post written by: Angel Chernoff

10 Truths You Will Learn Before You Find Happiness


10 Truths You Will Learn Before You Find Happiness

by Bernadette Logue

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony.”
―Mahatma Gandhi

We are all beautiful human beings here in this world trying to find our way.  Every day we seek to better understand the meaning of our lives.  We long to discover our gifts and release them fully into the world, and we hope to find happiness and peace along the way.  For some of us the key to these desires rings loud and clear, driving what we do and how we do it.  For others, these deep seeded needs are buried below the noise of daily life, below ego, below fear, below the pressures and norms that we face in society… and thus, they are rarely addressed.

Along my own journey of self-actualization, I’ve witnessed dozens of great people discover their own paths to happiness and self-fulfillment, and I’ve noticed many common themes emerge.  In all cases, the happiness they discover and gradually develop internally is seeded by the realization of certain fundamental truths.

It seems we are all here to realize these truths, in our own way, in our own time.  And once they resonate fully, not just intellectually, but emotionally and spiritually, we are then able to find the happiness and peace we seek…

1.  It’s impossible for anyone else to define YOU.

You are indefinable.  You are the only one in this world who gets to say who you are.  Circumstances and the opinions of others can only define you if you allow them to.  Do not give away your power and the magic of your essence by putting weight on negative situations in your life or the negative words of other people.

2.  You were born with everything you need.

There is nothing you are missing.  There is no need to frantically become more, be more, do more, or get more.  You are whole and complete, and were gifted every talent and insight you needed to thrive in this world in the moment you were born.  Your only job is to accept this truth and then allow it to unfold.  Some gifts don’t become apparent until later in life.  Some insights only become clear to you once you have life experiences that unlock such wisdom from within you.  Trust in this and relax.

3.  Perfection is a man-made illusion.

We are beautifully imperfect beings, operating in a very imperfect world, and that is just the way it is meant to be.  Striving for perfection is a hollow goal, one that can never be achieved.  Society shows us doctored images of perfection constantly in marketing, media, opinions and expectations.  Do not buy into this illusion; it will only lead you into darkness.  Embrace your quirks, your flaws and the fact that life is a roller coaster at times.  Strive for excellence, have high standards… but never confuse that with the crippling behavior of perfectionism.

4.  You are NOT your thoughts.

You are the witnessing essence and consciousness behind the noise in your mind.  Your mind doesn’t define you, nor does it control you.  It is not who you are.  As soon as you recognize this, by watching your thoughts like an intrigued third-party observer, you will create instant distance from those thoughts and therefore no longer be identified with or enslaved by them.  (Read The Power of Now.)

5.  Your beliefs can be modified to lift you up.

Whatever you believe to be true about yourself and life in the long-term becomes your reality.  Your beliefs are ingrained patterns of thinking that you build up over a lifetime.  They are habitual ways of processing the world around you.  If those beliefs don’t work in your favor, you can change them.  How?  In the very same way the negative beliefs formed in the first place – via repetitive thoughts that you accepted to be the truth.  Ingrain new beliefs by consciously choosing and repeating messages that lift you up.

6.  The past and future don’t exist.

Now is the moment.  The past is just a memory.  The future is a mental projection.  You can choose to dwell back in the past for learning and joyous reflection.  You can choose to dwell in the future for visualization and practical planning.  However, any time your awareness floats away to the past or future frequently for negative purposes, you are suffocating your ability to thrive in the only moment you ever have… the now.  Past and future literally do not exist right now – feel the freedom in this truth.  (Read The Untethered Soul.)

7.  Your calling in life is to fully express who you already are.

The world will never see another human being like you.  There is no one on the face of the planet that has what you have.  Your uniqueness, in every respect, is your gift.  Life asks one thing of you… to be the full expression of yourself so that you can leave your unique imprint on all those you encounter and upon the world.  Never underestimate the power of your energy and how it ripples outwards to affect everything and everyone around you – IF you are being your full, authentic self.  Honor your intuition and act upon all your inspirations.

