Getting Back To The Source: Tuning Others Out To Hear Yourself

I've been in an emotional rut for a while now. Some would call this a quarter life crisis, but I'd prefer to call it Valerie's Time of Reflection. Feeling lost and even depressed, I've pulled out every self-help book I could get my hands on. I'm not a die-hard supporter of self-titled life gurus telling others how to live their lives, but I felt that maybe someone's inspirational jargon could rekindle my dwindling inner flame . Up until last week, none of them were doing the trick. I wasn't here for writers telling me to "follow my bliss" and all that other Oprah and Deepak Chopra-esque stuff. I felt as if I followed my bliss, only to end up in a place that feels one-couch-more-comfortable than Hades' underworld.

I bought Kelly Cutrone's "If you Have To Cry Go Outside - And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You" on a whim last year when Border's was going out of business. I had been a fan of Cutrone's no nonsense attitude on her one-season Bravo show, Kell On Earth, and figured her book would be a cheap, easy read filled with her brashness and classic one-liners ( i.e. "I work in fashion because the world is such a heavy place that I need to be in this industry that fights for five hours to get a dress.") It honestly is one of the best purchases I've made. I am by no way endorsing Cutrone's book to everyone. Her approach is very direct, and I'm pretty sure her new-age views on religion would be more than most can handle. However, I do believe that many things she has written in the book can be super beneficial to many people.

A particular statement that has stuck with me is the following:
You'll find as you set out after your dreams that most people don't really want you to transcend the situation that you were born into. Perhaps they are scared for you, perhaps they don't believe in you, or perhaps they're just nasty, negative naysayers. Whichever it is, I advise you to stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they're your parents. (pg. 17)
Such simple, yet profound statements. As much as we love to convince ourselves and others that we are proactive in choosing our friends and support teams, I believe we're really not. Let's face it, unless something traumatic happens (like your best friend seducing your boyfriend) we usually tend to stick with the people we have, keeping them around even if they are anything but supportive of us. And in doing so, we allow their negative energies to infiltrate our systems clouding our judgements and voices of reason.

How many times have most of us shared our deepest life passions with a friend or family member, only to hear them say something along the lines of "uh...are you crazy? You can't do that. You're not good enough."? I'm a betting woman, so I'd say too many times. Allowing those with such pessimistic views on what moves and inspires us, tends to take us off the course that we know we should be on.

Looking back, I know I am in my rut because I have allowed the voices of others to speak over my own, hence pushing me down a road I know I should not be on. At first, I felt ashamed about this, thinking that I am too strong and determined to have let this happen. But, with careful reflection I realize that this is a life lesson that many of us have to learn -- one of those trials by fire. Now that my shame has subsided, I am allowing myself time to be still and listen to myself -- figure out my needs and wants. Being still and listening to ones self is definitely the first step towards living the life that one needs and deserves.

Valerie Jean-Charles is a 23 year old community servant and writer in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BA in Political Science from Fordham University. Follow at @Empressval to join her never-ending conversations about everything and then some.

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