By Tina Lifford
iOneDigital’s Crafted with Purpose* initiative has me excited for you! It is a platform and community where you can grow as a storyteller and a person.
If you have been wondering about, questioning, or looking for your purpose – asking how you can impact lives through storytelling – the next 700 words are written, especially, for you. But before you read them, take a deep breath, and allow room for this compelling idea of yourself: “Within me there are infinite positive possibilities waiting to be expressed into the world.” In fact, take a moment to close your eyes and say those words out loud. Even take a moment to say them while looking in a mirror. Doing so will contribute to you creating the life you most want to live. Here’s a truth I ask you to embrace as the starting point for making every area of your life better: You matter! Period. Full stop.
Aside from it being the truth, why should you begin by affirming that “you matter?” Too often, people approach life without an understanding of or connection to the power innately present in their own existence. When you know you matter, and that you have innate value, you can contemplate how you can best share your value with the world and give yourself permission to shine in the process. Without owning your innate worth and value you will waste precious time questioning if you are good enough to produce the content of your dreams.
If you matter, then, of course, your voice matters. Your passionate, resonate voice has the power to reshape life and create new worlds. Every creator has to believe this. And, therefore every creator that yearns to create compelling connections through art and otherwise, must learn to love and respect his or her voice. Give it room to fully flower and be heard. This means that it is critical for you to learn to love and respect your story.
Your journey through life has left you with a story that only you can tell. Though the circumstances and dramas of life are not all that unique, your point of view, your internal struggle, your will to win, are the facets that turn common human experiences into something specific, honest and brilliant. Embracing every part of your story, as it has been – the hurt, anxiety, fear and joy – is like coal. Who you will become, from where you started, and how your becoming adds value to the world are your diamonds.
When it comes to life and art there is one true and undeniable purpose: Grow – expand beyond the challenges, limitations, fears and ignorance of the past. Grow into your voice, into your beauty. Grow so that the unseen possibilities inside of you can have a pathway to the light, instead of being trapped behind confusion, anger, self-doubt and -judgment.
The importance of being accountable to your growth is understated. Yet, every dream that comes true first begins inside of you. Without the you that carries your thoughts, feelings and beliefs, your dreams cannot come true. Without you nothing that matters to you could exist. Life yearns for you to care enough to reach for more, so it can experience itself as more through you. This means life needs you as much as you need life.
Truly owning your voice means diving below the surface of things in your own life first. Peeling back the veneer to get to the truth of what is underneath. Holding the truth up to the light and honestly feeling however you feel about it, and then, deciding to use it, whatever it is, to make a stronger, more resilient you. This is the work of inner fitness. And like physical fitness, when it comes to physical wellness, a steady regiment of exercises to keep you fit on the inside, will support your inner health and wellbeing, provide you with the guidance to keep making more room inside of you for all the magical storytelling, art, music and life waiting to find its way into the world.
As a creator, storyteller and lover of life, I wrote The Little Book of Big Lies for you. It is the book I wish I could have read when my struggle with debilitating stage fright made me doubt that the dreams inside of me might never be realized. Today, as an actress, playwright and author, my story, my struggles, and the diamonds made from them, are making a difference in the world. My prayer is that The Little Book of Big Lies makes a difference in your life.
Tina Lifford plays Aunt Vi on the critically acclaimed television drama Queen Sugar which airs on OWN:Oprah Winfrey Network. She is also playwright of The Circle, and author of The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey Into Inner Fitness. Follow her across social media @tinalifford and find out more at http://www.tinalifford.com.