Part 2: When did I change? When I hit rock bottom.
I felt like I had lost everything.
I was 32. I was previously divorced. I owned a failing catering company that I had started 3 years earlier. It was 2008. I lived in Bend, Oregon which was one of the towns that had the farthest to fall when the housing bubble burst and the economy crashed. I owned a house that was now worth less than half of what I owed on it. I had not really paid myself in 3 years. My company looked successful on the outside and was a financial wreck on the inside. I was broke and in debt.
My boyfriend of 2.5 years and I had just broken up. It felt like the last straw. I laid on my couch and sobbed. Yes, I cried for the loss of my relationship, but I also cried for the loss of everything I was trying to build to prove my worth in the world. I was losing. Big time.
My self-worth was at an all-time low. I felt so alone in the world, and I don’t have parents to fall back on. A family to come to my rescue. I felt like I was a tattered rag flapping in a storm with no sense of where to snag onto. I cried for the years of trying to prove I was lovable and it not working.
And I don’t know how or why I went to this workshop. A girlfriend of mine had convinced me to commit to a 3-day self-help workshop. I didn’t realize it was self-help. She labeled it as leadership training. She told me it would help me manage my staff better. I had committed to this before my relationship ended. I WOULD NOT have gone had I not already committed. And how I was able to afford it (remember I was broke) is that my friend arranged for me to cater the meals of the workshop leader in exchange for attending. So she was counting on me for her food the whole time. How could I bail at the last minute because I wanted to sob on my couch all weekend like I had done the weekend before?
So I forced myself to go. And what I learned that weekend changed my whole life. On day one I was shown a mirror of my pattern. My secret, even to me, deeply held belief about not being lovable just for being me and that I had to DO something to be valuable and worthy was brought out into the light. I wasn’t shamed for believing this. I met others who did the exact same thing. I realized I wasn’t alone in this pattern of thought. That other’s did it too.
I also realized that if I genuinely thought about it, I knew that my friends loved me just for being me. That I didn’t need to do anything to gain their friendship. The problem was the unconscious belief that was driving my decision making. Now that I was very aware of this belief I decided I wanted to start changing it. I decided to make a line in the sand.
Pre knowing and post knowing. I wanted a new start at life where I began to make choices based on the idea that I was lovable just for being me, just as I was. I didn’t need to do anything or be anyone different.
I began to look at every decision and ask myself “Are you doing this because you think it makes you look good or because it truly feeds your soul? Would you still do it, even if no one knew you did it?” This was the new way I was going to dictate my life.
By Sunday of the workshop, I had decided I was going to file full bankruptcy on both my business and my personal life. I was going to foreclose on my house and have my car repossessed. I was going to start from the very beginning again and rebuild a life built on the premise that I am lovable and valuable just the way I am.
And that is what I did. I also started therapy. Like deep, hard, brutal, cleansing, rebuilding, healing, magical therapy. And I found me. And the journey is never over. If I am so blessed, I will keep learning who I am and healing my soul for the rest of my life.
So when I talk about listening to your body I mean I have been there. I have ignored and silenced my inner wisdom. And now I don’t. I look for hunger and thirst cues, but even more importantly I listen and feel what my body is telling me… about me.
What am I feeling? Why am I feeling hesitant about this situation? What does my gut say?
Slowing down enough and really risking listening to your inner mentor could be the bravest thing you ever do for yourself.
I’m here for you.