Mustering the Courage to live an Authentic Life
Are you living an authentic life? I know for some the title and this question are loaded and it’s meant to be. J I hope you are still reading, because this question could save your life. It did mine, literally! I wasn’t physically on death’s door. In fact my last doctor’s visit and my ability to cycle 111 miles in the El Tour de Tucson would say I was in great shape. However, emotionally and spiritually it was quite different. I was taking herbs to calm my anxiety and I felt spiritually bankrupt.
On November 7 our dream house that we had moved into almost exactly 4 years before was foreclosed by the bank. It went to auction on the court house steps despite all our efforts to get the loan modified or short sale our lovely home.
This was like an earthquake inside of me. My core values and beliefs seemed violated and I was left shaken. I felt shame, embarrassment, and guilt. I was humiliated. I was angry and disheartened with myself. I was numb to the deep sadness that would emerge later. It was a dark night of the soul for me. My inner voice kept saying “I am a very experienced coach. How can this be happening to me?”
I have a deep sense of personal responsibility for my life, that’s what my work is all about. Now I felt like a fake, an imposter of the worst sort! I did all I could to hide what had happened. I avoided certain social and business situations. I kept conversations focused on the other person, heaven forbid they should ask me about my life! I thought I had to keep my circumstances and my despair a secret and put on my ever confident, optimistic face.
Through this entire time I was journaling, reading and masterminding with my two dear partners. I was using all the tools I have at my disposal. Slowly, I could feel my defenses were softening and what was emerging, in the face of the outer circumstances, was another perspective of myself. I found that part of me that is grateful for my family and friends, loves to give to others and has gifts to give that transform lives, including my own! This shift in perspective had me discover the part of me I call my Authentic Self.
What I’ve learned about myself is that my self esteem does not come from my address or the neighborhood I live in. It isn’t dependent on the beautiful tile, natural clay walls, or luscious bamboo floors I had in my dream house. All of these are the external things that I still love and bring me joy but they are subject to going away in the unexpected wind of a tornado, flame of a fire, or a long and deep recession.
My “Authentic Self” isn’t changed by outer circumstances. In the face of circumstances that were devastating to my ego, I found hope and courage. Being connected to my Authentic Self provides me an unshakeable foundation for my self esteem. Because of that I have an even greater desire to offer the world my authentic transformational gifts.
My hope and intention in sharing my story is that you will be inspired to start reaping the gifts of the process of discovering your Authentic Self. I hope it makes you curious about what’s really important to you, what you really care about. Having a relationship with our Authentic Self gives us a place to anchor ourselves in the storm, ride the waves and come out on the other side stronger, more resilient, and with greater inner confidence and peace about who we are authentically. It allowed me to muster the courage to be vulnerable and share my story. I hope with all my heart it has made a difference for you.