As a lifestyle strategist, I primarily attract clients who are fed up with the suffering that stems from conforming to others- based on their desire to belong, feel safe or loved.
One of the biggest fears that roots them in this state of conformity is that of being abandoned or shunned.
“I’m done” or “I’ve had enough” are often their battle cries.
I fully understand, having been there myself and having learned a few lessons along the way. When we speak those words fromthe heart, a shift begins. My mentor calls this the “in between” place…you’re no longer who you were, yet you don’t know who you’re becoming.
It feels as if we’ve stepped off the ledge, into the abyss. The “in between” is a scary place.
I felt like I would fall to my death there.
Now I see that fear stems from having to let go of something I wasn’t, just to fit in, just to feel safe, just to be loved. My brain was trained to do this and had become quite efficient. I was, like my clients, conforming to people who had limited beliefs themselves. They were desperately trying to control their lives, one challenge after another. Their victim archetype revelled in the drama because it gave them attention and sympathy, which was probably what they associated with love.
Each challenge was a wakeup call to love the parts of themselves they’d been hiding for so long, for the sake of conformity. They didn’t make the shift, though—they just stayed in their comfort zone.
Eventually, children were pulled into the drama and the cycles continued.
When I, like my clients, took up the battle cry and became willing to strive for authenticity, my brain began to fight my heart and soul. A highly skilled instrument of conformity, it was confused by my sudden change to take risk and be willing to go against the norm. So, it dutifully reminded me of my fear of not belonging, not being safe, not being loved. It tried to convince me that I would be all alone.
It even attracted plenty of experiences to make me really question my decision and amplify my fears.
The more I stayed committed to my truth, the more the drama of the people I had tried to conform to became intolerable and insufferable. While I still loved them, I had to call “bullshit” on their victim-centered stories. I knew it was their choice if that was how they wanted to continue to live, but it wasn’t how I wanted to live. That was when my “in between” state ended.
For so long I had feared being alone, and that fear came true in a sense. When discovering I would no longer validate the drama, there was no controlling me. I had taken back my power. There was no longer common ground and they went to find someone who would validate them.
The space created by their departure began to fill with people who accepted the true me.
While the victim-based drama still infiltrated my relationship with the original people I loved, I stood my ground in my truth. I loved their essence and not their actions. This allowed me to shine a light on what was working in their lives, what power they had and were choosing to give away, which was often too much for their lizard brains to handle. They would disappear for a while, thinking this absence would manipulate me back into their illusion.
I no longer feared that punishment, though. I was free.
Now when I hear someone shout their battle cries, I know it’s just the beginning of a challenging journey for the person. There will be many opportunities to test the determined mindset and reintegrate the pieces that have been hiding for safe keeping. To do this requires an unwavering commitment to love; the parts of you in hiding and the parts that put them in hiding.
It takes courage and faith to step into your true self.
It is not an easy thing to do, which is why so few actually follow through once they say “I’m done.”
Staying true to yourself springboards us beyond the borders of our imagination into a radical freedom, an ease of living, a bountiful joy—and rich and rewarding relationships with people who provide an authentic safety, acceptance, and love.
That is worth the price of authenticity.
Author: Wendy Reese
Apprentice Editor: Peter Schaller / Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Peter Schaller