8.  Challenges are gifts for your growth.

Without challenges you cannot unlock your full potential.  Obstacles are opportunities for growth.  The world needs the fullness of who you are, and it is through your experiences in life that you unfold into that fullness.  How can you demonstrate willpower and strength if your resolve has never been tested?  How can you role model love and compassion if you have never faced the opposite?  Knowing there is a higher purpose within dark times, is what leads you to be at peace in the midst of those storms, knowing that you are a diamond being forged under pressure.

9.  Forgiveness is choosing happiness over hurt.

We do not forgive others in order to free them of the situation, burden, guilt or regret.  We forgive others to free ourselves and walk into compassion and love by doing so.  It is in freeing ourselves that our energy level rises, our consciousness rises, and in doing so those around us benefit too.  The words of forgiveness have a positive impact on those we forgive, but ultimately forgiveness is a choice that allows us to be happy again.  This goes for both forgiveness of others and forgiveness of self.

10.  Surrender is the essence of a happy life.

Letting go is not giving up.  Letting go is surrendering any obsessive attachment to particular people, outcomes and situations.  Surrender means showing up every day in your life with the intention to be your best self, and to do the best you know how, without expecting life to go a certain way.  Have goals, have dreams, aspire and take purposeful action, but detach from what life must look like.

The energy of someone aspiring to create their dreams, teamed with surrender, is far more powerful and creative than someone determined to create outcomes with a desperate ‘must have’ mentality.  Surrender brings inner peace and joy, and lest we forget that our outer lives are a reflection of our inner state of being.  (Read 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

The floor is yours…

What would you add to this post?  What’s one realization or truth you’ve learned that has helped you find more happiness in life?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Author Bio:  Bernadette Logue blogs at Pinch Me Living, inspiring you to be who you are and do what you love as a recipe for a life filled with “pinch me” moments.  Sign up for free to get four chapters of her bestselling eBook and her Positive Affirmations audio.  Or follow her on Facebook.

Photo by: Frank Wuestefeld

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51 Comments

  • Nailed it again! This is exactly what I needed right now. Thanks so much for these perfectly timed posts. They are helping me through a rough patch.

    And to add too the list… Realizing the truth “I am in charge of me” has been the biggest step on my personal journey towards happiness.

  • Excellent post, as usual. To add to #6 - Sometimes what we think we wish for doesn’t work out…the universe has a bigger plan for us. The universe knows that what we wish for is not right for us and something else that we may not be aware of yet, is. Focus on the present with an open, positive mind, as NOW is what truly matters.

    Understanding the power and beauty of my presence has been one realization that has opened the gates of contentment for me.

  • Katie - That is a brilliant point to add, “I am in charge of me”. Thank you. empowering personal accountability! Bernadette :)

    JJ - Love your words. YES! The Universe often has a plan for us that is so much better and bigger than what we conceive of for ourselves… and the strangest thing is that it often comes about in the most unexpected of ways. I always remind myself that if something doesn’t look the way I expected, that there are greater, powerful, loving forces at play that work in co-creation with me. I’ll never forget a saying I read once… about remembering to relax, flow and be peaceful - for why flap our tiny sparrow wings so hard when we have the mighty wings of an eagle supporting us! B :)

  • “Your calling in life is to fully express who you already are.” Unfortunately, we don’t come with labels telling us who we already are, and it’s sometimes hard to peel off all the layers to find that authentic self.

  • Hi Bernadette,

    10 resonates strongly with me. I am in the moment where I am learning how to surrender for the first time. Trusting, being comfortable with a Higher Power calling the shots and being at peace feel funny, at times.

    Awesome insight. Thanks for sharing.

    Ryan

  • I started to be a happier person when I accepted the truth about my past, let it go, and moved forward with an open heart. So for me, acceptance of the past was the awakening that helped me.

    @Christy King: While I understand where you’re coming from, I think the point for 7 is clear: listen to your intuition. Don’t let others tell you who you are and what’s best for you every second. Discovering your authentic self happens gradually and naturally over time when you are honest with yourself.

