January 3, 2020

How to Tell if you’re Cheating on Yourself. {Partner}

This article is written in partnership with Inner.U—a unique online course dedicated to teaching humans how to design and live an inspired life. Kinda like a (hu)manual, which is handy since none of us got one when we arrived. We’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.


“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullsh*t.”  ~ Elizabeth Gilbert


Take Inner.U’s Current Reality Quiz to See Where You Stand >>


“Help! I’m drowning.”

My inner wisdom had been trying to get this message through to me for about a year, with increasing urgency.

At first, it was a whisper. I didn’t quite understand what it was saying. I wasn’t even sure it was talking to me. How could it be? I have a great job, a sweet home with a beautiful view, two healthy, happy children, a husband who can cook a killer veg curry and adores me…what could possibly be the problem?

The small voice got louder…

I felt increasingly uncomfortable in my own skin: hating photographs of myself, snapping at my children, losing interest in my favorite things, questioning all my choices. My relationship began showing cracks at its foundations.

I began to feel tired. So tired. The kind of tired sleep just can’t fix.

A few months ago, I had a full-blown panic attack while at work. I felt like I couldn’t breathe or think. Tears started to fall and I just couldn’t stop them. I quickly made an excuse and went home to bed. I slept the whole afternoon, waking only when my youngest son came in to ask if I was sick. 

I can’t even remember now what set it off, but I do know this was my nervous system saying: “Hey, lady! Pay attention over here, Inner Wisdom is trying to tell you something. This is not a drill!”

At the time, I could not put my finger on the cause of this meltdown. Burnout: maybe. Premature mid-life crisis: perhaps. Mom overwhelm: could be. Turns out it was all and none of these things.

The simple problem was this: I’d been cheating on myself.

I’d been telling little lies to that inner wisdom of mine, keeping promises to everyone else but me, allowing my dreams to decay and my personal integrity to slide into oblivion. And as a consequence, I was drowning. 

Drowning in small disappointments piled one on top of the other. In all the things I wanted to do but “couldn’t find the time” for. In the pile of paperwork slowly taking over my cupboard that I kept meaning to sort through. In the things about my relationship that had been bugging me for years but I’d never addressed properly. In my own lack of time management and parallel fear of coming to the end of the time I have left. Drowning in frustration. In heartbreak. In excuses. 

Who was to blame? None other than yours truly. As I came to discover, I’d been drowning in my own bullsh*t.

Inner.U: My Journey to Humaning Better

Get an exclusive 50% off this life-changing course with code ELEPHANTJOURNAL >>

The opportunity to do this course could not have come at a better time for me. But, much like the idea of creating something (writers will relate) versus the act of creating something, this program felt empowering and exciting to commit to.

The sting in the tail came swiftly.

Inner.U incorporates all the wisdom and patented methods of Lauren Zander, executive life coach, author, and creator of The Handel Method®. Think of her as the Fairy Godmother to your big dreams, although instead of fairy dust, she comes packing hard (but helpful) truth-bombs.

Not gonna lie, it’s been a lot of work. It’s deep, it’s tough, it’s plenty uncomfortable…and that’s just the first three modules!

This shi(f)t is serious, and even though Lauren’s sweet straight talk and loveable New Jersey accent make it a tiny bit easier, it’s kinda scary coming face to face with yourself.

If you think it isn’t, you’ve never properly come face to face with yourself. At least, the self you’ve built: the stories and the persona and the baggage…oh wow, the baggage!

“Lauren introduced me to a truth that changed my life. I had been teaching practices of connection with no notion of integrity, and no respect for true intimacy. Lauren and her method helped me rewrite my inner dialogue, connect deeply to my family, and evolve my excuses so I can be the partner, the mother, the daughter, the sister, and the teacher I’ve always dreamed I could be.” ~ Elena Brower, Yoga teacher and author of The Art of Attention and Practice You: A Journal

There really is nowhere to hide in this course. As Lauren says in the introduction, this program may feel like a visit to the dentist—after all, you’re going digging for the cavity-prone areas of your life. 

But she also promises if we follow the steps she lays out for us, the results are life-altering. Not just for our work lives, not just our personal lives—our whole lives—as I began to discover first-hand.

Through the assignments in the first couple of sessions, I started to unpick my own stories, persona, and unconscious baggage. It really was a process of unpicking, untangling, unearthing the stuff I was telling myself and believing! As painstaking as it was, what it revealed was truly worth the work.

I had to get real about my dreams for my life, in 12 different areas, some of them unexpected: like my relationship to self, my home, fun, and adventure…

Then I had to compare (honestly, eek!) where I was in each of these areas in relation to where I wanted to be.

After that excruciating but necessary process, I got to voice all the reasons I’d never reach my dreams in each area. As counter-intuitive as this sounds, it basically amounted to an exercise in revealing and identifying some of the inner dialogue that’s actually been holding me back from my dreams.

