In my column last week, I discussed the rite of passage that a woman goes through in her twenties which brought forward great comments and questions so I'm continuing the conversation. Next week I'll summarize the two columns by featuring specific tips for twenty-something transformation. But if you want concrete action steps for how to figure out who you are and what you want, they don't really exist because nobody can tell you how to figure out yourself better than you!
While it's true that life is an on-going process of evolution and discovery, the twenty-something decade of a woman's life presents a critical time to answer a call from within. Yet often this call is drown out by immense internal and external pressure to answer questions regarding career, relationships, money, body, family, and everything else on the "having it all" checklist.
Today's young woman is rarely in the present moment because she spends so much time thinking about the future. The here and now can be uncomfortable when feelings of confusion, sadness, anxiety, fear, anger, frustration and so on surface. The present moment is where all her answers lie; however, voices from her past and the call of expectations of the future drown out her inner voice.
Last week, I asked the question: Do you want to crawl through life or do you want to spread your wings and FLY? From my perspective, crawling through life is living according to the expectations of others or societal standards that we internalize. Doing overpowers being. When we are crawling through life, we are lead by the mind/ego and buy into a false illusion of control. Although it may feel safe to live belly to the ground, fear of failure or the unknown actually become roadblocks to an uplifting and fulfilling life.
Flying involves taking leaps of faith and jumping into the unknown. It is coming from place of inspiration rather than expectation. Inspiration is an inside job though and today's young women are too busy searching for someone or something else to light them up. We've got inspiration backwards as we've been conditioned to decide what we want to be and who we want to be with before we figure out ourselves.
To truly fly, a woman must risk giving up all her preconceived notions about who she "should" be and what life is "supposed" to be like. She has to be willing to give up the job, relationship or any other circumstance or expectation that is distracting her from living an authentic life. What is so tricky is that often things can look really fantastic from the outside which makes them challenging to transition out of.
But just as a caterpillar knows it is time to stop being a caterpillar, that there is something even more beautiful it is destined to become; every woman intuitively knows when something is not in alignment with who she truly is. Like the caterpillar, she must journey through the Chrysalis process that involves entering a self-made cocoon. During the time spent in this cocoon she may encounter struggle, doubt, isolation, and darkness; however, she emerges a beautiful, vibrantly colored butterfly that can now fly.
Every woman wants to fly, but she is often too scared to step into the cocoon of self-discovery which involves an unraveling of all her expectations, limiting beliefs, and insecurities. Often a woman will step into the cocoon and as soon as it gets too hard or too dark, she will look for something or someone to pull her out. And when she does, she interrupts her own transformation process and emerges before she is fully formed. Consequently, she makes decisions and enters into situations that she may someday outgrow.
Women come to me with questions about what and how to add to their life, but true transformation is about letting go. If a woman is willing to consciously make the choice to let go of her old stories of doubt, unworthiness and insecurity, she has the opportunity to move into a level of self-acceptance that is so profound she no longer seeks anything or anyone to complete her. This is true empowerment. As we lighten up, we discover that taking flight is much sweeter than squirming around on the ground.
If you are feeling some kind of internal angst, don't worry! It may be the call of transformation. Answer it. Be willing to let go of everything you think you need to be and do. Take leaps of faith -- now is the time to learn how to fly.
Take inventory of your life and determine what isn't serving or supporting you. If nothing feels terribly wrong, yet nothing feels terribly right either, don't settle! Why play it safe and settle for something you know is not really YOU? Give up the career path that looks good on paper but has your stomach tied in knots. Give up the relationship that you are in for its potential that keeps you up at night. Give up the dreams mom and dad had for you and create your own. Give up the need to be more, better or different. Give up wanting to be like or liked by someone else.
Be willing to step into the cocoon and do the work. Sometimes all you have to do is be willing to change and the change begins -- it's resistance that keeps us where we are. Yes you may make what you think are mistakes and yes you may be uncomfortable but wouldn't that all be worth it if you could fly?
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