“The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living” — Socrates


What does it look like to live a self-examined life? Is it true that the unexamined life is not worth living as per Socrates? For me, there is no doubt to the truth of that statement. In fact, a long time ago I bet my life on it, and still am.

Life is about growth, and the courage to live in integrity with your values…especially when that means taking bold steps to live outside the box of the heavy conditioned BS that you have been taught to believe is good for you.

Are you currently living from a place of self-honesty, and examining what makes you happy?

Is the effort that is required to reach for a greater level of happiness worth giving up your false self, and the accompanying fear of walking the road less traveled? You cannot know unless you are willing to live in alignment with your authentic needs. Are you ready to give up the plethora of misconceptions you have believed are true about you but, in reality, not your true nature?

This takes hard work and a commitment to discover the truth about you…What matters? What is important in your life? Who do you ‘intend’ to ‘become?’ What loving influence can you offer to the awakening of others?

“To Thine Own Self Be True” — Shakespeare

It is amazing to me that many people do not know their needs and values. I was one of them for a long time. Once you begin to explore the ideas that you have identified as ‘you’, it is exhausting and unsettling. Once you begin to question whether the life you have been living is bringing you the level of joy you really want, you have taken a necessary first step to living for you. Congratulations!

Part of the process is the willingness to acknowledge where you may be lying to the ‘man in the mirror,’ acting out of fear as you desire to keep your life ‘safe’ in the known and familiar. For the courageous, breaking your past commitments to mediocrity and the ‘small’ voice inside of you is a scary next step, and it is scary indeed.

There is no other way to make changes to your life if you want to live in principle with your most important values. Unfortunately, the loss of ‘safety’ in the familiarity of the known can be so terrifying that the insecurity is overwhelming. It can feel as though you are hanging off a cliff, all alone and frightened out of your mind.

“When your desire to be free to live an empowered life is greater than your fear of the pain, you act and take on the adventure of reinventing your life.”

How do you live your best life, aligned with your own needs/values while creating meaning, purpose and ultimately joy? Read on….

1. “ Pain is the great transformer, and one of our best teachers.”

The journey to self-understanding i.e. self-awareness is filled with perilous traps…monsters, dragons and flesh-eating bacteria. Okay, maybe I am being a bit dramatic, but you get my point.

That is how it can feel as you make the decision to awaken to all you can be. Your choice can feel overwhelming challenging, but it does enliven you to new unexplored possibilities. Pain is a great teacher albeit not fun, and it does open up our ability to take the steps to freedom from the known.

“The Pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is opportunity for growth.”— Stephen Richards

Pain will allow you to go to places within yourself like nothing else will. Pain will show you the path to dissolving those parts of your life that are not in your best interest. It can “force” you to make changes that you wouldn’t otherwise consider.

“I have been bent and broken, but I hope into a better shape.” — Charles Dickens

We pay attention when we are in pain. Often times, what we need is to place our focus on what matters most, and pain will take us there so we can reclaim our path moving in a healthy way for our highest and best.

“Pain serves as a mechanism to wake you up that the life you are living is not in alignment with your nature.

2. “No One Saves Us But Ourselves. No One Can and No One May. We Ourselves Must Walk The Path” — Gautama Buddha

“Teachers can light the way for us”

You wouldn’t drive to a new destination without getting out a map or perhaps your GPS would you? I have witnessed in my life that the great mentors and coaches that have guided my way, experienced their own particular brand of hardship and trauma, which gave them invaluable insights, and the ability to assist me. When these insights are shared, they help us immensely to grow beyond our present reality.

Teachers are imperfect individuals, but what they do have is a better grasp of the road ahead…why?…because they have walked it and much of the time through trial by fire.

Yes, we must walk our own path. However, the receiving of knowledge that will encourage and support is such a valuable gift. We become more self-loving as we build the necessary confidence. We learn to walk the path to freedom from our identification with our past history.

Warning: Our “teachers” can let us down though as I have personally experienced, and sometimes that can cause more confusion and disillusionment. If our mentors truly wish to be a light onto others and be of meaningful service, they must walk their talk..living in authenticity with what they are teaching.

I have been disappointed in the past when I have found this to be true. I have discovered it is imperative to separate the teacher from the teachings. I have heard the expression “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”. All we learn and ultimately absorb must go through our own filters. Keep what makes sense to you and throw out the rest.

We all have areas to which we are blind, in other words..we are human…imperfect in our behaviors, and are more powerful than we acknowledge.

In my opinion, that is why teachers teach what they best need to learn. The action of teaching keeps them honest as long as they are willing to examine their own lives.

As a coach, I sometimes believe I need to be perfect in order to be effective at helping others. This is not true. What drives this belief (probably more than I know) , is I have found it is an effective way of postponing my stepping into my own knowingness. Why not procrastinate that which makes me insecure? A common, but unsuccessful tactic ultimately.

“It’s easier to try than to prove it can’t be done”. A great line from a Moody Blues song, one I have always identified with as I have found myself, at times, actively involved in proving ‘it can’t be done’ as I look back when I didn’t want to be honest with myself.

I have also noticed that no one should be put on a pedestal as having all the answers..that comes from inside of us ultimately. I wish I would have known this years ago.

How much can or “should” we rely on the wisdom of others to light our individual path? We always have to come back to our own innate wisdom and trust in our ability to know what is best. It is a lonely road to travel when we prefer to rely on our “gurus”, instead of our own internal guidance system.

The path of becoming our authentic selves, is our path to walk says ‘Buddha’, but receiving help from a guide who knows the terrain is an incredible opportunity. I have been blessed to have many great teachers in my life.

