelmed and lose contact with our own core self. Even long after we have ended a relationship, we may still be energetically connected to the person we are trying to move on from or let go of.

This visualization will empower you to lovingly detach from another. If you are unable to let go of a past relationship or you feel like you have lost touch with your authentic self, you may be entangled and enmeshed in another’s energy. This exercise will help you free yourself from another and regain your sense of self.

Begin by relaxing in a comfortable position. Think of the person you would like to release and detach from. Close your eyes and take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Imagine that you are inhaling white light down through the top of your head. Let this breath move through your entire body and relax you. As you exhale, imagine that you are releasing any stress or tension from anywhere in your body. Keep breathing in this manner, inhaling cleansing breaths and exhaling tension and stress.

When you feel relaxed, create in your mind’s eye an image of the person you are detaching from. Imagine that the person is standing against a blank background. Notice as many details as you can about them—their clothing, expression, and general demeanor. Now imagine yourself facing this person at about an arm’s distance. Pay attention to any feelings that surface as you do this.

Close your eyes, and starting at the top of your head, scan your body. As your awareness moves down your body, imagine that there are invisible connectors that run from parts of your body to parts of the other person’s body. Take note of which parts are connected. There may be more than one.

Pick the connector that feels strongest, and imagine what it seems to be made of—perhaps a steel rod, a fleshy appendage, a vibration of light, or a rope. Does there seem to be energy flowing through this connector? If so, in which direction is it flowing? Are you giving your energy away or are you receiving the other person’s energy? Do your best to tune in to the energy flow of the connector. If you feel that you are not receiving much information, keep using your imagination and trust your gut feelings.

You now have the opportunity to release this connector. Close your eyes and imagine that you have the power to disconnect yourself from this person. You may want to ask for divine guidance and intervention in order to let go. The other person may not want to disconnect. You might feel as if it is unloving to let go, or you may feel as if you need this connector in order to keep this person in your life. Do not judge or fear what will happen when you disconnect from this person. Let go. When you do let go, don’t be surprised if you initially feel sad or confused. It is necessary to feel your feelings in order to release them. You will soon feel more positive energy flow into your mind, body, and spirit.

Once you have disconnected, take the connector and imagine you are attaching it to the highest source of absolute love. Allow this love to flow through you, especially into the areas where the connector was originally attached. Become aware of your authentic feelings, thoughts, and truth.

Release this person to absolute love.

When you are ready, open your eyes and write down your experience.

I free myself of past relationships.

86. Be Honest and Direct

Being around direct and honest people is easy. You know where you stand with them. Indirect people who fear speaking their truth cannot be trusted. Eventually their truth will surface in an indirect and surprising way. If you feel guarded and hesitant with another and do not know why, it may be that they are hiding something about themselves or their motives. It is difficult to form a real connection with someone who hides their truth.

Be the kind of person who is easy to be with. Trust in what feels right for you. Express your thoughts as clearly and honestly as you can. It takes effort and energy to suppress and tiptoe around your truth. You can be kind and honest at the same time. We are often better able to know our personal truth by expressing and sharing it with others. Once spoken, new ideas, thoughts, and awareness surface.

Sometimes we need time alone to tune in to our beliefs and thoughts. At other times we need to share and express who we are and be with others. When others agree with our truth, we feel a bond and connection to them. Being understood and accepted feels great. When others disagree with our truth, we can feel hurt and angry or we can choose to let it go and let them be who they want to be.

Be strong and do not let others shame or diminish you if they do not share your truth. Allow others to believe and think whatever they want. We are all at different stages of growth and self-awareness. We do not always agree with others and they do not always agree with us. If another’s truth differs from yours, do not take it personally. Allow others their truth in the same way that you want them to listen and respect yours. What is true for you today will likely change. This is natural and normal and a positive sign that you are growing and evolving.

I am direct and honest in my communication with others.

87. Share All of Who You Are

One of our most compelling needs is to be known and loved by another for who we are. Yet we often repress and hide the depth of our innermost true self in intimate relationships. We are especially prone to withholding and not revealing our true thoughts and feelings at the beginning of a new relationship. At one time or another, we have all been ridiculed or criticized for being ourselves and expressing our true thoughts and feelings. Because we fear the sting of rejection, we hide our vulnerabilities and express only the most positive and pleasing side of our personality.