Take Inner.U’s Current Reality Quiz to See Where You Stand >>

Who woulda known that I had a scared chicken, an entitled brat, and a know-it-all weather reporter resident in my head? And that’s just the first three! 

My weather reporter was telling me things like: “I suck at managing my time and my money,” whilst I simultaneously wished to be better at both, feeling like a failure every time I went too far into my overdraft or let a morning escape me without achieving a single thing on my to-do list.

I loved and hated the process in equal measure, but something started happening around Module 3: I finally began to cut through that inner bullsh*t. I finally understood why I felt so out of sorts. The root of it all was my personal integrity (or current lack thereof). And trust me, I am certainly not alone here! 

“Lauren Zander does not mince words. She is authentic, has 20 years of knowledge in life coaching and her method is the only method that has the capacity to change my life. And it did.” ~ Forest Steven Whitaker III

I started making and keeping promises to myself: specific, measurable promises. After identifying the areas in my life that were furthest from where I dreamed they could be, I picked three to focus on…this time around (yep, you get lifetime access to this course so it’s totally evergreen and you can do it as many times as ya need).

Learn to Human Better with Inner.U

1. The Areas Of Life: Writing A Dream And Your Current State

The Hu(manual): a sneak preview
Ready to wake up to your dreams? Suffice it to say, no matter who or how big you are, this is where we start. Where exactly? Your highest ideals for yourself. You coming?
Get 50% off 'til Jan 15th
< Previous Next >

I picked Relationship to Self, Career, and Time. In order to redirect my beliefs and behavior in these areas, I made one promise to myself in each, to start. And with each promise comes a consequence you set yourself for not keeping it. It’s not as punitive as it sounds, really! It’s more about choosing something that’ll annoy you enough to keep you on track when you’re inclined to be lazy, non-committal, and even downright avoidant about showing up for yourself. And we all can be!

So for Relationship to Self, I promised myself that I’d meditate for 10 minutes every morning by 10 a.m., or else do 20 minutes of ironing for each day I missed. Ironing is hand-down my most loathsome chore ever, but I can stomach it if I have to.

For Career, I promised myself that I’d do morning pages (three pages of writing right after waking, a task designed by Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way, to clear the mind and make space for better creative flow every day)—or else 50 burpees for every day I miss. Tough, but doable and kinda healthy too so not really a punishment.

For Time, I promised myself that I’d schedule out and time-block my week ahead every Sunday—or forfeit my morning coffee for the following week. Let me tell ya, that consequence sure is a motivator! I have not missed this one yet.

And it felt fun and empowering to hold myself accountable to myself. Even when I missed a few meditations and morning pages and had to burpee and iron my way outta blowing it, I began to feel better, from the inside out. 

This is Just the Beginning

I still have to Get my Head Under New Management, Learn my Traits and How to Leverage Them, Investigate my Hauntings (yep, and this is not some kind of witchy thing), Get Properly Unstuck, and Design my Future, among other steps.

While that may sound like a lot, what’s on the other side is so darn juicy, according to those who’ve been there, that I’m determined to keep going. 

With Lauren’s sassy guidance, the monthly free Q&A calls with a certified coach, integrity points, fun badges, awesome buddy system and (not entirely pain-free) promise tracker to keep me heading in the right direction, what sets this course apart from other life coaching I’ve tried is that I am now accountable, with a capital A. That really does seem to be the secret sauce. 

For the first time in years, I’m feeling crystal clear about where I want to go, down to the details of what I’d like my home to feel and look like. I’m less cluttered mentally, and I have that inner sense of, “Yes, I can!” instead ofh…a sort of resigned powerlessness and overwhelm. 

I’m not saying I’m going to live happily ever after and never feel crappy again, but I am becoming more self-aware and prepared than I think I’ve ever been with the inner toolkit this course is giving me. To repeat, I’ve only done the first three modules out of 12! Those are some insane gains right there.

Instead of getting lost in my own excuses and bullsh*t again, I now have a system laid out for me—one that’s proven to work—and I intend to use the hell out of it!

Inner.U is You, Only Better
Use code ELEPHANTJOURNAL to get 50% off >>

You Got This!

    • 12 audio coaching sessions (and 3 bonus sessions) with Lauren Zander.
    • 14 assignments with hot tips, tools, and cheat sheets.
    • 1 FREE private coaching call with a Certified HG coach.
    • Inner.University—a six-week group Bootcamp with a Certified HG coach
    • 2 free Q&A calls a month, led by a Certified HG Coach.
    • The Promise Tracker—our integrity-boosting, life-simplifying digital butt kicker!
    • Integrity Score—analytics on your progress, your Personal Integrity®, and your dreams.
    • The Buddy System—a community of people cheering you on!
    • Prizes, badges, and free stuff for being awesome.
    • Oh, and lifetime access to all of the above
Read 2 Comments and Reply

Read 2 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Khara-Jade Warren  |  Contribution: 75,065

author: Khara-Jade Warren

Image: DeMorris Byrd/Unsplash