With each new year I take more and more time to self-reflect and assess. One thing I’ve realized since my late 40′s is that issues that aren’t fixed don’t go away, they get worse until you HAVE to look at them.
What’s your foundation look like? I was watching “Rehab Addict” the other day and she bought a house for $1. The house was a mess but she felt she could get it back to its “former glory”. However, once inspected, it was evident that the foundation needed to be redone. Without a solid foundation, no real work could be done inside the house. So she had a crew come in, lift the entire house and the foundation was re-poured. A huge task that once underway, went well. The interior now had a solid foundation to lean on.
I equate this to my own life. My foundation was made of fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of speaking up, fear of not knowing what I was talking about, the usual laments. My fear ran deep, it began to impact my health at a very young age. Stomach issues, headaches, thyroid problems (tough to know which came first, the health issues or the fear). Regardless, fear (not love) ruled most of my decision making. This is not a good place to live. Because as inevitable issues arose in my life, I had nothing to lean on but fear. Fear exacerbated my issues, could keep me from feeling joy, from enjoying the wins in my life. Plus it took a lot of work to make sure no one else was privy to the fear I felt. It came to a point where I knew I needed a therapist. I found one and my life began to change (even though the sessions were really painful and I sat there white knuckled most of the time).
But it wasn’t enough, more internal work needed to be done. So I would go back to therapy (all seriously wonderful), hired an amazingly supportive career counselor, went to spiritually workshops, listened to the best speakers, went to Omega, Miraval, I Can Do It, trained with Martha Beck, listened to tapes/cd’s, read, read and read some more. It worked, when I worked at.
In the 80′s, it was not as easy to get help or even admit that you needed help. Our parents were immigrants, or products of the depression, of war, they couldn’t understand how we could possibly have any issues when our futures looked so bright. Just keep your nose to the grindstone, don’t complain and do want you need to do and you’ll be fine. But we could see they weren’t fine. Many were dying young of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes. Most were smoking and drinking their lives away. Explosive anger was how deep seated fear was dealt with.
I’m seeing us return to this trend, as people pretend that knowing a good wine makes it okay to drink the whole bottle. Rising personal debt, prescription drug abuse, stock piling guns. We feel the change and instead of riding the wave we seem to be digging in, clinging to what we know will change (and never served us in the first place.)
After all this time, I’m finding there is only one real fix for fear, learning to love yourself. People tend to cringe at this. I cringe at it but I know it’s right. It’s no longer an option. Self love is not narcissism, it’s not selfish, it’s essential. Especially as all the rules in business and our personal lives are changing. Someone that really likes themselves, is kind and generous but not to their own detriment.
So where do you start? Like Steve Martin’s old joke about how to be a millionaire and not pay taxes. First, get a million dollar… When over the years I’ve heard in one form or another, love yourself first. I felt the same way. I would try to do positive affirmations and it would feel so foreign, so over the top, so uncomfortable.
So I started small. I stopped being so mean to myself. Since loving seemed like too much, not being mean seemed more doable. No more name calling or at least nipping it when I felt myself going over the top. It takes practice, it takes awareness, it’s takes patience. Journal it out, tap it out, talk it out, pray it out but get it out of your system. Basically, cut it out!
So why bother? Because each and every one of us has greatness in us. Think about the world if we let our light shine, really shine. What an amazing world this would be. Start now, start today, your life depends on it! Her are a few tips.
Is my journey over, hardly, but the good days are outweighing the bad. I have to work on my foundation every day. But it’s worth it. Not just for me but for the people around me.
Eva Lewandowski MBA, is a certified Life Coach, certified EFT Practitioner, seminar leader, speaker and co-host of a weekly internet radio show “Corporate Talk with Charlie and Eva”. She is also a 30 year veteran of Corporate America as an IT consultant. Using the skills she learned in acting classes, life coaching and EFT certification training as well as her struggle with debilitating stage fright, she created, Stand Up and Be Heard!, a program that teaches professionals how to overcome their fear of the spotlight. She is also the author of “Put on Your Phone Face: Tips and Techniques for teleconferences and conference calls”.