To develop and deepen a relationship, we eventually need to take the risk and express our vulnerabilities and our true thoughts and feelings. If we continue to limit and measure how much we express and share, this withholding only cripples and eventually destroys intimacy. Relationships need to evolve, unfold, and continually create new avenues for mutual expression. Being true to ourselves while in a relationship is a daily process. Some days, being emotionally available to another and taking care of ourselves is a challenge. It may feel easier to just play along and be and do what others expect of us. While it is important to compromise and be there for others in the way that they most need us to, know when you are at risk of not being true to yourself. The line between being present to a loved one in the way that they want you to be and overcompromise is not always clear. It constantly shifts and forces us to reevaluate our needs and the needs of others.

If you are tempted to ignore your true self for the sake of relationship harmony, try these strategies instead.

When you are confronted with what feels like a choice between expressing your truth or aligning with your partner’s preferences and viewpoints, look at this as a win-win instead of a win-lose situation. Too often our first thought is to defer to what our partner may want and what will make them happy. As noble as this might seem, it is essential to know and share your true thoughts, feelings, and preferences. Do not feel embarrassed or shame if what you want or desire is not what your partner wants. This does not make you selfish, egotistical, greedy, or needy. It means that you are aware of who you are and what works best for you.

When you feel at odds with your partner’s needs or desires, ask yourself on a scale of one to five how important it is for you to get what you want. One is not very important, a minor blip on the screen of desires. Five is very important; you feel strongly that being heard and receiving what you desire or need is vital to your well-being. Let go of what is not important and work toward compromise in those things that are crucial for your happiness.

State your feelings and thoughts as clearly as you can. Then be willing to not get your way. There is power in simply expressing who you are knowing there is no guarantee that you will or always should receive what you desire.

When you know what you want, what is real and authentic for you, share your truth. Then really listen to your partner and support the emergence of your partner’s true self.

I lovingly express my preferences and opinions to my partner.

88. Karmic Relationships

Have you ever felt a strong connection with another, yet you have a hard time just being yourself with this person? Intense feelings get stirred up, and as much as you want to have a harmonious relationship, you find yourself acting in ways that do not make sense to you. A karmic relationship is the continuation of a past-life and soul relationship with another. The origin of the word karma is the Sanskrit karman, meaning “action, effect.” In Buddhism and Hinduism, it is used to describe the sum total of a person’s actions from this and a previous existence.

In a karmic relationship, the existing karma may be harmonious. Two people come together from a previous life where they have worked out their ego-centered challenges and love each other with a pure and compassionate love. In these relationships, both people often come back together to work toward a common goal. Usually this goal is to be of service to others and contribute to the greater good. Their authentic self has been integrated into the relationship and they can freely and joyfully be with each other.

However, most karmic relationships are not easy. Two people are brought together to learn how to unselfishly love each other, heal past-life imbalances and wounds, and express their authentic self. These relationships are usually initially passionate and stir up deep feelings of longing and what feels like love. This irresistible magnetism is usually needed, as these relationships can be challenging. Past emotional wounds, fears, anxieties, and egocentric selfishness often surface. There may be periods of harmony and loving connectedness interrupted by conflicts, power struggles, and unfounded fears. Simply put, these relationships can be confusing. Despite the desire to leave a karmic relationship, the magnetic attraction may keep pulling you back. The soul chooses these difficult relationships because of their inherent potential for healing, growth, and wholeness and to refine and experience real love.

If you suspect that you are in a karmic relationship, it is important to recognize that this in an opportunity for growth, profound healing, and the experience of real love. It is also important to recognize that you are on a challenging journey. Although your authentic self is often hidden behind layers of karmic issues and suffering, it is your strongest guide. To heal and transform a difficult karmic relationship into one of harmony and the truest experience of love, the false must be shed.

Begin with awareness. When intense emotions surface or your beloved acts in ways that cause you distress and pain, realize that as distressing as this may be, it is an opportunity for healing. Feel the intense emotions and feelings that surface. Do not dismiss or disregard them, even if they do not make sense. Sometimes all we need to do to release old karmic emotional energy is feel it. As you do this, you let it go.

