As a woman in her forties, I’ve heard a lot of stories playing my head for a long, long time.
In my childhood, it was “Be a good girl.”
In my teens, it was “Make sure you belong”.
In my twenties, it was “Do something impressive”.
In my thirties, it was “Haven’t you figured this life stuff out, yet?”
In my forties, it was “Time is running out. Hurry up!”
At least until I said “No more!”
You see, it wasn’t until about a year or so ago, I honestly recognized this message playing on an endless loop was not mine.
“That’s not my voice. Those aren’t my beliefs. Those aren’t my intentions.”
They belong to fear.
I am not fear. I am love.
Who helped me see that I am capable of more than my negative self-talk would allow?
Rewind back to 1987, as a sophomore in college, who was freshly moved into my very first apartment. The world was my oyster! I could do whatever I wanted. No parents. No dorm RA.
For the first time in my life I was fully in charge of managing my life.
And a certain Ms. Oprah was also a sophomore — as in her second season had just begun. And therein began a TV friendship that continues to this day.
When I had a bad day, Oprah’s interview with a random-someone who had suffered a personal tragedy, well beyond my comprehension, helped me keep my pity-party in perspective.
When I had a good day, she was there to remind me to share the joy and goodwill with others.
She didn’t just tell me what to do or how to do it. She showed me.
Oprah has her share of haters — which of course baffles me — but I don’t idolize Oprah or put her up on a pedestal. Rather, I appreciate what she has chosen to focus her life, energy, money, and influence on.
And that is helping others fulfill their own life journey here. She a fabulous teacher.
So when she came out of the spirituality closet and began to teach me about authors such as Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, and Michael Singer, I listened. And watched. And read. And soaked it up like a bone-dry sponge at a Saharan oasis.
These are the people that taught me to replace the noise and hear love. One book, one interview, one teaching at a time.
But I, alone, did the real work.
I, alone, made the difficult choices to end relations that didn’t feed my spirit.
I, alone, created new boundaries and new priorities as to what my life could be.
I, alone, put myself out into the world as authentically as I could. Even when it was terrifying.
I, alone, fully committed to the work I am here to create, foster, and share with you. My work of releasing my own self-expression in order to help others release theirs.
How was I able to be courageous enough to make use of the wisdom of sages?
Love. The unconditional kind. And perseverance. The get-up-every-time-you-fall-
My husband and a few key friends who loved me through the difficult, and sometimes very dark, times.
As confused as those nasty voices could make me, the love of others shined a light I was sometime unable to shine for myself.
Over the course of about 6 years, I’ve finally begun to hear my own heartstory over the the cruelty and repetition of my inner critic.
Some days are more challenging than others. But it’s happening. One step and one day at a time.
Surround yourself with people who love you no matter what. Seek out sources of inspiration that encourage you to love who you are right now. And take action in your life.
It’s okay to say no to what and who no longer serves you. You always have that right. Always, always.
Oprah opened doors for me that no one did. Sure she’s on TV. Yes, she’s a ginormous celebrity that I will most likely never meet.
But that encourages me all the more. The ripples from our love and our life’s work don’t have to be contained to the people we personally know. Our ever-connected and interconnected world has it’s drawbacks, but it also has its advantages.
Reach out and share your story, your heart, and your heartstories. We want to hear all them in all their glory!
If you need someone to remind you that you are magnificent, don’t hesitate to email me. I’ll be happy to tell you.
Victoria Prozan is a business storyteller who specializes in helping entrepreneurs self-express through their businesses. She’s obsessed with all aspects of communication — especially words, design, and creativity. Her weekly web show Design SALT is all about bringing design literacy to modern entrepreneurs and her DIY guide to creating amazing names and tag line can be found here.