Ecstatic, I called up my mom to tell her the good news. Prior to it, I had been highly down upon myself, as if nobody was listening to me. I may have had a certain degree of belief in myself, but knowing my gifts back then was dependent on external validation.
“I just got an @mention and a repeat from Oprah!”
“Yes, just now! I sent her an essay I wrote while she happened to be checking her comments.”
She had retweeted and had also commented, “Beautiful words of wisdom,” in response to my website, Words of Wisdom. Although it made my day, all of my spiritual pursuits had made me humble to a fault, so the validation only took me so far.
Before sending it to Oprah in 2012, at age 22, I had been crying my eyes out, feeling like nobody cared about what was going on in my life. I so desperately wanted others to believe in me, or else risk me not believing in myself. I had just done a Vipassana retreat, but my small secular circle did not understand the significance of it. I had also just traveled the country — few asked about it, let alone even tried to connect with me while I was gone. This is why I did not know how great I was/am. I felt a void within.
All my adventures were fueled by a belief that I just had to make new memories to overcome the old, but I was judged for it. Even though I somewhat believed in myself (after all, I had just written three books), I still became discouraged by skepticism and anxiety. I hoped someday that I would be a professional writer, but my ambition did not match up yet with my inner knowing.
A writing career is harder done than said, but now, in the year 2019, I’m revisiting the ambition, focusing on the positive, as well as the support that I have now. What a difference the validation has made! Communicating in a way that reaches an audience can make all the difference for a writer — to move forward from belief to knowing. Not everyone needs to get an @mention from Oprah to know that they are a good writer, but the validation certainly helped me when I was younger, when I was more desperate for approval.
It was seven years ago that I had a boost in my esteem from a celebrity, but it is not what shaped my recent confidence. Being able to persuade others was only a part of the equation. Although it may be what people associate with a collective knowing, what ultimately motivated me to revisit my now five books (two in the making) has come from a spiritual applause. A similar connection is what may have led to my rejection, but while others judged me, God’s motivation was translated into a Universal sort of belief. That is true knowing.
The truth is that a knowingness from Him is more rewarding that a celebrity @mention. Spirit has given me the gift of words. In the past, I had been driven by phases of humanism, but it caused me a lot of pain to depend on others’ beliefs. While now open to God’s direction, His words have truly been the most lasting, approving words — in history, and in my life.
What led to criticism was the fact that I spent forty nights alone in the woods with God. People did not see a value in doing something like what the prophets had done by spending forty nights fasting in the woods, while channeling God’s direction. I was so hungry for approval, but I was not satisfied until I recently became more grounded.
Today, I accept the judgment, the way other teachers have been judged. Looking past humanistic rejection, I instead now seek God’s approval. My belief in validation has still been justified, but it did not translate into knowing. Even when I got it, I doubted it. That is why the best validation has come from Spirit. Judgment for it does not matter anymore now that I know!