Do not let anyone convince you that what you feel or think is wrong or not valid. One of the ways you will know that you are in a karmic relationship is that the intensity of emotions and pain seems out of proportion to what is happening in the relationship. Whatever needs healing, forgiveness, and transformation will surface.

Your authentic self is the inner observer that knows and feels what you are experiencing but does not dissolve into the confusion and relationship drama. Listen within to the quiet inner presence that informs you of what love is and what love is not. Your authentic self moves you forward out of victim and aggressor roles and provides you with the strength and wisdom to heal. Take action on what feels true and right for you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Forgive yourself and forgive your partner. This will free you from negative and difficult karma.

Remember that you can only do your part in the healing process. This is all that you are responsible for. You cannot force your partner to perceive issues the same way that you do or heal in the way that you want them to. Yet something magical happens when you act in loving ways toward yourself and confront and heal your inner wounds. You transform and exert an unspoken but powerful influence on your partner and on the relationship.

Some karmic relationships can be healed and transformed. They become a vessel for divine love where both people evolve and express their authentic selves, freely and joyfully. Some karmic relationships are more short-term. You may have come together with another in order to free yourself from oppression and control. In some karmic relationships, the purpose is not always clear. You may meet another for a specific lesson, and once you learn what you need to learn, heal, or transform, the karma is completed and the relationship ends. When you do your part to heal a karmic relationship, you shed long-term negative and difficult karma. Even if the relationship does not continue, you experience the freedom and joy that come with healing.

I recognize the power of my authentic self 
to guide me in karmic relationships.

89. Your Attraction Vibe

The most successful way to attract a loving and compatible partner is to be yourself. Despite the games that both men and women play in an attempt to attract the person of their dreams, being the real you is what works. To attract the most compatible and loving partner, broadcast the strong and powerful bright light energy of your individuality.

The law of attraction states that we create and draw to us what we most think about, feel, and believe. If you act in ways that are not true to who you are or if you hide your true feelings and opinions from others, then you attract confusion and deception. When you know who you are, love yourself, and have confidence in your authentic self, your energy vibe is pure and invincible. How we love ourselves is how others will love us. The invisible beam of who you are magnetizes the similar and compatible energetic light of another.

Dating can be challenging. It often brings out our insecurities and fears. To cope with our vulnerabilities, we often adopt personality traits, behaviors, and qualities that we feel are appealing and attractive to others. Many women spend a lot of money and time enhancing their physical attributes in the hope that it will increase their desirability and attract a partner. If you find yourself contemplating altering your physical appearance, it is important to examine your motives. If you would like to make outer changes that help you feel as beautiful on the outside as you feel on the inside, then your energetic vibration will be harmonious. However, if your motivation is to enhance and change your outer self because you feel lacking and insecure about who you are, no number of outer changes will make you feel truly beautiful. You will likely attract another who believes that dating an attractive women will improve his self-esteem and make up for his lack of self-confidence.

Some other common ways that women lose their sense of self when dating and send out a confusing attraction vibe is by hiding their intelligence or becoming sexual before they are ready. Women may fake an interest in a man’s hobbies and pastimes and hide their true thoughts and feelings. All of these types of false behaviors attract incompatible and inharmonious relationships.

It is not just women who are prone to self-doubt and lack confidence when dating. Men, too, have their insecurities, which they may attempt to make up for by acting in inauthentic and false ways. Many men are sensitive about their financial status and feel emotionally vulnerable. Some may present the image of being financially well-off and successful in their career when they are actually struggling to find their way. Others may hide their emotional vulnerability and appear to be confident and strong when they are actually unsure of themselves and want very much to be loved. Some men do not want to ask for help for fear of appearing weak. They pretend to be in charge and immune to the insecurities of dating and falling in love. Acting in false ways and being inauthentic creates dissonance in a man’s attraction vibe as much as it does for women. They send out a mixed energetic signal that attracts women who are faking it as much as they are.

If you feel that you are not always confident in dating, that you lack certain attractive physical attributes, or that you do not make enough money, there are others who feel the same way. Your vulnerabilities make you human and lovable. Stepping out into the world just as you are is a courageous act, especially when dating. Love all of who you are. Be kind to those you meet, even those you do not feel a connection to. They, too, are looking for love. Accept your imperfections and others will feel more comfortable and at ease with you.

