From the age of 7:
We begin to notice society's rules, and we believe we have to follow them like law.
We begin to listen to society's expectations, and we believe we have to do everything we can to live up to them.
We begin to believe in society's standards, and we compare ourselves to them - trying relentlessly to change who we really are.
20 years a prisoner.
So for 20 or more years, we build an internal world that reinforces the external world - and we believe "you are only worthy if you follow the rules, standards and expectations..."
This internal world becomes a rabbit hole of stories, of blame, of self-criticism, of bad habits, of never living up to expectations, and eventually of slow, but inevitable, self-destruction.
Until one day it just becomes way too much to bare. And just like my story last week, the rabbit hole opens up and we slip into the abyss...
But fuck, don't you just want to be free...
It is so easy to take the wrong tunnel back.
The journey toward escape and finding freedom was not one of a few hours...
For me, it was one of years - trying different solutions, doing everything I was 'supposed' to do to find happiness, going down wrong track after wrong track, I got so lost, so scared, so alone. BUT eventually I did find my way back. And you can too.
The mistakes I made were not unique to me - they are there, ready for us all to make.
Mistake 1: Focus on the past:
This one mistake, kept me stuck for many many years!!
I sat down with counsellors, psychologists, and my journal, and pulled apart my past - every single part of my life story was analysed, emotionally reinforced, blamed, built up and solidified as being the REASON I was who I am now. All responsibility was pushed onto external events and other people - and I was the victim of my circumstances.
I lost all personal power and spiraled into depression - I began to relate to being the victim of everything in my life. Things got more hopeless.
It wasn’t until I realised that who I am today, right now, in this moment, was not about my past - that I began to take control of my circumstances.
Mistake 2: Change jobs or companies:
20 jobs in 14 years…. Do I need to say more?
I did not find fulfillment doing the jobs I ‘should’ be trying to do. More money didn’t make me happy, more responsibility didn’t make me happy, status didn’t make me happy. Trying to be the 'company girl’ and do everything ‘right’ and follow the rules and regulations, did not make me happy or give me any additional career opportunities.
It wasn’t until I started to approach my ‘day job' differently and have the courage to really show up - authentic in who I am and what I wanted, that things began to go my way. And this was when the real opportunity to begin my own business occurred...
Mistake 3: Take a holiday:
Running away from reality is never the answer, but hell, it put a big old band-aid on my reality every few months!
I took so many holidays, sometimes just for a week, sometimes for 6 weeks - that really all it did was give me instant escape - and the ability to not face my spiraling low self-confidence and low self-esteem - and my huge fear of making changes in my life.
Getting into credit card debt forced me to wake up and see what I was doing - but I don’t want you to have to go through what I have been through - running away for a short stint of escapism is not going to change the way you feel about life - it is in accepting reality that we find the ability to have freedom. And I’ll tell you more in just a moment… because when I was on holidays, I just started to make the next terrible mistake -
Mistake 4: Set big goals:
EEEK! So many times when I was down in the dumps, I thought “If I set myself some Big Goals then I’ll feel motivated to change my life!”
But, in fact it did the opposite…. It made me feel shit about not achieving the goals and not being as good as other people who DO achieve them… And the support of a goal focused life-coach really just exacerbated it - plans, goals setting, envisioning the dream life I wanted - just highlighted for me everything I DIDN'T have - highlighted the person that I wasn’t yet - put under the microscope all of the goals I hadn’t achieved… and made me feel like a massive failure.
When I stopped focusing on making instant changes and trying to achieve Big Audacious Goals, and instead looked at who I was NOW and what achievable step I needed to take next - I knew that I was good enough to do exactly that. And you can too! But there is a few more mistake I made that you might want to know about -
Mistake 5: Read more books:
I love to read. But I’m like a sponge - I can soak it all in, but then nothing much else happens, the knowledge just dries up. I spent hundreds of dollars on every book I could get my hands on. At one stage I had 5 books on the go and barely read two chapters in each of them - it had gotten totally out of control.
And every book - the teachings and motivation lasted while I was reading them - and then it took such a small amount of time and everything was forgotten - life went on as normal, and I was just as stuck, fearful and feeling hopeless. I was addicted to ‘self-help’ to the point of needing help!
My husband had to ban new books in the house!
But when I stopped reading new books, and went back to reread some of the old ones, I realised what a waste of money so many of them were! Affirmations, processing the past, and reading all about someone else’s great life had just made me feel worse! Perpetuating the cycle of buying more books!
A massive clear out of my library completely freed me from trying to follow in someone else’s footsteps - and supported me to reread a very select few 'presence-focused' books - I realised that I had a choice as to what I believed and what I got out of the few treasured books I now have - and was able to read them with an open and objective mind when it wasn’t so flooded with information!
And I found my motivation... when I had the space to find me.
Mistake 6: Try to do it alone.
So yes, I had a life-coach, but technically - I was alone.
I couldn't talk to my husband about this stuff. I couldn't even talk to my sisters about it really - I was so conscious of 'misery loves company', so I just couldn't go there with anyone in my current circle...
But when I found other people like me, when I found other people who felt like the odd one out - when I started to put myself out there, well then it really changed for me. I found people who also wanted to do something extraordinary with their lives - who felt a similar struggle to me - then I was able to find the love for myself I needed to make it through the final stretch toward freedom.
One rule that should have been believed long ago...
So, I was no longer alone on the outside, but yet every day, I still felt alone on the inside...
I was seeing that the world was so different from what we were conditioned to believe. And finally, I realised the fundamental thing that truly changed my life.
Most people believe they have to change their external circumstances in order to experience freedom, feel excited about life and truly embrace who they are.
BUT, there is one rule that no-one ever told you at that young age - and that many people hide from you even right now.
There is one rule that society does not want you to know, because otherwise you will challenge its existence...
That one rule can set you free from pain, from torture, from prison...
That one rule is:
There are no rules in reality. There are no standards in reality. There are no expectations of you in reality -
EXCEPT THOSE THAT YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT AS REALITY IN THE MOMENT.
Tearing down the tunnels.
And in deciding to not live up to the Standards, Rules and Expectations that society, media and western culture imposes on women - I began to tear down my internal reality as I knew it. I tore down the limiting beliefs that made me feel unworthy. I tore down the self-imposed standards that made me feel not good enough. I tore down the expectations that I had accepted as real.
And I became ME.
I could bring in self-love. I could feel self-worth. And I could see that it was my responsibility to choose in each moment, just what I wanted for me. I could look with an objective eye at everything I had experienced, everything that I had learned, everything that I felt, and I could make choices with NO right or wrong, no black or white, no barriers to simply being authentically ME.
Ultimate freedom in the moment.
And this is what I know is my mission to teach via Fox Park Academy. A community of women, on the journey to be present to our experience of life so that we can take responsibility for who we are - in the moment. The skills of self-awareness, self-love, presence, courage and confidence - so that we can make the choice to have freedom in our lives.
And it launches today - right now in fact!!!
Click here to find out how it has impacted the lives of other women who have already experienced the Fox Park Academy program.
Fox Park Academy re-empowers women who have lost sight of their authentic self, to let go of the rules, standards and expectations that hold them back, so they can wake each morning inspired and confident to show the world who they really are.