The alarm goes off, echoing through my bedroom. As I see the clock reading 6:00 am, panic fills my body. I am lying there staring at the ceiling with an endless circuit of thoughts running through my head for the coming day. There is anxiety about work, but more than anything else, I was left with the feeling that nothing I do fills my cup. I exist as a stranger in my own skin. Restless, overwhelmed, unhappy, but most of all, feeling lost. Like I'm simply living on autopilot, only going through the motions of life - but not fully present in what's happening around me. Is this it? Is this my life? The voice inside my head cried.
I'm greeted by a stranger staring back at me in the mirror. What happened to the full-of-life, vibrant and confident woman I once knew so well? Now, a grim face stared back at me. From the outside, my life looks great. I have a fantastic job, good pay, a great partner, friends, family, and a beautiful home. If they could only see that inside, I feel like I'm crying in the fetal position. Stuck in this nightmare of a groundhog day that never ends. What is missing? Why am I not happy?
I need to keep fooling the world around me that I am happy until I can figure my way out of this never-ending cycle of self-doubt. All I have to do is covertly figure this out, and no one will be the wiser. As I brushed the last makeup on my face, part of my shield from the world, I heard a knock on my door. My partner, Chris, opens the door with concern written all over his face. Oh no, what happened? With a calming tender voice, I hear him say, “What do we have to do to change things around for you? I'm worried about you."
I stare back at my reflection, thinking the most paralyzing question - Who am I?
This is the moment everything came to a head. I wasn't fooling anyone—a change needed to happen, and soon.
2014 was the year this all happened, and I’ve made strides since then. Though, to be honest, this journey will last the rest of my life. We are evolving beings, and our desires and needs continue to grow with us. Life is a journey, not a destination. Making life-changing decisions and implementing a new lifestyle does not happen overnight - as much as we may wish it did.
However, the decision and commitment I made to myself to uncover who I am and create a life I was excited to wake up for were instant. The daily choices I make now bring me toward the life I want. Learning to hold myself accountable and being intentional about where - and with who - I spend my time is a key to achieving a fulfilling life.
After all, that's the goal, right? A happy, fulfilling life. The question then becomes, how do you get there, and what does that look and feel like for you?
Oprah once said, "Figure out where your power base is. And to work on the alignment of your personality -- your gifts that you have to give - with the real reason why you're here. You must do the number one thing: work on yourself, fill yourself up, and keep your cup full. When you're full... I'm full; I'm overflowing. I have so much to offer and so much to give."
That is how I imagine a happy and fulfilling life - knowing yourself so well that you're anchored in what makes you so uniquely you. That you trust yourself enough to dive into new experiences, passions, and activities that fill you up and spark your soul. When you carve out the time for and make the things that make you happy a priority, you do so much to fill your cup that you're overflowing. You will find there is so much leftover of you to give to those around you, your career, the community, and anything else that is meaningful to you.
All the answers you're looking for already live inside of you. After all, you're the expert of you. It may not feel like that right now, but it's true. We're all searching for happiness, joy, who we are, and what we want - all in the wrong places. They're not in that next promotion, that trip that's a few months from now, with our friends or partner. These answers we seek are already inside of us. Unfortunately for many of us, we're never taught to know who we are. How to stand by our truths, create boundaries that honor ourselves, or show the confidence to own who we are when faced with fear.
It's human nature to want to be accepted by others. For myself, I took this to an extreme where I was caught in a pattern of people-pleasing tendencies. I was being who I believed the people in my life wanted me to be instead of shining my light on the world. This robbed them of the chance to know the real, whole me. She was, and is, someone worth knowing.
Over the next twelve months, let's answer the questions, "Who am I? How we see ourselves defines our life” and "Who do I want to be? Becoming unapologetic in your evolution." You have unique gifts that are currently being hidden away or restrained - but what would happen if you were to own them fully? Or better yet, what could happen? Life is full of limitless opportunities. The only parameters are those we set for ourselves.
Every one of us is on our own unparalleled journey—all at different stages in our evolution. We are unique individuals, from what we want in life to what we aspire to achieve for ourselves. This isn't about a one size fits all approach. Instead, one where you can use what I have learned through my journey of self-discovery to get curious, be courageous, and live with confidence. You can have it all too!
Who am I?
How you see yourself defines the life you live.
Let's pause for a moment to take in that question. Who am I? It is a question that can paralyze us on the spot, as it did to me.
On the surface, it is a question that "should" be able to be answered without any thought, no problem. In reality, it's a complicated question with countless layers. For many, "Who am I" may even be a question you've never really considered before, or you've been told your whole life who you 'should' be, which makes up your identity. Perhaps the question should be, who do I want to be?
Before we continue, grab a journal, paper, and a pen. Big questions are coming up that can help you through this journey that you will want to jot down.
So let's try this question again - Who am I? - by taking a deeper look into what that means as a unique individual. If you pause and think about who you are and what makes up your identity, where do you go first?
Let's start here. Jot down how do you see yourself. What are these thoughts based on- your beliefs or fears? The stories you tell yourself? Do you base your identity on your successes? What are you most recognized for the labels or titles you've been given by loved ones, society, and even yourself over time?
For many of us, who we are is based on how others perceive us and who we believe we are to others - gender, body image, race, parent, partner, friend, and job title. Our successes or our failures. Our experiences or ailments. These labels have been shaping your self-identity your whole life.
How we see ourselves is integral to where we are and want to go. Life is full of infinite possibilities, but more often than not, we limit our happiness based on preconceived ideas about our life. Who we think we are and the parameters we've put on ourselves.
So, let's peel back the layers of who we think we are based on the outside world and get curious about who YOU believe you are and how that shapes the world around you.
"Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are." - Brené Brown.
Until next month's blog, you can follow A year's Journey to Becoming You on my IG @lolifecoach.
I’ll also be holding space for six individuals who’d like more of a 1-on-1 approach to this program. This is for the individuals who have felt the pull to dive deep. Those who have started this journey are now looking for someone to help them go even deeper and accompany them on their journey like a guide. If this speaks to you, reach out for your free 30 min consultation call to see if this is a good fit.