When did you first realize you were not alone in this spiritual thing called soul-journing? Was it when you started talking to others like yourself–fierce women who had gone through battles, storms, triumphs, letdowns and everything in between–and still smiled, dreamed and dared to make incredible plans for their futures? What makes one woman lay down and never get up again, and another woman be determined to never give up?

The more I speak to others in an authentic way–stripped bare of pretense, attitudes and premeditated expectations–the more I understand that we are all linked on many levels. We need each other physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We need to hear one another’s stories of sorrow, resilience, perseverance and hope. Too often, particularly with women, we only want to put our best foot forward. We want to present our “I’ve got this, girl” face to the world, all the time, even when things aren’t going right. And when we do that, we miss the opportunity for growth to occur. Not only is there a woman like me who desperately wants to share her story of triumph and continued self-actualization, but there’s a woman who desperately needs to hear it. But if we all keep hiding our truths, then no one knows. I’m here to make it stop.

Let’s stop smiling when we feel like crying. Let’s stop putting up with less than we deserve. Let’s stop accepting the leftovers in life. Let’s stop making our sisters feel “less than” because they aren’t skinny, pretty, smart, accomplished, rich, married, raising children, whatever. We need to stop forcing women to have these expectations placed upon them of always having to DO something. We are called human BEings, not human DOings. One of the first things I’ve realized in my journey is that when I stop focusing on what I expect others to be, it leaves a lot of time and space for me to work on myself. When I stop pretending, about everything, my authenticity guides me like a river to the ocean. It’s not forced and it’s not fabricated. Honestly, it’s quite the opposite.

When I started just doing ME, it was like, “Whoa, watch out!” I am discovering along my soul-journ that as long as I am doing things from a place within my core that’s true and passionate, life holds no boundaries. I am literally set free to be the woman I was designed from birth to be. I believe our essence–our authentic self–resides in us since birth, and waits for us to have life experiences before it presents itself. Being YOU takes time, patience, maturity and a willingness to accept its revelation. You have to let it marinate before it’s ready for all of its layers, flavors and nuances to unfold. You have to be ready to live it as your truth.

I consider myself lucky. When my inner essence called to me, I listened. Oh, I’m not going to lie. It didn’t happen at first. I was busy being a wife, mother, salesperson extraordinaire and entrepreneur. And I’m still all those things. But I had to learn to let that enchanting voice of truth whisper to me, then guide me along the path in all of my affairs. It is like my own inner North Star which I have carried all along.

So when you think of your own travels as a soul-journer–your own truth as it’s unfolding inside you–what are you learning about yourself? Maybe it’s that you are not working in a career that generates passion. Or maybe you are not in a romantic partnership that brings the love you deserve. For me, I had to walk through seasons of heartbreak in my marriage and mothering. I had to watch my body attack itself and become my enemy. I had to struggle financially in an economy that was a devourer of dreams. All of these things threatened me and my beliefs in who I was as a woman.

Yet I had something to sustain me through it all. I had an irrepressible desire to be true to myself, and the power that I knew I carried within me. My will to persevere was uncontainable, so much so that I could not keep from sharing it with others. The more I divulged, the more I realized how interwoven our lives are on this planet. I became amazed as I listened to stories from strangers who, just like me, had come through incredible, sometimes horrific, circumstances, and were still able to be brave and daring.

So what makes one woman able to walk through fire and still carry on? From everything I’m hearing and learning, and in knowing my own truth, it’s this—we are confident in our abilities to survive and thrive. In your lifetime, many things build your confidence but there’s nothing like surviving adversity that sharpens steel. Jay Z once said, “I’ve learned more from failures than success. I don’t know how you learn from success. I haven’t figured that part out.” Life is a series of trial and error, falling down and getting up, two steps forward and one step backward. No one has a charmed life all the time. Conversely, no one has a cursed life all the time.

We must learn to accept the fact that we are all called to do something great, and this calling lies within us if we will only listen. However, we spend too much time getting bogged down with life’s minutiae, wringing our hands over bad things that have happened to us and fretting about the future (according to Abraham Hicks, “Worry is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”). Instead of focusing on things that have already come to pass and are behind us, or circumstances that are beyond our control, what if we focused on following our passion? What if we listened to that voice that keeps urging us to follow a different path than the one we’re one now? What if we were true to ourselves, and not to the voices of the world telling us to be something we’re not?

Ask yourself this question: If I could start being exactly who I wish to be today, what would I look like? And I’m not talking about a physical manifestation of yourself. I’m talking about your SOUL, your ESSENCE. If we were all viewed by the content of our character, the significance of our spirit and the earnestness of our essence, how would we shine? Would others be drawn to the beauty of our substance? Would we be the kind of person that could make other emulate us and want to know us deeply?

My hope for myself, and for everyone I meet, is that we continue to go deep into our true selves. By doing so, we will develop relationships that are intimate, profound, life-affirming and far-reaching. We can change the world with relationships like this. Hearts get healed, spirits are soothed and we are all transformed into an authentic version of who we were designed to be. Your essence will speak truth to you.

Self_Love_Rebel_Spring_2016_Essence_Truth_Karen

Karen Alleyne-Means is a motivational speaker and high-level mindset & success sales transformation specialist.  Karen possesses a deep-rooted passion for supporting personal and professional development for women internationally.  She has impacted many people through her life-changing principles of authentic and abundant living.  She is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, author and coach who specializes in helping women overcome their self-limiting beliefs so that they can step into their own greatness.  Her soulful messages have been featured in magazines, radio stations, and more.

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