Give Your (Most Meaningful) Self A Voice

We are not good at listening for the truth because we are trained to cover it up. Ask any life coach, and they will tell you that you have two parts to yourself. (Ask them as well if they wish their profession had a better name… the good ones will say yes. But I digress).

There's your social self, which is schooled in DOs and DON'Ts and SHOULDs and SHOULDN'Ts. Do get a job and earn a regular paycheck. You should save enough money so you can buy a home. Do make sure that you have life insurance, and don't fritter your money away on things that aren't investments. Otherwise, what will you have to show for yourself?

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Then there's your authentic self. That part of you that says, "Heck no! I want to quit my job and live in a camper for a year. I'll figure out where to work when I'm done." (I have not done this, though I would). The trouble is that the authentic self doesn't have words like the social self. It speaks through the joy you feel when you think about travel, and the dread you feel when you think about waiting until retirement to see the world.

 

(Or maybe that's me I'm talking about?)

I'm not advocating that you quit your job and travel unless you want to. I am suggesting that the most interesting stories lie at the intersection between what we really want and what we think we should do (Eat, Pray, Love anyone?). Our job as writers is to give the wordless, authentic self a voice.

It's why we write so many things that will never become a finished story or land before an audience. We're learning to forget the DOs and DON'Ts and listen.