Just imagine how much more successful we all would feel and be, if we could unapologetically self-express, feel safe and secure enough to present our most authentic selves, and communicate to each other honestly and openly.
I’ve been quiet on the social media front for a while, and I’d like to say it’s because I’ve entered a new realm of self-awareness, but in truth it's been busy.
A few months ago, I successfully launched my group coaching program and what started out as a project to make life coaching accessible to the wider community, became an eye opening realization for me.
Imitation = Fear
Imitation is an expression of fear, because we imitate to blend in, to be accepted by society, and for others to notice that we fit in and that we belong. We imitate because we’re afraid of being rejected should we ever reveal our truest selves.
Many of us, predominately in the West I feel, are searching for that sense of belonging from a very early age. Think about how a toddler behaves, they walk around confidently, wearing the rawest version of themselves. Forever curious, they’re always in search of answers. Although it may not last too long, toddlers are also very compassionate, incredibly loving and confidently expressive.
I think as conscious awareness develops, there comes a time when we become curious about ourselves and our place in this world, and I think it’s at this crucial point when fear of expression starts to develop. It’s like we spend most of our lives slowly breaking free from a cocoon and once free, we’re very quickly misguided.
As we develop some independence we turn to the world around us for guidance on this human experience. However, the world is still very much an unequal place and as we receive its messages, predominantly through mass media, the majority of us feel underrepresented. When we do not see ourselves being represented, we quickly learn to feel that this is a world in which we do not belong, so what do we do? We imitate.
We buy into popular trends, we follow false idols, and we mimic those who are presented as most-self-actualized. We often do this so blindly that it becomes normal, until the distance between who we really are and who we’ve presented ourselves to be is so wide, that we become afraid to face the truth, and/or unsure of it.
It develops an anxiety of sorts, an uncertainty about the future and thus the quest for happiness continues to be a trivial pursuit. We feed fear each time we deny ourselves the opportunity to be liberated.
Creating a safe space.
In just under 8-weeks my group members had shown phenomenal personal growth. The majority of my clients started out the program feeling insecure and unsure about their future. Towards the end, they all reported feeling happier and unafraid to explore their potential, and reported feeling sure about where they’re headed in life.
I think the success of the group coaching program, was largely due to being a safe space for participants to reconnect with and explore their truest selves, and realize that they’re not alone. I think for many it was the first time they understood how their identities became so blurred and as the weeks progressed, participants became more expressive and compassionate toward one another.
The program became a safe space for them to freely explore their potential without limits. For example, I had one participant who started out as this rigid, hyper-masculine character and he joined the program wanting to learn how to be more productive, and maximize his earning potential. Towards the end, we learned that his procrastination and lack of fulfillment were down to pursuing a path he did not align with, nor particularly enjoy. He had spent so much time imitating an identity attached to confidence and wealth, that he became afraid to pursue something he was actually passionate about and good at, which was art. He learned how to set goals mindfully and how aspirations are achieved, and now he’s enrolling in design school alongside his 9 to 5, to pursue a career where he can do what he loves and impact social change.
In my trial group, I had a participant who joined the program to learn about her place in the world. She was uncertain about her relationships and felt anxious about pursuing her independence. In the program, she learned to trust her emotions for guidance and it turned out, she didn’t fit the image of conventional relationships, of which she was afraid of:
What are you afraid of?
I suppose we can measure fear by how much of our lives we spend imitating others. The world accepting us for how well we imitate it, is not the world accepting us. We’re merely helping the powers at be reinforce their egos. If we want to be represented then we must show the world who it is that needs representation. However, chances are we’re all one of a kind and when we accept this we probably won’t care for representation, because instead we’ll be seeking only inspiration.
Remember the key to fulfillment, in any aspect of life, is a strong and affirmed identity.
Be you. Be inspired. Be Inspiring.
post by, VanCityLifeCoach.com
Happiness isn’t exactly the easiest emotion to grasp; I used to believe that people were either happy or not, I used to think that happiness was as clear as night and day. However, I’m learning that happiness is a development just like every other emotion that we experience, we have to contribute to our own happiness and it lies within the choices we make.
I’ve found those that contribute more to their own well-being and work on developing a purpose, tend to be happier than those who work to accumulate things to define their value. When we start to free ourselves from conformity, we begin working with our own emotions rather than against them and as a result, we live life more truthfully and with less compromises.
When I gave up trying to conform and began following my own desires, I also realised that it was easier to communicate and understand others. I also began connecting with like-minded people who actually appreciated my identity and my own pursuits, and vice-versa. I had inadvertently created a positive environment for myself that stimulated the courage and confidence to pursue a life worth living.
When I think about the happiest moments in my life, I’m reminded of liberation and feelings of complete detachment, I feel like I can take on the world and there’s not much that can keep me from blissfully embracing the present moment. Contemplating these memories and feeling untethered to my everyday responsibilities, I began exploring ways to measure happiness in a world where responsibilities command our lives, impact our emotions and often cause us to overlook our own well-being.
Psychology and Spirituality teach us the importance of maintaining balance... Even the cosmos need to maintain a certain balance to ensure we continue to exist on this planet. Most of the problems we face in our lives can be a rooted back to some sort of imbalance: when we’re overworked, overindulged, lacking empathy, emotionally numb/sensitive, over thinking and even struggling to sleep, these problems and many others stem from an imbalance within our own psyches.
Measuring happiness is to assess our lives in terms of imbalance, to assess how much of our lives are being spent satisfying our responsibilities (super-ego) versus, how much of our lives are spent indulging our inner desires (id). Too much of one or the other will lead to and fuel misery, therefore sustaining happiness is to ensure both parts of our psyches are equally valued (ego), if not, then we must work to restore balance in order to feel happy.
Delving into this Freudian theory has made me realize why so many of us struggle with the lives we’re living, and why many often feel overworked and underappreciated. In a society where we schedule our lives around work and responsibilities, I started measuring happiness by asking my clients the following question?
“If you could make a decision for yourself, consequence free, what decision would you make?”
If answered honestly, I found this question allows us to gain insight into our own imbalances. It allows us to essentially measure and restore happiness by understanding how much of our inner desires are being fulfilled, or rather how much we restrict this significant part of who we are. It also helps us understand the difference between setting goals and mindful goal setting. If our inner desires aren’t expressed nor fulfilled, the less happier we’re likely to be.
For example, if you have a deep desire to travel someday, but your current responsibilities restrict this desire, then you’ll probably find that you’re not that happy with your current life, because your life lacks direction and purpose and a significant part of who you are is being suppressed. However, if you allow this desire to filter into your life, you’ll begin to navigate your life to fulfill this desire. Your responsibilities will have purpose as you'll set your goals accordingly. Furthermore, you’ll also find that you’ll gravitate towards connections that echo these desires, from obtaining the appropriate skills to meeting like-minded people. You’ll ultimately live a lot happier knowing that your life isn’t being lived in vain, and that you’re staying true to your identity and what you want from life.
Just imagine living life with a little angel (super-ego) and devil (id) on your shoulders, if you predominantly listen to the angel you’ll run the risk of losing sight-of-self. If you let the little devil have rule over your life, then you run the risk of losing touch with the life you’re trying to build.
Measuring happiness is understanding which one of these characters you’ve allowed to govern the majority of your decision-making. Let them both share equal amounts of control and you’ll live a much more balanced life, and a much happier one.