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.