I came across this quote the other day and it literally jarred me. The words struck my mind and reverberated through every cell in my body. The meaning of it, I know all too well.
I grew up in the age of Dynasty, Falcon’s Crest, Dallas and many other T.V shows that showed dynamic and powerful women. At the same time women were entering the work world and climbing the ladder, beginning to head companies and assume positions of leadership.
I, like many young girls, watched those women with desire. I wanted that… to be the master of my fate and to make a lot of money in the process, so off to college I went.
Hmmm… on one hand I had this call to heal the broken, guide the lost; to be a helper. I’d always had a creative spirit as well. On the other hand I wanted clothes, cars and money. When it came time to reconcile them… I’ll just sum up a long story by saying money won out and off to corporate America I went.
I spent many years toiling, stressed, dissatisfied, unfulfilled and a whole other barrage of uninspiring adjectives. I wanted out, but the money I’d so desperately desired had now created a trap. And guess who had eagerly joined in the trap. Shame, guilt and fear. What will all my family and friends think of me if I leave my job? Would it be fair to my husband? What the heck will I do, if I don’t do this?
I was stuck. At least, I thought so. I now realize it’s only our belief that tells us we can never be happy. The mind sometimes has trouble telling the truth. But, back then it sure felt that way. For the life of me I couldn’t see a way out, so I remained stuck there for many years, passion and enthusiasm slowly leaving my body.
And that wasn’t the only thing. A lot of other stuff was leaving my body too—minerals, proper metabolism, nutrient absorption and hormone levels. All because of stress! Years of denying my true self expression; of being someone other than who God made me to be—an artist, a lover of humanity, a healer, a guide—and masquerading as a corporate professional was taking its toll. Silently at first, then louder and louder still, until one day I had reached the point that Anais Nin so graciously referenced in her quote:
“When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.”
I got sick. Really sick. With an illness they never found a name for that left me totally incapacitated for several months and took a few years to recover and I’m still not 100%. As I took back my life, got rid of people in my life that didn’t share my same vision and values and found work I loved, my body slowly rewarded me with milder symptoms, a little more strength. It was as if it was saying, the more you become you, I’ll render back to you what was taken. And while we’re almost at an even exchange, I can tell that I still have work to do.
My advice to everyone is to listen to the still small voice in your heart. Listen to the silent whispers in the night that are trying to guide you back to yourself. The one you lost. It’s standing by, waiting for your return. And while your experience may not be as drastic as mine—you may never be stricken with an illness, it will still cost you—perhaps your happiness, the level of stress you experience on a daily basis, aches, pains, weight gain, constant colds or viruses, hair loss. You get the picture. People who live authentically, find life easy. People who don’t, struggle. If you’re not doing “you” fully and authentically, if you’re honest, you know it. The evidence is showing up in your life somewhere and trust me, being short with the kids is just the beginning.
Take stock and begin to ask yourself where in your life are you pretending? Is it your job? Your marriage or other relationships? What’s one thing you can do today to get yourself back on track? It is the work of your life. God created you to be uniquely and authentically you. Stop the charade. Return to yourself immediately and be rewarded with the sweet fruit that only being yourself can offer. No money, title, accolades or relationship will ever trump its rich rewards. Begin to start telling yourself the truth. It’s time to come home.
To your journey,
Tonya Lampley is a fiction author and Certified Life Coach. She is passionate about living life to the fullest and uses skills learned from her work as a coach as well as lessons from her own journey to write articles providing tips for successful living and to tell stories of hope and personal triumph. Her debut novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a National Indie Excellence Awards finalist. Her short story titled Birthday Surprise received honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest Short Story Contest. For more information about Tonya and her works please visit www.TonyaLampley.com.