A few years ago I set out to change my life. I had a plan of how I thought it would turn out, and as is with life, it did not go as planned. In fact, it spectacularly kicked my ass.
It battered and bruised my heart and soul, in a way, I could have never expected. I jumped out the only nest I had known, without realising my wings were not yet equipped enough to fly. I initially landed in what I thought was a safe and protective space, and for a while it was. But soon enough I was starkly reminded that everything is temporary, and I was again madly flapping my wings- they couldn’t sustain me and I came crashing to the ground.
As I lay there with my wounded bits, I knew I only had three choices. I could go back to my old life and settle into a limited version of myself. I could stay where I was and wallow, using my pain to lash out at others, becoming bitter and resentful. Or I could wrestle with my demons and be brave enough to be brutally honest with myself, address my limiting beliefs, do the bloody hard inner work and challenge myself on every level.
I chose option three and let me be frank, there was still a degree of wallowing. But that wallowing had to be felt, and acknowledged , because that wallowing was grief and loss. That wallowing was pain and that wallowing was the catalyst for healing.
It was the f*cking hardest time of my life.
I’ve been very open and honest about my journey in my writing because it’s important to acknowledge our emotions and feelings. It’s important to acknowledge our story. Far too often people are too scared to take the road less travelled, as it’s often the most difficult. It’s also the one that can cause external judgement. But more often than not it’s the fear of facing our own truth that terrifies us. Far too often people bypass their issues, mask how they truly feel and lie to themselves. We are all guilty of this, and this has by far been my greatest learning.
My story is not unlike many people’s story, but how we complete the book is what will define us. So what did I discover:
- I was a people pleaser. My trauma was avoiding conflict at all costs. I tiptoed around on eggshells, trying to keep the peace. Conflict made me feel very uncomfortable. So I learnt to please people, wanting things to be comfortable. How did I change this? Boundaries– I established boundaries.
- I needed validation. I had no idea of this at the time, but external validation made me feel worthy. It seems I felt I was never enough and external validation filled me up, at least temporarily. How did I change this? This one was tough because I realised I lacked self worth and self love. I sought help and worked hard on myself. I’m now in a space where my self worth, self belief and self love is at an all time high.
- I had limiting beliefs. We don’t realise some of the beliefs we form as kids are unhealthy, and as they sit quietly in the unconscious mind, we have no idea how they affect us as individuals and our relationships. What I found startling was our traumas are drawn together in relationships. We bond with people that reflect our unconscious traumas. And with such little understanding of this people grow apart, but often desperately hang on because of fear and the inability to be honest with ourselves, each other and/or the courage to face the truth and do the work. The biggest realisation is sometimes relationships are not meant to last. Sometimes our lives are meant to go in a different direction. How did I change this? I sought help to get underneath what my limiting beliefs were and then I worked incredibly hard on changing them.
- I was too scared to speak my truth. I didn’t want to hurt anyone else. I didn’t want to be judged. I feared change. I was scared to leave my comfort zone. I was worried about being alone. How did I change this? I found my courage and realised that if I didn’t speak my truth I would be forever living inauthentically. I would be living on a foundation of lies. I would be following someone else’s idea on what my life should look like, rather than following what my soul wanted. I’ll be honest it’s not easy, and there is fallout and there can be hurt, pain and judgement. But those things do not come close to living the destruction that lying to yourself, and burying what you truly want will do to you.
- I was a fixer. I felt I needed to fix everyone and every situation. It’s wonderful to help people, but needing to fix everything and everyone is toxic. It takes the individual power away from others and it leaves you feeling exhausted, and when you can’t fix things you feel like a failure. How did I change this? Once I realised what I had done and what I was doing, I took a step back. I worked on why I felt that need and what was missing in myself that I needed to fix everyone else. Then hand on heart, I apologised to those this behaviour affected. I learnt to empower myself and others. I still want to help and support others but I do so from a different place now- I shine the light for them to see what they need to do to help themselves.
There were other things, but these were the big ones. And through this period of healing, change, learning and growth- I found my wings were never truly wounded, but rather I didn’t have the tools, self awareness and deep understanding of myself that I needed to use them.
Please understand they are never quick fixes. It takes work and real honesty and in many cases it takes the support of a professional. Quick fixes are bypassing and they are for people who don’t want to put in the hardwork or face their truth. There is a whole industry out there built on toxic positivity, preying on the vulnerable and offering all sorts of quick fixes-usually for a chunky sum of money. It’s run by people who haven’t done their own work, haven’t dealt with their own traumas, and if you look closely enough it’s pure ego.
Change and growth can be achieved in incredible ways when we are truly ready to change and grow. When we are truly ready to address the limiting beliefs, acknowledge the ego and our insecurities, the traumas, our truth and what our soul wants. It’s messy, hard and scary but your body, mind and soul will be forever grateful if you choose the courage to do so.
And our wings will take you places you never even knew existed, so your story will be your masterpiece.