  • Hey Christy - I hear what you’re saying, though through self-awareness I believe it becomes much easier to “fully express who you are”. To me this just means acting upon your inspirations, honoring what your heart and instincts tell you, not suppressing your expression, not following the crowd but rather your own inner compass, doing things that align with your passions and values. Through over-identification with our minds (and egos), and lack of self-awareness, it can become very hard to even hear our intuition and to feel what is best for us, as we bear the weight of walking through life carrying the expectations of others, seeking validation, living within fear, and being used by our minds, instead of using our minds for our own good. I used to feel frustrated about not knowing who I really was and what was going to make me ‘happy’ in this life - until a time when I realised this is the whole point of being here - to grow and evolve on a journey. We don’t get given labels, guidebooks or manuals to show us what life is about, who we are and what to do, because without these we are forced to explore, to experiment, to seek, to try things, to make mistakes and grow into better people as a result. Diamonds are forged over a long period of time and under pressure :) but man do they sparkle as a result! And, if we step-by-step earn how to sparkle as our authentic selves, we can shine a light for those arriving in generations to come. B :)

    Hi Ryan - #10 definitely takes a little getting used to, uh! Mmmm, I hear ya. I was a little (read: A LOT) of a control freak before I really started to walk the path of awakening and self-actualisation. Bit by bit it become clearer to me (and more exciting) that surrender, in all it’s beauty, was a powerful state of being for living a fulfilled and peaceful life. Best wishes to you, B

    Dev - Thanks for sharing your experience, with acceptance and letting go! Awesome. B :)

  • Dear Bernadette,

    Thanks for sharing. Happiness is and always will be a mystery to many. I think you touch upon some important truths here and I learned a thing or two.

    Thanks,

    Best,
    Anders Hasselstrøm

  • I’ve followed your posts regularly for 2 years now and love them. They taught me many things. I find forgiveness, still the most difficult, in the sense of being illogical (bear me out on this).

    I totally get that to be bare a grudge, is to drink poison and to expect the other person to die. Therefore, I try not to bear grudges. I get that everyone you meet is a gift, because you also learn from meeting the wrong person. And I get that there comes a time to move on, because it allows time and energy for better things to fill the space instead. But these are logical actions driven by the reaction they cause. I find “forgiveness” an empty concept with a strong religious connotation.

    I felt the same about discipline before: empty blah blah. However, after you explained that discipline is choosing what you want most, over what you want now, discipline made sense. It became a useful concept, rather than something you just do for the sake of doing it. Is there a similar train of thought that one can apply to “forgiveness”?

  • Thank you.

  • Lovely post, thank you. While it’s all true, as a reader of the Akashic Records I meet many people who because of the negative energy they have been exposed to in this life and past lives and their perception of that negativity #2 and #7 are particularly difficult. It’s extremely difficult for I believe, most people to actually remember who and all they are as a Soul. It is these gifts and trainings between lifetimes that we are meant to express in our Life Purpose (#7). We all do have a life purpose, specific, sacred work our Soul means for us to accomplish in this lifetime and it is through that work (as you are doing here) that we find true and boundless joy, great health and prosperity.

    The Akashic Records are a bit of a secret and are discovered when we are ready to really find out the truths of who and all we are at the very deepest level.

    Love and Blessings to you Angel and Marc for spreading your joy through your life purpose work!

    Mary Jane xoxo
    manifestyourlifedream.com

  • I have indeed learned many of these along my own journey. Also, I constantly remind myself of how far I have come. Even if I’m not where I want to be yet, the truth is, I’ve still made a lot of progress.

  • Yes, yes and yes Bernadette. We are the builder and maker of our life experiences and those that we have made that are no longer to our liking, we can remake. Like the potter, who doesn’t throw his clay away, he simply remolds it.

    There is no wrong way, or wrong path…whatever path we’re on is our path until we choose another one.

    Life is the most wonderful adventure.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • Perfect - I’ve said similar sentiments to other people I care about over the course of mt life, and yet how different when I read this for myself. Especially today when I need it most.
    Thank you so much : )

  • FANTASTIC!!!

  • Letting go is probably the most ambiguous concept I’ve ever come upon. I noticed the more I try to let go of something the harder it is. And thus I am supposed to let go of letting go. It is circular it is insanity and I am determined to figure out what it means for me. Maybe simple nomenclature is what is blocking me.

  • I needed a little, but this post gave me a lot. Love you guys…

  • This is very timely. Beautiful post. Thank you.

  • So glad I found your blog recently! Love this post, thanks for sharing.

  • I agree with almost all of what was said in the article except… ‘You are not your thoughts’ I firmly believe that we are exactly our thoughts and what we think is who we are.

