“To thine own self be true.”
This is a central theme in life, and one that yoga invites you to visit over and over again.
Satya, one of the yamas (guidelines of yoga), is all about being truthful–especially to yourself! For if you are not being honest and honouring of your own truth, then how can you extend that out into your family and life?
Every time you come to your mat to practice asana, every breath is asking you, “What is true for me right now?” How the pose looks for you today may be very different from what it looked like yesterday, or how you will express it tomorrow.
Meditation is a constant practice of truth. There is nowhere to hide from your thoughts in meditation. Instead, this practice helps you quiet and choose your thoughts more mindfully. It creates a more intimate relationship with the essence of who you are, which is also the essence of your truth.
Every area of life invites a deeper discovery of what is true for you in this moment. The food you eat, the activities you choose, the people you spend time with, the way you arrange your home, and on and on.
For me, part of my journey of personal growth has been, in large part, realizing how to be true to myself and not focus on external sources (other people, culture) to tell me what is true for me.
Yoga has been enormously valuable in this self-evolution of releasing that which is not my truth, and allowing my true self to shine forth.
“Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.”
~ Carol Mosely-Braun
Sometimes it’s difficult to be true to yourself because you feel responsible to someone else. This is hardest with those you’re close to, such as family, as well as in the realm of business.
In these situations, where the path is not always clear, it takes a dedicated practice of being open to many different perspectives–not necessarily the perspectives of others, but seeing things from your own view in many different ways.
Yoga is great at helping reveal different perspectives!
If you’re struggling with wondering how you can fully live your truth without letting someone else down, remember that it is not up to you to fulfil the expectations of others. Instead, ask yourself how you can make decisions that align with your truth in ways that are as harmonious as possible.
By choosing to be true to yourself you actually empower others by showing them it is possible, and a way to live in the highest integrity. Take your time making decisions, especially when they involve others, but be sure that you are choosing what is best for your own heart and path in life.
You may find that by communicating clearly and skillfully, with kindness and respect–even if it’s uncomfortable at first–you can release the expectations you feel others have for you (and those they actually hold, which are not always the same thing).
And what a huge relief that is, eh? Letting go of expectations is like taking all the pressure off your shoulders.
However, we never have control over how someone responds to our own choices. So if it doesn’t go as you envisioned, but you are doing what you need to do for yourself, trust that somehow things are unfolding as they need to, and that the other person now has an opportunity to reflect and grow if they so choose.
Ultimately, it is up to you to live YOUR life, while allowing others their own experiences.
When in doubt, take a deep breath, and let your heart guide the way.
Being True to Yourself:
“Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.”
~ Hardy D. Jackson
“Accept everything about yourself–I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end–no apologies, no regrets.”
~ Clark Moustakas
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
~ Maya Angelou
“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”
~ Janis Joplin
“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
~ Dolly Parton
“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts”
~ Albert Einstein