May your choices be a reflection of your hopes and not your fears.Nelson Mandela
I was a born thinker. As a child, I would look up at the stars and wonder what all of this is about, why did we come into existence?
I know, big questions for a six-year-old. I guess my internal world was always a very active one. And like a lot of us learn to do, I never let my internal world ‘out’. It was only for me.
It served me well through my growing years and even up until five years back. It was like a protection mechanism in place. But it wasn’t working for me anymore. I had just reached a point where I decided that things needed to change.
Why? Well, because it just didn’t feel authentic enough, fulfilling enough. I wasn’t really satisfied. I wanted more from my life. I wanted my life to a representation of who I truly was, rather than what outside forces expected it to be. I wanted the people who loved me to know me in all my glory—good, bad and ugly… happy, sad and fearful,… surface level, deep and more!
So I took a leap of faith and opened up my internal world for my loved ones to see. That was freedom to me… liberating even! And lo and behold, therein started my complete transformation. Something changed inside me. Something shifted. It’s like another road opened up for me, a road I couldn’t see earlier. A road my fears and judgements had blinded me from.
This was my first big lesson on this transformational journey—what we fear is a story our mind is telling us, a story which in all probability is not true and we spend our lives believing this internal story and living smaller than we truly are. Our own magnificence gets hidden from us.
I gave up my ‘safe’ job of 10 years. I dived into learning new things—things I was passionate about or wanted to know about.
In the midst of all this new energy emerged a desire to do work which was authentic to who I truly was and which allowed me to use the skillset that I knew I had. That is when I came upon coaching and was immediately drawn to it.
Before I knew it, I was in the midst of my course—learning, digging deeper than I knew was possible, understanding human behaviour from another perspective altogether. A very enriching experience. Years of beliefs and conditioning came up for review and layers and layers within me were being unveiled.
Another key realisation emerged: It truly is up to us to create the life we want. Our choices are ours to make. We can go after our dreams or we can give them up and hide behind our ‘practical’ reasons and play a victim.
I tried being practical. Something inside me died behind all that practicality and safety. It was the child that used to believe in magic, in a higher power, in dreams coming true, in just going with the flow. It was this child that came alive once again. The spark of life was back. I had found my joie de vivre!
Realism and idealism found a balance. All the deep inner work led to lots of changes, minor and major. My relationships around me transformed. Relationships that didn’t serve me well, ended. The ones that did serve me grew. Whatever was not authentic to me or the person I wanted to be lost its space in my life.
And I realised, real power is not the ability to put on strong masks or appear unaffected, or project a ‘perfect’ life. In my opinion, it’s the ability to stand in your own truth, your authentic self. It’s the ability to feel deeply (in a world that is so scared of feelings) and, if need be, even use that depth to inspire action in one’s own life.
It takes way more courage to show up without a mask than it does to wear one. Real courage rewards!
It has been five years, and I’m nowhere close to done. In fact, I don’t think I will ever be or even want to be. It’s what keeps me going. The joy of finding newer ways of being, of exploring life with wonder, of walking in the unknown with excitement instead of fear, of getting up in the morning wondering ‘what will I learn today’, ‘what gift will today bring’, ‘what fear am I willing to overcome today?’—are all an integral part of who I am today.
As one of my clients said very eloquently, ‘We have to be the heroine/hero of our own lives’. Trust me, it’s worth it!