If you had met me 10 years ago, I was a very different person to who I am now. Back then, I lived my life according to expectations; expectations set by others but mostly those I set for myself.
I've always been described as a "reliable", "thoughtful", someone who can "get it done", but for the longest time, my actions came out of a place that was not authentically me. I was trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be - and this may have been true in some cases but quite often it was what I perceived others wanted me to be. In other words, it wasn't true. No-one expected these things of me, expect myself.
I was creating an outward image of what I thought society wanted me to be.
A bit of background that might help you understand how I got to this place...
In 2002, I left my home country, Australia, and started on my now 15 year journey as an "Expat". My husband works in the oil industry and as is the nature of the industry, we moved every 2 or 3 years. So far, we have lived in 8 countries and each time we moved, I felt completely displaced. I soon learned ways to cope with the turmoil and insecurity I felt. I reinvented myself every time we moved.
In a struggle to adjust and fit in to a new place, I would whole-heartedly (almost desperately!) throw myself into every social circle you could imagine. Expat ladies groups, sporting groups, moms' groups, fitness groups, cooking classes, craft classes. Anything to create a sense of identity and belonging.
This strategy served me well for a long time; up until I had my children in 2012. The demands of being a mother of twin babies didn't allow me to do what I normally did to cope. I couldn't reinvent myself despite how hard I tried. Oh and I tried! In my head, I had images of being that fit, active mom who did everything she normally did before having her kids. And for a while, I managed to give the outward impression of having it all together.
But I could only keep it up for so long. The energy required to live a life that is not authentic to you is extraordinary!
I was exhausted, frustrated, lost, depleted and broken.
I had no choice in the end; I had to face my reality and make a change. Unfortunately, it took me hitting rock bottom and being diagnosed with depression when the girls were 18 months old (that's how long I managed to keep up the insanity!) to see that I was fooling myself and that I had lost touch with my authentic self.
After much support from doctors, medication, therapists and my husband, I eventually emerged and became determined to discover more about myself and hopefully find my purpose in life. I wanted peace and joy to come back to my life. The only way I could do this is by being my authentic self.
Fast forward 5 years and here I am. Although it's been a long journey, I feel I now truly am myself.
I work everyday at living a life authentic to me.
I have learned and developed the tools and strategies to keep me on track and have found my purpose - helping others through their own journey to self-awareness and authenticity. After all...
...what's better than living a life authentic to you? Peace and joy are bound to follow.
Now, I am privileged and grateful to play a small part in facilitating and empowering others on their journey.