In my coaching practice, clients come to me because they feel stuck in some aspect of their life. They are unhappy at work or in a relationship, but don’t know what to do about it. The pros and cons whirl around constantly, keeping them up at night, robbing them of their energy and peace. But there is no decision in sight.
“What should I do?” That’s the question they keep asking, and where they feel stuck.
“Who are you?” I ask back.
They look at me like I just asked them to solve a quantum mechanics word problem.
“Who are you?” I ask again.
The common response is, “I have no idea.”
I understand that answer completely. I, too, had gotten lost. I didn’t have a clue who I was, or what made me tick. All I knew was how to avoid disapproval and escape from fear.
This played itself out in several ways. I struggled with health and fitness, not having any idea how to care for myself. At work, I gave too much, believing I needed to perform perfectly to avoid the insecure feeling of never enough. In relationships, I put others first in very unhealthy ways. “Where do you want to go to dinner?” he might ask. “Wherever you want!” was always my reply. The unconscious belief at work was, if I please you constantly, I will be worthy of love and you won’t leave me.
Then, it all melted down, big-time. I couldn’t do it anymore. Hard as I tried, I couldn’t maintain the false life. The high paying corporate job, the house in the suburbs, husband, 401K all gone. All that was left was a forty year old woman in a heap on the bedroom floor, crying out.
I don’t know exactly who or what I was crying out to at the time. Maybe a God I remembered from childhood. Maybe just a desperate plea to somehow be rescued from the hell that my life had become. Living behind the mask had become living hell.
To my surprise, the Holy Spirit answered, and said, “I am Love. You can take off your mask and believe in me again. I knew what I was doing when I created you. You are now and always have been enough.”
What?? I honestly didn’t know what to do with this, but I was impacted by it enough to want to know more. So began my search for an authentic life, my true identity, and an answer to the question, “Who am I?” without the walls and masks that I was hiding behind.
I realize now that all the sugar and unhealthy food, workaholism, alcohol, cigarettes, bad boys, drugs, people pleasing, approval whoring, and all the other forms of quick fixes were just my authentic self, trying desperately to come out of the shadows and into the light. I had been trying to get my attention for a very long time.
The authentic life isn’t about finding the right job, being in a perfect relationship, hitting your goal weight, having enough money, or any other circumstance. It is your heart and soul, living in the light. It is about finding the courage to break through all the walls and taking off the mask, letting others see the real you, and knowing deep in your bones that you are enough.
The Holy Spirit likes to remind me now, “There is nothing you can do to make me love you less. And there is nothing you can do to make me love you more.” Nothing. You are already loved, through and through. No matter the circumstances. As is, right now. That, my sweet child, is who you are.
Sue Markovitch is the author of I Know What to Do, I Just Don’t Do It. She owns Clear Rock Fitness, a studio that specialized in Life Coaching and Personal Training for women over 40 in Westerville, Ohio. You can learn more about Sue at www.clearrockfitness.com.