About the Author: Kate Olson, CPC, CHt, is a Life Coach, Integrative Master Hypnotherapist, EFT & NLP Master Practitioner & Trainer and Reiki Master located in Seattle, Northern Lights Life Coaching www.northernlightscoaching.net & Embrace Change Hypnosis & NLP www.embracechangehypnosis.com. Kate offers workshops & classes, as well as, individual and group coaching. Her emphasis is on assisting clients in finding Path, Purpose and Peace. Kate focuses on integration of mind, body, spirit wellness. It is her mission to help clients find joy through connection, creative expression and embracing change. She is passionate about creativity, travel, personal growth and enjoying life. She has another wellness-related business offering Salt Therapy, Salt Works Saltariums. Salt Therapy offers an all natural treatment solution for respiratory and skin problems. All three businesses operate as Dba's under Total Well Resources, LLC. Kate is a speaker, writer and event facilitator. She is also a radio show host on Contact Talk Radio, www.ctrnetwork.com/embracechange hosting "Embrace Change with Kate ".
It should be the easiest thing in the world just to be yourself, right? Why is it then, that there are so few people that manage to be who they really are and express themselves in a genuine way in life? I think that children start out instinctively knowing who they are and learning quite naturally to express themselves in a genuine way. When do we start diverging from our real self and becoming someone else?
I don’t think it is something that happens quickly or consciously, but more a slow process we hardly notice as we conform to other people’s expectations and sometimes even our own expectations, betraying in small ways our core selves, until one day we look in the mirror and hardly recognize the person we see. Or maybe, it is not something we see, but somehow just feel that we have become someone we don’t know. We feel out of sorts, misaligned or incongruent, like we are trying to fit in somewhere we don’t become.
As a life coach and hypnotherapist, I see clients all the time who are seeking clarity and say they feel lost and confused. They feel stuck or just don’t know who they are any more and find it difficult to make any decisions at all. Nothing feels right. What I usually find is that they are out of alignment or congruence with themselves and their core values. All of the parts and pieces that make up “you” and work together in sync are out of wack. You feel confused and something says you should not be who you are. Every action chips away at that person you were born to be and you lose trust in yourself. You begin to doubt your own basic instincts and the sense of internal guidance that comes natural to you. Yes, we must learn discipline and what is accepted and expected behavior in certain situations. How can we do this and stay that unique person that is authentically "us"? How does this happen? How do we lose ourselves?
It happens incidentally and accidently, as we react to everything and everyone in our environment. The little girl that is told she should not talk so loudly or the little boy that is told “boys don’t cry “, begins to doubt their own feelings and tries to behave as others think they should. Can’t, shouldn’t, must, don’t and every little doubt chips away at our core self! How do we navigate this without becoming someone we are not, without loosing our spirit and uniqueness?
While this does not happen to everyone, it does happen to many people at some point in their lives to one degree or another. When our body is out of alignment, we can go to a chiropractor or physical therapist or sometimes do a series of stretches and exercises that will put everything back into place and set us back to functioning and feeling as we were meant to. How do we go about that when it is our internal self, the very core of our being, our internal guidance system, that is out of alignment? It is a process of awareness and focus, a deep looking inward to find the truths that resonate with us and fit us on the deepest and most basic level. It is knowing yourself and acting in accordance with our core values and beliefs. It is a true self-awareness that feels comfortable and we can fall into with ease and simple grace.
How do we go about finding ourselves or getting back to our true self? It does take some stretching of a mental and emotional sort and self-examination to get back to that true and authentic self and feel comfortably in-sync. Where to start is sometimes the hardest question. a little alone time is usually a good starting point. Taking some time to be with yourself and acknowledge how you really feel about things and what pleases or gives you bliss on the most basic level without outside influence will help. Getting in touch with your inner-child and remembering who you were and what you liked as a kid can give you precious insight. Were you artistic, athletic, organized or carefree? Did you have an active imagination? Were you quiet or the loudest kid in the room. Did you like attention or prefer to quietly observe? All of these are characteristics and all of them are good and positive. There is nothing about us that is not beautiful. Yes, we sometimes have to learn to use our qualities in context, but we don’t have to be someone we are not or give up those traits that feel true to us. First, because we will never do it successfully and secondly, we will always feel like we are missing a piece of ourselves. Lastly, we will not come across as authentic to others. Have you ever met someone who seems to be behaving in a way that does not seem “true” or authentic, even though you have never met them before? They just don't resonate as "real" or authentic! You can feel that they are not “themselves”, even though you have nothing to go on, except, a feeling. Chances are, as you get to know them better you will see that “real self” come out, if only for a moment and as you glimpse that person you will feel more comfortable with them. So, if we are forced or choose to mask and hide our natural traits, we not only feel inauthentic to ourselves, but to others we meet and interact with, as well. Try doing things you loved as a kid or connecting with people you knew long ago. This can sometimes help to bring out that original self.
As a kid, I loved art, writing, music and creating of all types. During the period of my life that I was most lost and out sync with myself, I had none of those activities in my life in any form. I remember my sister commenting on the fact that I didn’t even have any pictures on the walls in my apartment. I was a tomboy as a kid and really loved the outdoors and games or competition of all types. I was not doing anything that connected with that part of myself in any way. I loved animals as a kid and I had no pets or any connection with them at all. I loved reading and learning as a kid and I couldn’t remember the last time I read a book that wasn’t business related. I did not realize all of this and more, all at once, but I definitely felt that I was not the “me” that I wanted to be! Basically, I was at the crisis point that a lot of my clients come to me in. My life had literally fallen apart and I was being forced to evaluate how it had happened and what I could do now. I was asking myself, “Who in heck are you?” and not liking the answer. The process of reconnecting started slowly and was a journey of renewal and discovery that felt so good. I often, refer to it as getting in touch with my “wise child” and realizing the little person I started out as was someone I really loved and respected and was “very proud” to be. I wanted to be her again and once I got started, it was so easy to be her because it just fit, like a pair of soft warm pajamas just out of dryer that are so warm and comfortable, you just know you want to put them on.
I started recreating me a step at a time connecting with the things I enjoyed doing and that gave me bliss. I really asked myself what things felt like and enjoyed those things that felt completely good and right. I expressed my feeling and started to feel more “me” the more I did this. I spent time with people who accepted me and made me feel good! And, the more I felt good it seemed, the more people I felt good around. It’s funny how that works! Now, my house is filled with art and I enjoy being there. My life is about creating! I love to travel and be in the outdoors. If I have a challenging day, seeing a beautiful sunset or being in nature will always bring me back to balance and a happier state. I listen to music all the time. In the process of coming back to myself I went to 17 concerts in one year, partly fulfilling the list of concerts I had said I’d go to “someday” and partly just getting back in touch with music I loved! I connect with people more these days and realize that it’s important to me, especially being connected to my family, but I also spend a good amount of time alone –feeling connected to myself on a deep level and making sure that little girl I love, the “real me” is still there with me. I will be continuing this journey, as I have realized that we are a “work in progress”, always changing and growing, but staying connected to our core and being “brilliantly authentic”, like a rare one of kind gem!
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This guest blog will feature contributions from experts & other advocates on topics that speak to integration mind, body & spirit wellness.