One of my clients, let’s call her Ruth, told me that the more stuff she lets go of and the more she creates space in her life and comes closer to living the life she really wants, the more she seems to be eating, and checking emails, and watching television. She says it’s as if she’s trying to fill a big hole.
Interesting because I have a theory about women’s weight gain in mid-life. I know there’s all the hormonal stuff going on. But I also know this is the time women wake up to what is missing in their lives. They feel a pull towards something more real, and something greater. They come to see how they’ve been supporting everyone else’s dreams and had forgotten about their own.
My theory is that with all this emotional energy flying around - letting go of the old and becoming more sensitive to what is missing, any holes in the soul are revealed, and this can be scary. Perfect time to create some distractions - like stuffing down the feelings with food, or checking emails yet again, or watching television, shopping - anything to try to fill in the hole where some part of you got left behind.
It’s about denial.
There are parts of yourself that have been lost along the way and that makes sustaining success impossible.
So, what happens when you try to reinvent your life?
You can change partners, move to another country or another part of your own country, change careers, start over in some way. And, you take yourself wherever you go. Your soul has a way of not letting you forget that hole you have. That part of yourself YOU have forgotten!
Sometimes in an attempt to fill that hole, you dig yourself an even deeper hole, with debt, extra weight, health issues, relationship troubles or worse.
You’re going to keep creating situations that give you an opportunity to heal and reclaim that part of yourself you’ve been resisting. As it keeps bubbling up, there is no amount of food you can eat, or things you can buy, or emails you can check, that will fix it.
The truth is right in front of you when you look at your life. Your life is what it is.
We all have these places. It’s what life is about, to learn what we are here to learn and to remember who we really are.
I’ve reinvented myself many times. Different countries, different careers, different environments. It became clear to me very early on that wherever I went, I took myself with me. Leaving New Zealand to be as far away from my mother as possible in the UK, didn’t work. There she was in my head! And anyway, it was really only ever about me, and there I was!
The only way reinventing yourself works is to do it very consciously. If you notice you’re eating when you’re not hungry, you’re compulsively checking emails, or spending money or playing out any other unconscious patterns - it’s a good sign you’re avoiding feeling something and you’re trying to fill a hole you’ve dug in your soul - and it’s not going to go away by itself. If you do not want to keep creating the same outcomes, it’s worth taking a look.
Here are some places to start.
1. Take a look at yourself in the mirror. Imagine you don’t know the person staring back at you - describe the person you see (lovingly!). Look at their bank balance, their finances, their future, their plan for life, relationships, how they talk to themselves, how they dress. Let it reflect back to you, the truth about your habits, lifestyle and choices.
2. See anything uncomfortable? Ask yourself: why did I choose this? Perhaps deep down you don’t feel worthy of love. Perhaps you were taught it was good to struggle. Or that rich people are evil. Perhaps you doubt your own ability to make a difference in the world, or the value of your own gifts. Perhaps something hurt you deeply at some point and part of you shut down.
The truth is always there in front of you. And it’s not too late to make different choices. Why DID you create this? Why WOULD you create this? There has to be a payoff for you. Remember, you are gathering information, shining a light on something that’s been buried deep. This is an opportunity to love yourself for even daring to look.
3. Ask yourself what you’re moving towards. So often when you feel drawn to reinvent yourself, it becomes about what you are moving away from. Good to know. And the more honest and intentional you can be about what you really want, the more chance you have of creating that. And the clearer you’re going to get about what might be standing in your way.
4. Take a look at your environment. Your environment is a reflection of your inner self. The things you’ve surrounded yourself with, the way you’ve arranged things, the colors on your walls. If none of this changes you’ll be pulled back into the self you used to be, even if you make inner changes. Or you’ll create the same patterns in your new surroundings. Your home is a living vision board - question everything and especially things you’ve had for so long you barely see them any more. You are no longer the same person.
5. What part of yourself do you need to reclaim? What got lost along the way? Not so easy to see when you’re in denial. One way to do it is in journaling - write, write, write - and ask questions of your soul. If you are serious about wanting answers, ask! I did and within a couple of days I became aware of exactly what I was in denial about. I asked: what am I not seeing? And the answer came back within two days. Faster than Canada Post!
Discover the truth about yourself. Write the letter you need to write. Acknowledge what you have always wanted to do. Feel your anger. Make that apology. Discover why you’ve made the choices you’ve made. Ask the hard questions of yourself. Forgive yourself and others. What is the truth about your life and where you’re going? Who are you really? Reclaim parts of yourself you’ve left behind.
This is about integrity and wholeness and living fully. Hard to do that when you’re pushing down what you don’t want to see. And I know from my own experience and that of my clients - when you shine a light on these dark places, it’s never as bad as you expect!
Go for it. it’s worth it, I promise!
I love this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert.
“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”
What are you in denial about? Want to share?