This is a deeply personal column for me. Here’s what I want to share with you all: the word discipline has haunted me for a long time. Putting in the work so that you can sow the rewards later was not something that was instilled in me from a young age. Rather, I learned how to get by.
I was an average student in school – with a few exceptions, such as the humanities, in which I had always excelled without much effort. And therein laid the issue for me: the world as I knew it at the time was rewarding me for my “mediocrity.” I thought: all I have to do is pay attention during class, and I will pass my exams when the time comes. If I did homework after a certain age, I do not remember. Even if I did, it was not with the enthusiasm and effort one would expect looking from the outside in.
Then, when it was time to step into the real world, I felt crippled, as if I had to play catch up for all the years in which I should have been putting in the time and work. In other words, the foundations were not there, and because I did not know any better before, it all reached a tipping point once I got to college. The lack of self-discipline, coupled with my frustration during my later teens and early twenties for my inability to come out of the closet and live authentically as a gay man, was a recipe for total disaster and self-loathing. I went from being the student that would get by unscathed in high school to receiving my first “F” grades. I felt ashamed; the mask had fallen. My ruse had been discovered.
Trust me, it was a painful journey to get to the point at which I was able to understand that I had to pick up my broken pieces and rebuild my own worth and self-esteem from the ground up.
I’m here to tell you that it is possible. I have done it – and continue to do it on a daily basis. It all starts with the acknowledgment that something is not right. Recognize what it is that you have been neglecting – it is more often than not, staring us in the face. After that has been established, make the necessary changes. It will not be easy; there will be a part of you that is comfortable, and even content, being broken. Pay no mind to that voice inside your head. Silence your inner critic by taking action – small as it may seem. And as you grow in conscience, one day at a time, seek the help you need.
When I was ready, a group of people who got together to read and discuss the spiritual guidebook A Course in Miracles magically appeared – seemingly out of nowhere. That was the beginning of my spiritual awakening.
I am advocating that you get in touch with yourself, with who you really are, outside of labels: mother / father, wife / husband, your profession, your religion, your sexual orientation, your gender, your race or your socioeconomic status. All those things are not the totality of who you are as a human being. Your mission, what you came to this planet to offer, awaits you. Get very clear on who you are and then go be it, authentically and unapologetically for the rest of your time here on Earth.
Eric Faria is an emotional freedom specialist, TV show host and producer, speaker and columnist. To contact him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.