I love to teach and guide others. I have struggled most of my life with self-esteem issues and lack of self-worth. When I began to wake up to a new life as my soul beckoned, I wanted nothing more than to be truly happy with me. I realized just how far down the rabbit hole I was. Earlier in life, I didn’t think I deserved the kind of happiness I always longed for.

I was looking to others for their acknowledgement of just how wonderful I really am. So what do I teach best?…how to listen to your inner voice and what that looks like. If you are willing, you learn to follow your own path and forge a greater and grander ‘you’…. identifying the roadblocks along the way… like guilt, judgement and shame. In time, you will know how to transmute those self-deprecating conditioned beliefs so you can be free.

3. “We Teach Best What We Most Need To Learn” — Richard Bach

“We all want more happiness and self-confidence, but allowing ourselves to receive it is another matter entirely. It is necessary to gain greater perspective and objectivity in the life we are living. It is imperative then that we go deep into the archives of personal stories and programmed narratives, and question, question, question. “Is this idea/belief serving me?” “ How do I feel when I think that thought?”

In other words, a true teacher does his/her inner work in order to be of service to others, and thereby increases their own personal power, and their ability to be a light onto others. It’s a win/win situation as the guide becomes clearer, and that benefits you.

…What can I do to be a more effective mentor?

I welcome the demons shadowing my inner truth and personal power. I recognize my need to be perfect at what I do (my personal brand of crazy). Sound like you? Interestingly enough, I would be the first one to ‘rail’ on about the importance of being alert to the programs running in the background of your mind. It is a dangerous slippery slope, which leads to nothing but despair. Don’t listen to your thoughts unless they are empowering!

Your mind likes to cling to the ‘mind grooves’ you have created over the course of your life, bad habits that can and must be changed. The ‘hamster wheel’ of your mind is a trap to keep you stuck.

“Don’t block the flow to your own happiness”

If you remember the TV show, ‘Lost in Space’, the robot would go crazy shaking its arms, waving ferociously in the air when there was danger (I am giving away my age now). Our relationships and teachers can serve as that warning mechanism if we are willing to be open to receive. We then have an opportunity for a course correction.

4. “The journey to personal authenticity is the greatest and most arduous journey we will make in a lifetime.”

I want to see people live a good life, being happy with who they are and who they are becoming..living passionately and on purpose. Unfortunately, we all have been so heavily conditioned from the moment we take our first breath. We forget who we are and what really makes us joyful.

We fall into the trap of living for others and what we have been told about who we are and what is or “should” be important. Stepping outside the paradigm of where we feel ‘safe’ is a huge step and is frightening to say the least. Our friends and family object as they no longer recognize us and can feel threatened when we fail to ‘fall in line’ with the collective ideologies.

There are many “monsters” along the way that want nothing more than to see you return to your habitual ways of being and are more than happy to support you in staying stuck right where you are… in the known and familiar.

“Surround yourself with the right tribe of people that are supportive of your journey, and are walking the path of living from their true natures. Find your teachers and mentors. Keep your energy positive and expansive. Focus on the direction you wish to walk, and who you want to become.”

5. “Your Struggles Wake You Up!”

Our struggles show us what needs to be looked at, and gives us important clues as to where we are off balance. Our thoughts and behaviors need to be aligned with our values, otherwise it doesn’t feel so good. The struggle is a warning sign and is a result of ‘holding on’ to old thought forms. Pay attention, this is your inner teacher talking to you.

It’s ironic that sometimes we don’t recognize this in the moment of our challenges, (or at all) and also sad that we don’t give ourselves permission to listen to our own intuitive advice. We must forgive ourselves for the crazy things we do and think, and then make the decision and the effort to do it differently.

Too often, we hold ourselves to some ridiculous standard of “perfection”,(which no one ever attains) and oh do we love to be ‘right’, or we’re too self-conscious or proud to admit we struggle with some of the very same things we advise others not to do. Listen to what I say, not what I do…

We heal through listening to our own inner dialogue, and acknowledge the discomfort, while we shine the light of truth and objectivity. Eliminating thoughts of shame and blame will bring you an opening through which you can begin to make big leaps forward. In time, and with a commitment to change the inner dialogues, the ‘spell’ is broken and we gain the perspective needed to transcend the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves.

6. You Must Walk Your Talk To Be Congruent And In Integrity With ‘You’.

I often question my abilities with respect to helping others with self-development and personal growth. I ask myself “do I walk my talk? Is my behavior consistent with what I am teaching?’’ I do recognize the gifts I can offer by mentoring those souls who are in dark periods of life. But….

“I can only help others if I walk my talk, and practice what I preach!”

Personal authenticity is not a choice if you want to live a joyful and unbounded life! I don’t have any respect or time for pretense. I suspect you don’t either whether you know it or not.

For me, I continue to ask the deep questions daily, am I walking my talk? Am I as clear and strong as I am asking you to be? As a teacher, I really make an effort to put my whole heart into living a life that I am proud of…standing with courage as I face the belly of the beast (often more times than I care to admit)to live a life of love and authenticity…living on purpose to be of service where I can.

7. Be Aware Of Your Critical, Self-Judgmental Nature.

So often we allow fear to prevent us from reaching our highest potential. Soar like an eagle, and settle for no less. Acknowledge who you are, strengths and weaknesses. That takes tremendous courage and a willingness to be humble and vulnerable. It requires you to stand naked and acknowledge those uncomfortable places in yourself that are frightening to look at. It’s okay not to be perfect or accepted by your current “friends”.

I am fully dedicated to supporting you in recognizing your potential for freedom, to feel more alive than ever before, and loving who you are unconditionally …pls. check out my blogs and podcast shows on www.robinjillian.com or awakenradio.net. With my whole heart in love… RJ

Author of “Hugging Trees in the Dark”..Finding the Courage to Free the Heart