    Thoughts are measurable energy and they have power, and our bodies, mind and the universe reacts to them in like ways whether the thoughts are good or bad. We get back from the universe what we put out and our happiness relies on what we think.

    By choosing our thoughts, we choose our lives.

    “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” Buddha

  • The only person you have to trust is yourself - trust yourself to be OK no matter what someone else does.

  • “I own this” so “do not control me” is something I’m very clear about with people at my young age of 45. That’s the first thing I make very clear. To find out who I am, and most importantly, WHY I am who I am today, I go back to my roots… My screwed up, but still lovable family. My screwed up, but OK, childhood memories. You can study how to find yourself all you want to, but the stars (astrology), and the good Lord (whatever you believe in) will say that yes, there is a set path for you. We must remember that life experiences can change your path, how you live your life, and how you see and treat people in general. You will probably end up back on the path that was meant for you but you need to find out HOW you got where you are RIGHT NOW, and change what you don’t like for your RIGHT NOW.

    A very good friend of mine that I should call soon suggested this website and it’s been ever so helpful and inspiring. I love finding out how others are doing, and why. Sometimes I find my answers when listening to (or reading), and by helping other people. If I’m trying to help someone else, it takes the spotlight off of “me” and I’ll free my mind long enough find an answer, or at least something new to try. It also feels really good to be there when someone else finds their smile too. Thank you for being there!! I have lots more to share but I’m supposed to be working… :) Gotta run. Have a fabulous day.

  • This is so powerful and inspiring.
    Thank you!

  • Thank u so much for this fantastic post. It comes to me just in time. I got a clearer understanding of #9 - what is forgiveness: to choose happiness over hurt.

    Also, a big thank you Angel for your nice & wise reply in your previous post. It really touches me a lot that you replied. It is a great honor for me.

  • Anders - thanks for your comments and best wishes to you.

    Johann - I like your logical, reasoned approach to deciphering if something makes sense to you, and respect that you need to see the value in something vs accepting on face value. Forgiveness to me is far from an empty concept and has nothing to do with faith or religion. This is just my perspective on it, so take from it what you will. Forgiveness is choosing a loving decision and mindset, over one of hate, hurt, separation (seeing self as wronged and disconnected from the other person/party) and thus dragging the past with you into the present. To me forgiveness is a very real tool to make peace with the stuff in life that follows us like a shadow, bringing us down, when it doesn’t belong in the NOW moment. Forgiveness is an act, but it is also a mindset, and your mindset creates your entire experience of life. To me it’s just a choice of how I perceive the world, and that perception creates my freedom from the inside out. Also - I don’t believe it’s always necessary to go out and verbally forgive someone and interact with them in order for forgiveness to take place, to be real and effective. Sometimes people are so asleep in their unconscious behaviour, that attempting to have a forgiveness conversation with them would just spark more drama/trauma and issues. But nothing stops us from forgiving others/situations/the past and ourselves through our own inner conversation and flow on behaviour in each coming moment. B :)

  • Hi Mary-Jane, awesome insights there and absolutely agree. We all come in with our soul purpose and lessons to learn/challenges to overcome and it’s not easy to walk the path of awakening, the path of evolving in our soul journey. We all make our way forward and come to certain realisations in our own time and in our own unique ways. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Love the Akashic Records! Awesome to hear you work in this area. Myself and most of my family have had our readings and it’s been transformative in adding to our understanding of ourselves and our life paths. The more open we are to understanding what blocks us, why we are here and how to grow into our potential/gifts, the more fruitful and peaceful life will be. Best wishes to you and for your work! Bernadette x

    Jeff - Love your attitude! It’s all about progress not perfection. We step up and out each day, to grow moment by moment. :)

    Elle - beautiful insight…. whatever path we are on is our path, until we choose another one. No right or wrong - it all ‘just is’. x

  • Sarah B - I smiled reading your comment… it’s funny how we can support others with ease and grace but sometimes we need to hear our own words reflected back to us. I totally get ya! With best wishes to you. Bx

