All around me, I see family, friends and clients re-examining their lives and looking for ways to implement a dramatic change. As individuals grow in self awareness and clarity, there is a deep desire to embody a more authentic way of being. A life that honours a freer, transparent way, our innate talents and longings, and the courage to experiment and explore beyond conditioning or societal expectations.
The days of playing safe, conforming and compromising our callings seem to be coming to an end. I myself have made it a habit to take stock and introspect every couple of years. Every single time, there has been a deepening and freeing on the inside. Transformation is sometimes subtle. The changes may or may not be easily apparent on the outside, but we all know when we feel significantly different in our skin.
Movie analogies often help in seeing our predicaments in a simple, direct way. Much like the struggling actor, you may have battled difficulties, fought inner demons and dealt with much criticism and failure along the way. But now, finally having found a fair degree of success, achievement, confidence and security, you may be surprised at the extent of restlessness within you. Do you feel like the star wishing to change the genre of his films? Instead of a saleable persona, do you now itch to demonstrate your true potential? Perhaps you seek opportunity to make more meaningful films that may not be as glamorous or paying, but are richly rewarding and fulfilling? Or do you wish to push the boundaries on what is possible and bring radical change to the industry you work in? Would you like to usher in greater honesty, respect and mutual appreciation in your work and social networks, instead of remaining embroiled in competition, insecure politics and fake niceties? For all appearances, you may continue to be a movie star to others. But only you will know if you have finally claimed and owned the method actor you may actually want to be.
Reinventing ourselves requires courage. If you thought reaching this point was difficult, now comes the greater challenge – giving up the persona and the goals that have driven you all this while.
Once the call for authenticity has been heard, the pain of going against the grain becomes greater than the pain of the previous driver: the desire to have love and approval from others. After all, you cannot run away from yourself. As Anais Nin eloquently said,
“And the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.“
So here are 9 tips to help you emerge in your full beauty:
1. Remind yourself that you are not your history:
For the caterpillar
To emerge as a butterfly
It must be willing
To annihilate all self definition
Become the new and yet unseen
Or risk entrapment,
Cocooned in false safety.
If you are struggling with whether you should quit your existing role or not, it is important to ask yourself, “Am I continuing to stay in this situation more out of love or out of fear?’”.
2. Create space for the unknown: Sometimes we are clear about what we don’t want, but not so sure of what we are looking for. The error is to continue doing and being the same, without creating breathing space for inspiration and insights to show up. Be willing to sit in the unknown. Be willing to carve out time from your busy schedule to do nothing. The gap between thoughts is where the real downloads happen.
3. Proactively seek inspiration and support: Amanda Owens defines receptivity in her excellent book, ‘Born to Receive’, as something you do when you receive energy. So whether it is meditation, a long walk in nature, or inspiring people or resources – do things that energize and motivate you to articulate the changes you sense you need.
5. Accept that those close to us are often blinded by familiarity. Accept that initially your changes may be difficult for them to acknowledge or support. Our freedom can often imply inconvenience to others. Our reluctance to deal with these difficult conversations can keep us trapped in playing victims or pretenders. Be kind, firm and direct whenever possible. Share your feelings and thoughts with them so that the transition can be as mutually supportive as is possible.
6. Consciously clear any history that weighs you down. Instead of denying or ignoring them, begin to notice and acknowledge old fears, emotions, memories and beliefs that come in the way of your growth. Along with awareness, energy clearing tools such as Emotional Freedom Techniques, Access Consciousness, Emotion Code and Now Healing can all be extremely quick and effective tools to unlearn old behaviours and habits.
7. Release yourself from any oaths, vows and promises you have made to your self. Formally stating your new choices is helpful in undoing many of the conscious and unconscious limitations we may have imposed on ourselves as a consequence of hurt or trauma. An example: the singer who lost at a childhood competition and swore never to sing in public again because of the humiliation she felt then.
8. Address any ‘anticipatory’ emotions that are blocking your from implementing change. Not only the past, but fears of imaginary, projected and dreaded outcomes also block our movement. These too can and should be cleared (using any tool of choice) to allow ourselves full presence and freedom.
9. Take action steps – start small if required – but get into the habit of asking yourself. “Is this taking me closer to who I want to be or further? Does this feel authentic to me or am I doing this for some other reasons?” And execute a choice based on this conscious realization. B.J. Fogg from the Stanford University explains how Tiny Habits can help one implement change here.
Listed below are some more relevant resources. It is my hope that this article, along with the many other resources on my site and blog will support those keen on emerging free, vibrant and present to what is alive and true for them in this moment.
If you find this article useful in any way, please do share it with others as well. It is time for us all to honor ourselves and support each other in a return to authenticity.