Being you is the only way to attract harmony and a loving and true partner. You will still likely meet and date a few who are not “the one.” But when you are being true to who you are, you will quickly recognize who you are not compatible with and be able to move on. Being authentically you sends out an invisible beam of light that will draw your soulmate to you.

I express my authentic self when dating.

90. Relationships: The Soul’s Agenda

The dream of finding our forever soulmate often leads us into the true work of love. Although we imagine days and nights of bliss and heaven-sent, uplifting love, a soulmate often brings us unexpected challenges and provokes deep healing. We would like to believe that there is a perfect partner who will fulfill our needs and make up for any relationship difficulties we may have experienced, but the soul is not here to simply float along in unchallenged harmony. The true work of love is to break us open and move us beyond complacency and into transformation. In our search to find our perfect love, we often discover parts of ourselves that need healing, love, and acceptance. Loving another can be a direct route into our fears and insecurities. In this way, relationships become fertile ground for self-growth and awareness.

When we are highly invested in finding a partner who is the answer to our desires, wants, and needs, we forget that love requires that we let down our barriers and allow the full force of cosmic power to redefine who we are. Not everyone is capable of loving in this way. We all too often settle for a partner with whom we share common interests, sexual attraction, and material security.

As much as we want to find our true soulmate, the soul may have another agenda. There are mysterious undercurrents that attract and magnetize others into our life. Even though there is a purpose to every relationship, we do not always know why someone is in our life and it is not always clear why they leave. When a relationship comes to an end, it is not always someone’s fault. Blaming ourselves or others when things do not work out is counterproductive.

Surrender to the flow and current of love. There is a powerful purpose within all of your relationships. When you act with integrity and share your authenticity, you draw from the well of deep, soulful love.

I surrender to love.

91. Navigating Change

When you are on a conscious path of self-awareness and authentic living, time seems to speed up. As your self-knowledge increases, you may find the outer circumstances and conditions of your life changing as well. These changes further accelerate your evolution. To keep pace with your increased self-awareness, your connections with others will intensify and also go through a process of growth and change.

Your relationships are an important vehicle through which continued soul transformation occurs. They provide you with the perfect opportunity to integrate, share, and embody new awareness and insight. To better navigate your way through relationships in these accelerated times, here are a few suggestions.

Let go of your thoughts and beliefs of how a relationship should be. Relationships are not static. They need to flow, evolve, and move into new forms. As you evolve and change, so will your relationship needs and desires.

Know yourself. You are a microcosm of the universe. When you discover who you are, you know all of life. Do not settle for a surface awareness; plunge deep into your heart, mind, and spirit. The better you know yourself, the more you will know and understand others.

Confront and work through your past emotional wounds and issues. Challenge yourself to push beyond your pain. Do not expect a new partner or lover to heal your past and make up for past relationships.

Be honest and speak your truth and encourage your partner to do the same. Look into your partner’s eyes and listen to what they are expressing. When your partner triggers uncomfortable feelings such as frustration or anger, practice sitting with these emotions without reacting immediately. Treat your emotions as a guide that provides insight into what within you needs your attention and healing.

Do not become lazy and complacent. Many people are attracted to others who exhibit strengths and characteristics that they feel deficient in. While we can benefit from being with others who embody skills and characteristics that we do not have, this cannot become a long-term substitute for what we feel we lack. Challenge yourself to examine your weaknesses and perceived deficits and take action. An imbalanced relationship will not last.

Trust that your authentic self will guide you as to what is true and right for you and what is not. We often talk ourselves out of what we intuitively know we need in order to get along and keep the peace. While this may create a sense of security, not being authentic will eventually drain your energy and create an unhealthy inner and outer environment.

Depend on yourself and be true to who you are. In this way, you will be able to love others more purely and freely. Relationship success is not measured in longevity. Allow your relationships to draw you into the sacred and true work of love. Bless, love, and forgive your lovers, friends, partners, and all who have shared and continue to share this journey with you.

I continue to grow and evolve in my relationships.