    Laura - I freaking know exactly what you mean. “Let go?” what the?! That feeling of focusing so intensively on letting go and figuring it out and trying hard to not be attached to something, to the point that the energy is so strong we’ve only further embedded ourselves in our attachment, so defeated the whole purpose of ‘letting go’! If I can say one thing in response to your comment, it would be that there comes a time when you literally ‘let go’ at the level of feeling and mindset because that thing/person/situation looks different to you, and for many of us it takes a process and time to get that the stage where letting go is a natural progression/choice - this is opposed to the “the books/blogs tell me I should let go so I’m going to try really hard now to let it go”. For example, I was struggling with a range of things a few years back and was so blinded by my attachment that letting go in that state was near impossible, but then I realised through a series of reflections and experiences that I’m not alone in creating my life, I’m co-creating my life and everything has divine order and happens in divine time if I stay true to myself and my passions. It was in that realisation that letting go become natural, peaceful and completely free’ing. I also believe it’s powerful to, in the moments when faced with inability to ‘let go’, to simply say “What serves me best in this moment? To cling on or to change my thoughts/feelings to something better”. We can help ourselves to let go by retraining our minds slowly but surely over time. B :)

  • Hey lindsncal - Love your comments! I live and breathe these messages you have written, and wrote a the entire intro to my first book “Pinch Me” on our energy-based world and the power of our beliefs/thoughts are very real energy interacting with everything we see in the world around us. To clarity point #4 in the article, I would share this… You are not your thoughts, in the sense that you are the witnessing essence/soul/energy behind those thoughts. If you can choose your thoughts - then WHO is it that is doing the choosing? The answer is that the real you, behind your mind, is doing the choosing. You choose your thoughts, your thoughts become your reality (thoughts become things) and those flow on effects shape your life and shape who you flourish into in this world. But the mere fact we can change our thoughts at any moment, and make new choices/better choices and we can direct our thinking to create our lives, means we are the witness behind the thoughts and therefore have power to harness and supercharge our thoughts to design the life that works most for us. Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now is a transformational book on this topic of how many of us are lost in identification with our minds.
    Part of the work I’m most passionate about in my business Pinch Me Living, is helping people to see that the power of the mind is immense, you can use it or it will use you. Our minds are not who we are in totality - instead our minds are powerful gifts, filled with energy (thoughts are vibrational missiles!) for us to use to create our lives. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and comments. Best wishes! B :)

  • Britt - Trusting ourselves, lovely!

    1968Michelle - nice! Reflecting and self-awareness. Thanks for sharing :)

    Thanks everyone else who has commented and shared. Awesome to be connected in with you all. Best wishes and blessings! B :)

  • To live without expectations. Someone once asked me “Is it sweeter to get what you expected or sweeter when you didn’t expect and received?” Expectations are living in the future. I work at this daily. Thank you for these great words!

  • Superb post! Very little to add, other than possibly, “Your biology is your biography.” That’s not an original…first time I heard it was from Wayne Dyer. But your body is giving you expert guidance. Listen to your heartbeat, your breathing, where your tightness is, where your lightness is. Your body never steers you wrong.

  • Thanks a million. As perfect as always.

  • One of the finest ingredients of happiness that i have ever read. So practical, so deep in meaning, so relevant and so true. I particularly liked this point ‘You are NOT your thoughts.’ This distinction is missed by a vast majority of us. We let our thoughts rule us. We let them decide who we are. This is wrong because our thoughts either run in the past or in the future most of the time and do not focus, for substantial part, on the present.

    What a wonderful piece of writing ! I religiously read your posts since these are so positive, practical and oriented towards giving a good life to the people.

  • I am one of your million followers. My day is incomplete if I’m not able to read or miss your life’s blessings to us. I learned too much from your practical advises and I am right now applying to my everyday struggles in life… Just wanted to say thanks and keep it up!

  • Thank you thank you thank you. So grateful for this. I am in this process right now, becoming aware of who I am. I love this: “Your calling in life is to fully express who you already are.”

    I send you all my love, that superior feeling that does not understand a thing about fear.

  • Karen - thanks for your insights on expectations and that quote… lovely! This got me thinking… Expectations are one of the things that I think trip so many of us up - we read and hear everywhere that to manifest and create the life we want we should set our goal and expect it to happen. But I’ve come to realise that the true message of manifestation and living a happy fulfilled life is to live with VISION and to dwell in the anchored, peaceful inner KNOWING that our vision and dreams are ours and that we are powerful, conscious creators of our life experience. Expectation, however, to me is when we demand life to be a certain way, other than how it is right now, and that never leads good places! Hence, I believe a beautiful formula for joy in life is vision with knowing, coupled with acceptance and allowing of the is-ness of the present moment.

