Lis­ten to your in­ner voice

Red - - Contents -

Mine has been an ex­tra­or­di­nary road trip of a life. At 17, ex­pelled from school, I opted to be­come a mother in an at­tempt to give my life a sense of pur­pose. I gained the lat­ter in abun­dance, with the birth of my daugh­ter send­ing me into a spi­ral of achieve­ment, which ended with the cre­ation of Color Blind Cards, my mul­ti­cul­tural greet­ing-card busi­ness. The cards were ex­ported around the world, and started a na­tional con­ver­sa­tion on rep­re­sen­ta­tion and di­ver­sity. I was in­vited to join round ta­bles with the Prime Min­is­ter, de­liver as­sem­blies to chil­dren in South Africa, and re­ceived an MBE for ser­vices to en­trepreneur­ship – all by the age of 34. I was your clas­sic suc­cess-against-theodds story. Be­hind the scenes, how­ever, I was strug­gling. Plagued by de­pres­sion, my self-es­teem was non-ex­is­tent. Hav­ing spent 15 years try­ing to be happy and at­tempt­ing to ‘fix’ my­self (when I wasn’t bro­ken to start with), the zest for life I feel to­day is a 360-de­gree turn on the angst that used to be hid­den be­hind my out­wardly ‘suc­cess­ful’ life.

The dif­fer­ence? To­day my sense of self isn’t dic­tated by what I do for a liv­ing. I’ve be­come ac­quainted with my true self. I’ve found my voice – and my stan­dards – and won’t com­pro­mise on ei­ther. To find it re­quires peel­ing back the lay­ers and re­mem­ber­ing who we are. Pur­pose is the tini­est Rus­sian doll nes­tled at the cen­tre of our­selves and set­ting her free can trans­form your life. This is what I’ve learnt…


For me, my re­la­tion­ship with my mother was the Achilles heel in my life. Mum had prob­lems through­out my childhood and while this af­fected me and my sib­lings as kids, as an adult I’d un­con­sciously al­lowed it to be the ex­cuse for many of the things that weren’t work­ing in my own life. I’d made my mum the bad­die in my story, and when I fi­nally woke up to that fact, I was able to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for al­low­ing my­self to con­tinue be­ing im­pacted by my childhood dys­func­tion. I called up my mum and I apol­o­gised for not see­ing all the won­der­ful things she did for us as chil­dren. The mu­se­ums we vis­ited, the books we read, the bal­let classes she fer­ried me to. That call trans­formed our re­la­tion­ship – it was heal­ing for her, and gave me per­mis­sion to stop be­ing a vic­tim.


The real you, that is. That in­ner voice that tells you ev­ery­thing you need to know. Call it your con­science, in­tu­ition or sixth sense. Com­mit to creating mo­ments when in­spired thoughts about your pur­pose can oc­cur. In the past year, I’ve de­voted more time than ever be­fore to hon­our­ing me. One ran­dom dance class (hav­ing not danced for many, many years) touched me so deeply that childhood mem­o­ries I’d for­got­ten came swim­ming to the sur­face of my con­scious­ness. I was reac­quainted with an old part of my­self, and I was left in­spired by the power of los­ing an hour to pure ex­pres­sion.


So many of us have ideas or pas­sion projects out­side our day job that feel like a dream or missed op­por­tu­nity. We of­ten cre­ate ex­cuses for not start­ing them, wait­ing for the per­fect set of cir­cum­stances, but there is no such thing. In that mo­ment back in 2007, as I looked for a card for my daugh­ter and dis­cov­ered there were none with black faces on them, it didn’t mat­ter that I hadn’t a clue how to run a busi­ness. I felt com­pelled to take ac­tion. One thing lead to an­other be­cause I was in my flow… and this is cru­cial. Let go of your need to have a full-scale plan and just throw your­self into tak­ing ac­tion that in­spires you.


For years, I’d go through phases of wak­ing up feel­ing there was a cloud above my head, un­til a friend in­tro­duced me to the idea that I could take re­spon­si­bil­ity for my mood. She gave me a book about the ef­fects of not com­plain­ing for 21 days, and so I em­barked on the chal­lenge. First, it changed the words I spoke, then it changed my thoughts. It im­pacted my mood and, as a re­sult, my re­la­tion­ships. Fi­nally, it shifted my old ways of be­ing that had be­come my norm.


Re­al­is­ing that the nig­gling voice in my head wasn’t ac­tu­ally me, that I was able to ob­serve it at a dis­tance and with ob­jec­tiv­ity, was a game-changer. I used to hate ‘be­ing’ with me, so I avoided it by work­ing all hours to es­cape the si­lence that might force me to look in­ward and ac­tu­ally feel. Dis­cov­er­ing that my neg­a­tive voice was sep­a­rate to me changed ev­ery­thing. The only way to get in touch with that true self is to re­con­nect to her and, in time, you’ll feel what is right and true for you.


Car­ing for my dad who died in 2016, seven weeks af­ter my wed­ding in Ja­maica, changed my life. Ev­ery­thing that I'd placed so much im­por­tance on was sud­denly mean­ing­less, but from within that space be­tween life and death, mean­ing emerged. My dad was my per­son. We were in­cred­i­bly close, and I ex­pe­ri­enced him com­ing to terms with the end­ing of his life as though I was liv­ing it with him. I leaned into the pain and al­lowed my­self to feel all of it, and, as a re­sult, was avail­able to learn from it. It’s hard, but dive into the grief, and be with it un­til the hurt morphs into ac­cep­tance and wis­dom.


As my dad neared the end of his life, I was amazed by the four hospice car­ers whose job was to en­able an­other hu­man be­ing to exit the world com­fort­ably, and sup­port that per­son’s fam­ily dur­ing this process. They blew my mind with their self­less­ness. Af­ter my dad died, the im­pact of such self­less care stayed with me and taught me the joy of be­ing there for oth­ers with­out per­sonal ben­e­fit. Vol­un­teer­ing and acts of kind­ness re­mind us of what is im­por­tant and nour­ish our soul. Pur­pose by Jes­sica Huie

(Hay House) is out now.

Shoes, £195, LK Ben­nett

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.