92. Look into the Soul

Has anyone ever looked deeply into your eyes and seen the true you? Not just your vulnerabilities, your hopes and fears, but the light of your soul as well. The best of you that only seems to come to life when another acknowledges it. We live our lives in the hope that the light of our soul shines brightly out into this world and is known. When another has the patience and bravery to see who we are, we are blessed.

Have you ever looked deeply into another’s eyes and seen the soft glow of their soul? We shy away from this kind of seeing and being seen. Be brave enough to hold the immense essence of another in your gaze. Give the gift that we crave so much from one another. We want loyalty, love, and devotion, but we also yearn to be seen. Being present to another’s truth, without expectation and judgment, fills the empty spot within. Give this to another and to yourself. When you look, really look.

A friend of mine is a beautiful woman both inside and out. By the accepted standards of beauty, she has it all. She is tall, with a great figure, long hair, and sparkling eyes. When people meet her husband, they are often surprised. She once told me that when she introduced him to her coworkers at a work dinner party, a few jaws dropped open. Shorter than his wife, with a receding hairline and a bit of a belly, he does not look the part of the gorgeous blond’s husband. Their romance began the day they met at a wine-tasting fundraiser. She went with a date and he was there volunteering for the charity. When he handed her a glass of wine, their eyes met. Accustomed to being the object of men’s stares, she did not expect to be truly seen by the friendly man passing out wine samples. Yet when they looked at each other, her stomach quivered and a little shock of energy ran up her spine. A few days later, she asked around and found out that he worked in the same building that she did. Without hesitation, she went down to his office armed with a good excuse and reintroduced herself. Again, she felt caught in the spell of his eyes.

“It was not a sexual look or a look of desire. Men have looked at me this way for most of my adult life,” she said. “When he looked at me, something deep within me came to life. My soul leapt up and did a bit of a somersault. I felt like the real me. I still feel this way when my husband looks at me.”

Gently look at another in the way that you would like to be seen. Give this gift to those you love and care about and your relationships will naturally unfold with truth and honesty. Be willing to be seen and don’t hide yourself away. Give yourself and others the real you.

I let myself be seen and I am willing to see others.

93. Let Love Break You Open

If you have never been rejected, betrayed, disappointed, made to feel like a fool, left, or dismissed by someone you love, you will be. It is inevitable. You cannot love without experiencing the full spectrum of love’s bounty. When this happens, be brave. Act with courage and don’t sweep your pain under the rug. Let the force of your grief, pain, loss, and sadness flow through you like a raging river. Resist the temptation to hold it all together. Submit and allow yourself to be shattered. Feeling the fear, unworthiness, anger, and despair that come with the loss of love may be one of the bravest things you will do.

Love will break you open and then rebuild you bit by bit, not with the false hopes and fantasies of immature love, but with its raw truth. This love is not for sissies, and it is not for brutes who cannot submit and humble themselves to its power and wisdom. Not everyone is able to enter into love’s innermost sanctuary. When you do, the false drops away and you stand naked and vulnerable before the fiery blaze of your soul’s passion.

You are here to bear witness to the gnawing, uncontrollable, and unsatisfied hunger of your soul. Though we attempt to quiet and pacify it by believing that a safe and subdued version of love is what we need and desire, it cannot be so easily tamed. Listen to the rumble of your authentic voice in your soul, heart, and gut. It is asking you to become aware of the fears and insecurities that you try to avoid and run from. Love with passion and accept both its frailty and its eternal nature.

You have probably loved many times and you likely still feel that you can somehow lose love. You cannot. Every time you take the risk and love and every time this love seems to dissipate, leaving you empty and searching, your heart opens to a greater depth of truth. Like the petals of a flower that delicately open and reveal a unique essence and fragrance and then fall to the ground and sprout new growth, your love goes through the cycles that are inherent in all of life. Love in human expression is subject to its seasons and rhythms.

The origin of love is the eternal all that is. It can never truly depart or be diminished. If a love relationship ends, wait patiently for love’s reemergence. It will reappear in a new form, a new essence, and again capture and work its magic through you. Don’t resist the rawness of love. Let it open you with its promise, and feel the sting when it appears to fade. Let your tears flow and nurture the holy ground where the seed of your sorrow lies. If you bar yourself from love’s journey, you stay put on dry and empty ground. Dig deep and let your soul have its way.

I love with passion.