In 2005, I experienced a metamorphosis.
Honestly, at the time, I was unable to see it as such because I was completely fixated on the suffering, disappointment and heartache, I constantly felt.
Life was unkind and unfair, or so I thought.
I’d succumbed to what is sometimes called a mental breakdown. My life experiences at the time, felt overwhelmingly insurmountable and seemed to be more than I could handle, which eventually led to a literal physical, emotional and mental collapse.
I had hit rock bottom and everything including my career, home, relationships, finances, health and sanity, felt like it was snuffed out from under me.
I was at a point along my journey where nothing seemed to make much sense anymore. This caused me to start questioning everything, which essentially was my desperate attempt to satisfy the state of uncertainty and confusion I lived in.
Why wasn’t my life working? What was I doing wrong? Why were things so hard?
After a while, my continuous questioning of everything eventually served to shine a light on my struggle and strife, giving me a glimmer of hope.
I began to see that for most of my life, prior to the breakdown, my gaze and attention, was turned outwards. My focus was more or less absorbed in being proficient in the various aspects of life, all except myself.
At the time, I was an overachiever, seeking to dominate in as many areas of life as I possibly could. My intense drive and determination to feel accomplished was etched in my mind, like a carving on a tree. I was focused and relentless in my pursuit of success.
The main challenge with my chase however, was that very little to no focus was given to me, to my inner being and getting to know who I truly was.
The truth is, at the time, I felt that no one ever told me that my inner being was a factor to be considered anyway, but soon enough I realized that most of the people in my life had no clue about this either. Just like me, they too were struggling to make life work.
It is said that when you hit rock bottom, you have no choice but to look up. In my case, I looked within.
It was during my mandatory hiatus from life, while recovering, when I was no longer busy and there was no pushing and trying to make things happen, that I became sufficiently quiet to turn my attention inwards.
Admittedly, my inner gaze created even more questions, as it felt like unchartered territory. I began asking bigger questions, like, who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? My desire to answer these questions, led me on a journey of self-discovery.
“The greatest discovery in life is self-discovery. Until you find yourself you will always be someone else. Become yourself.” – Miles Munroe
I soon discovered that one of the main reasons I struggled as much as I did was based on a case of mistaken identity. I was consumed with trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be and never spent time understanding who I already was.
Prior to that time, it never occurred to me, that who I was, was good enough, complete and whole. Instead, I believed that I needed to become someone else. This erroneous notion was the driving force behind my pursuits and endeavours to do more and hopefully be more.
This realization led to another pertinent question, who was the ‘me’ I was hoping to become, once I achieved all I intended? In short, a me that was defined by the expectations and ideals of others, which of course did not consider what I truly wanted or desired.
At the time, I was pursuing a course of study my dad wanted me to pursue, despite my communicated desire to study something else. I was living with someone who was toxic and unsupportive, but I stayed because it was the considered the proper thing to do. I was working with people who could have cared less about me but continued because I felt that I needed the money. I was attending a church that demanded all of my time and attention, despite having other responsibilities.
I was essentially living my life for others, while the others were living their lives for themselves. It became apparent to me that something was fundamentally wrong with the equation and it took a less than desirable break in reality to help me to see it.
“When you face difficult times, know that challenges are not sent to destroy you. They’re sent to promote, increase and strengthen you.” – Joel Osteen
That tumultuous period in my life became the catalyst for my much-needed transformation. It motivated and inspired me to learn more about myself and to embark on the greatest adventure of my life. The adventure of me.
I began intentionally tuning into myself, acknowledging my likes and dislikes, my passions, the things that brought me joy and lit me up inside. I spent quality time with myself, getting comfortable and content with my own company. I sought help and worked on my internal conflicts. I removed myself from the situations and people who did not align with the discovered me. I started exploring and trying new things. I essentially did what I wanted to do. And as Miles Munroe said, I became me.
“Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis.” – Martha Beck
That decision I made more than 13 years ago to truly discover myself and to live life on my terms became the foundation on which I continue to build my life today. It was also at that time, I became aware of my true potential and purpose, which is now the driving force behind my choices, pursuits, achievements and successes.
Michelle Sandlin, said it best in this quote, “There is no greater journey than the one you must take to discover all the mysteries that lie within you.” Self-discovery is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and ultimately others. We are given this one life to live, there is nothing more satisfying than living it as yourself.