June 16, 2021
“Rip up the maps. Burn them. Let them fly. Give thanks for all the well-meaning advice you’ve been given. Start afresh. Go against what you’ve been taught if you need to. It may feel uncomfortable, but that’s only because it’s new.
— KRIS FRANKEN
Laura* walked into my office and immediately broke into tears. “I don’t know what to do! Everything is changing and I feel like I’ve lost myself.” I felt for Laura. She had just been terminated due to COVID restructuring and took a job doing something she wasn’t passionate about. After holding space for her intense emotions, I asked some deeper questions to find out exactly what was triggering her feeling of inauthenticity. Together, we were able to determine a few root issues that were bigger than her unexpected career change.
If you’re like me and Laura, we thrive on a plan. Although I’ve made many strides in trusting myself through my own work, I often feel thrown-off when my ideas of what should happen, don’t. A pandemic certainly wasn’t in anyone’s plan, and we were all forced to pivot. Though we can never control many aspects that lead to life transitions, a strong trust in yourself will make all the difference in how you are able to handle any change.
So, how can you be more authentic? How can you safeguard yourself from extra stress and pain when things don’t go according to plan? What can you do to fully trust yourself?
1. Know what you value and what you believe.
Changes, while difficult, allow us the space to explore what we truly value and want out of life. What expectations do we have for ourselves that are based on society, family, or friend’s values, and not our own? Is the change difficult because there is tension between our values and our reality?
2. What is our inner critic saying?
Our inner voice is a powerful tool that can either help us grow (the coach) or hold us back from our true selves (the critic). The inner critic can instill self-doubt and fear, particularly in times of change. I love to guide my clients in the transition from inner critic to inner coach. We work together to explore what core beliefs and negative thoughts are working against their trust in themselves.
3. Sit with the sh*t. (or alternatively- just feel it.)
Sometimes changes are just painful. I work with clients on accepting the fact that situations can be uncomfortable. Learning to “sit” with discomfort will make it easier to handle change, set boundaries, and have those tough conversations with the people in your life, all of which will lead you to your authentic self.
While this list is not exhaustive, exploring your values and your inner voice is a great first step in becoming authentic and growing through change. I believe in the power within each of us to face change and transition with hope. Our joy begins and ends with us.
*Laura is a combination of clients I have seen and is not based on one single person.