THERE WAS A TIME WHEN LIFE JUST DIDN’T WORK FOR ME.
It always felt like the universe and everyone in it was ganging up on me. When I felt this way (which was pretty much every day), I would always vow to make a fresh start. I’d have visions of getting a new job, moving to a new town, making new friends, changing my hair, starting to work out. “Once I get out of this dumpy town, lose weight, find the right job and meet better people, then I’ll be happy. It’s not me,” I told myself, “It’s just everybody and everything else that’s messed up.” Time and time again I struggled to make my fresh start so I could finally be happy. Time and time again I failed, and life just kept getting harder and harder. “Why can’t I ever be happy?” I asked myself. I began to feel anxious about everything: what other people thought of me at work, meeting new people, travelling, driving my car, whether or not my husband loved me. You name it I worried about it constantly. I started to have anxiety attacks and I eventually found my way into a dark depression.
One day, in the middle of my depression I woke up not knowing who I was. I didn’t have amnesia; when it all came down to it, I just had no idea who this person named Michelle really was. I asked myself, “Who are you?” and came up with nothing. I found myself thinking, “What’s important to me? Why am I in my job? Do I even like my job? What am I doing with my life? What do I want to do with my life? How did I get here? Where is here?” I decided it was time to learn about who I was.
I learned about what was important to me, what I valued and what my unique talents, skills and gifts were. I learned what made me happy. I learned about what areas of my life were working for me, and what parts weren’t. I stopped making decisions and behaving in ways that were mostly about pleasing others so that they would be happy with me. I learned to rely on myself for validation. I began taking small steps toward the things that made me feel free and happy for who I was and what I truly wanted. It was very scary at times, but gradually, my small hesitant steps became bigger and more confident as I began knowing myself, accepting myself and loving who I really was, fear and all.
And then one day it seemed that life wasn’t so hard anymore. My anxiety stopped and my depression had lifted. The universe hadn’t suddenly changed to become easy and perfect. So what was different? What changed was that I became able to deal with life as it came to me: good, bad or somewhere in between. I could handle my present circumstances and find peace during the bad times and gratitude during the happy times. As long as I stayed true to what was right for me.
I had found inner peace in my true, authentic-self. I wanted to share the feeling with everyone I knew! I wanted to share it with everyone I met. I wanted everyone to experience the same feeling that I had. I knew that I wanted to help others do what I had done but I had no idea how.
One evening while online, I stumbled across an online ad for a life coach. I knew right away that I wanted to find out what a life coach did and how I could become one. Something about this kind of work felt right to me. That same night I registered with Martha Beck Life Coach Training. Six weeks later, I began the course that would change my life.
So as it turns out it wasn’t everyone else. It was me. I had always believed that a happy and fulfilled life was a round hole and that I was a square peg that needed to change shape in order to fit. I tried everything to change myself so I would finally fit and be happy, and all it did was cause me stress and suffering. It wasn’t until I realized that I didn’t have to fit anywhere that things softly clicked into place. There was nothing wrong with me. I didn’t need to be fixed. I already had all the tools I needed to live my best life in my personality, my values, my talents, my body, my skills, my feelings and emotions; all the things that make up the unique person that is me. All I had to do was find them, learn how they worked and start using them. All I had to do was be myself.