2021 granted me an unexpected gift — a rare opportunity to take a clean break from my PR consulting after my client was acquired and the project ended. After 20+ years in pharmaceutical PR (the last 15 as an independent consultant), instead of looking for my next job or project, I was drawn to step away and be more present in my life for a change. I uncharacteristically made a choice to spend some time with myself. And, to be honest, at that point I wasn’t even really sure who that person was anymore.
My life has been pretty wonderful on all accounts (great husband, child, friends, family, career), but something was missing. I’d had this feeling for most of my life — knowing there had to be more to it all. But surrounded and supported by so much love and abundance, how could I possibly want or expect more? This made me feel ungrateful for what I already had and selfish for wanting to seek something deeper.
But I did it anyway. It wasn’t the first time I’d made a quick decision that felt right to me, even when it seemed rash or out of character to those who know me well. I won’t lie and say I didn’t battle my mind over it and worry what people would think. But I saw it for the opportunity that it was and let my heart and gut overrule the doubts. I answered the call of my soul.
This led to spending the better part of a year in a void space where I got to know myself and learned to love who I truly was in a way that I never was able to before. I looked at the version of myself that I had presented to the world outside of my closest friends and family members, and knew it was time to put that person to rest because she is not who I am here to be. It felt like I had been lying to myself and living someone else’s life, and I couldn’t do that any longer. So I loved and thanked that old version of myself, and then put her to bed and decided at that moment to begin living a more aligned and present life, loving and finally accepting who I am at my truest essence.
My time of self love led me down a path of spiritual exploration, introspection and deep discovery that was life altering, it even opened up a new career path that I didn’t expect, teaching coaches and healers in the soul care space to generate their own media coverage. But the most unexpected blessing that my self-love journey gifted me was an entirely new relationship with the people around me, especially my 10-year-old son.
I had always been a loving, if somewhat stressed and distracted mother. I returned to my career when my son was four months old, working from home, which was both a blessing and a curse with the boundary between my two worlds always blurred due to the 24-7 nature of PR. My son is an independent child and not particularly needy from an emotional perspective. He is balanced and well-adjusted and I took his easy nature for granted. When I suddenly had the time to drive him to and from school every day, and just be more present in general during our days and evenings together, I started to notice him smiling at me more, hugging me more, proactively telling me he loved me more. It both lifted and broke my heart at the same time.
During one of our car rides home from school – always an opportune time for serious questions with kids — I asked him if he noticed a difference in me since I had stopped working so much. He looked over at me and said, “It’s like you’re a totally different person, Mom. You’re happy and always there for me now.” That was all I needed to hear to know that I would never go back to any other way of being.
It is a paradox how putting ourselves first lets us love others better. But when we can accept ourselves for who we are, instead of who the world wants us to be, we become free – free to grant others the same gift of unconditional love and acceptance, and free to receive more love in return. We are all uniquely designed to be part of a greater whole and, until we can love ourselves fully, it’s difficult to see what we project onto those around us. When we let all of it go, and learn to just ‘be who we are’, somehow everything else falls into place. It may be the most beautiful lesson that I’ve learned in this human experience – simple and complex at the same time.
While I will always mourn a little for the time I may have lost, I will be forever grateful that I listened to the call of my soul before I missed out on one more precious minute. Practicing self-love allowed me to discover a deeper and greater love for everything and everyone around me than I ever could’ve imagined.
After more than two decades in healthcare PR, Amanda Joy Foley works with entrepreneurs in the soul care space to empower them to share their voice and mission with those they serve. Her company, Curate Your Soul teaches Intuitive PR™, a new and innovative method that is highly personalized and based on each client’s unique energy. She pulls back the curtain on PR and teaches them how to be their own publicists and get featured on podcasts and online media, providing them with knowledge, tools and confidence to share their soul mission with the world in an aligned and authentic way. Learn more at www.curateyoursoul.com or follow on Instagram @curate.your.soul