    Larry - thank you for sharing the body/biology/biography wisdom. Awesome!

    Naveen - it’s amazing isn’t how it often the mind goes off away from the present… replaying the past or rehearsing the future. The mind is such a powerful tool, but left unmanaged it ‘has a mind of its own’!! :)

    Thanks everyone for sharing yourselves, your insights and your own experiences. A whole lotta love for you all! Bernadette x

  • @Karen G– I’ve never posted a comment on this site before, but I just have to thank you for yours– beautiful and so true and exactly what I needed to hear on this night. expectations are a double-edge sword and definitely one I need to surrender.

  • Epic post!
    I have been reading your posts for a while and have found much benefit in them.
    Today I felt I needed to get off my silent seat and leave a comment!
    Thank you so much. :-)
    Regards,
    Jazilah

  • I’ve learned that sometimes the things you worry about aren’t going to matter in 5 or 10 years. They’ll just be trivial matters and you will have moved on from that.

  • I have so enjoyed all of your posts and this one continues with such great thoughts. It is a marvelous post. I have shared it with several of my friends. You really provide wonderful information to us all. Thanks for the work you do and the wisdom you share.

  • This was just beautiful.

  • I love you guys. Whenever I am struggling I seem to read just what I need here. I am always reminded of the simple truths. “Forgiveness is choosing happiness over hurt.” It takes a while to trickle from my brain to my heart at times but it is always true. Forgiveness frees me.

  • Great post Bernadette, thank you. I just wanted to point out for the readers that the first two book references are reversed.

    #4. You are NOT your thoughts should refer to The Untethered Soul - Part 1 covers the idea that we are not the voice in our heads, or our thoughts. Instead we’re the consciousness that’s aware of our thoughts. And,

    #6. The past and future don’t exist is the theme of The Power of Now.

  • “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what essential is invisible to the eye.” - Antoine de Saint Exupéry - a favorite quote of mine that has helped me see me from my heart opposed to being consumed in what I see and the thoughts I’d think. There’s so much more that could be said but bottom line in my case when i was depressed, I thought about my thoughts more when I read the Secret and I practiced a similar practice by using my day to day thoughts on how I percieved the reading.

  • This is such a great post! When I´m feeling a bit lost I come here and always find what I need to feel better.

    Wonderful words of wisdom.

    Thank you very much!

  • What I have learned during my life is the fact that we have to go against this world because if we follow everything that the society has placed as the correct model to follow, we are not going to succeed. Most human beings are only focused on the following: graduating from elementary school, high school, college, get a job, get married, have kids, work for 40 years, retire and wait to go to the grave.

    Happiness is not about having the latest in cellphone, cars, appliances, TV, a sexy and beautiful girl, etc. Happiness comes from the little things, like a sunshine filled day, the sunrise and sunset, a marvelous landscape, the taste of a fruit, that we can walk, use of our hands, good health, etc..

  • Change happened for me when I took responsibility for where I was. I stopped blaming others, and accepted I was were I was because of choices I had made. If I didn’t like where I was, I had the power of choice to change it.

  • Thank you for the insight!

  • Thanks for the insight; I really needed to read this!

  • Thanks for the “strong” words!

    What ca I add? I guess we are never alone, someone hears us in the “night” :)

  • Somebody commented that the more they tried “letting go” the more they became entrenched. (I’m paraphrasing) They were unsure how to let go. How do we let go of something? We embrace it. We experience it and all of it’s negative or positive connotations. We hold it, feel it, look at it, we smell it, taste it, roll in it. We have it, we own it, we own UP TO IT, this means righting our wrongs if need be, by letting any affected express their feelings about it to us, even when that is uncomfortable. We make it ours. We acknowledge that it is so and make peace with that truth. We forgive ourselves and/or others. We ask for forgiveness. We then remind ourselves, although this is, now it was. It is no longer what I choose. This process of “rolling in it” breaks down the resistance barriers that prevent us from letting go.

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