As You Discover Yourself, You May Not Like Everything You Find

The work of self discovery tends to come with a few punches. One of my issues recently resurfaced, right in the gut! I tend to make decisions via loyalty. The punch is, the loyalty my decisions are based on tends to be to someone or something other than me. As I type this, it sounds ridiculous! And, frankly, it pisses me off.

This loyalty issue has not served me well. It kept me in the wrong job and marriage for far too long. It kept me frustrated with bad customer service from my cell phone carrier for 10 years. It even got me abandoned at a train station by someone I thought was a friend. The irony is that in every case I knew what I wanted (e.g. To leave or not go at all) and yet instead of being loyal to myself I chose them. Each of my choices made for others instead of myself (when there were two conflicting desires) has led to me being unhappy, feeling like I settled for something I don’t want, or getting treated like shit.

I know, as a trained coach, awareness of an issue is only the first step. Actually changing how you deal with that issue is something else entirely. However, awareness is necessary to be able to make that change. I’m gaining a hell of a lot of self awareness on this journey!

Awareness and Change

Change takes time. Last year I went to Iceland. I saw the Northern Lights for the first time and it blew me away – it was such a deeply spiritual experience that I knew I had to see it again. I wanted to stay longer, but did my usual run-through of loyalty to everyone and everything but me and left on my planned departure date. Over many, many years, each time I went on vacation I wanted to stay longer. I would think about it and talk myself out of it with a long list of loyalties and responsibilities. The funny irony is that I created all those loyalties and responsibilities – so if I had the power to create them, I of course had the power to recreate them. But that was too overwhelming to consider, before Iceland, anyway.

When I got back to New York from that trip, I felt so deeply that I had made a mistake returning that I booked a return flight to Iceland leaving a few hours later! (If you want to read about the whole profound experience, you can click here). That was a huge step in breaking this loyalty to others pattern, in the moment. My ultimate goal is to be able to call out my loyalty issue in the moment so I can make a different choice right away, rather than later. However, later is still better than never!

That experience led to me taking this very adventure I’m on – I had to release loyalty, mostly, to family fears about my future that has been holding me back from doing what I want for years.

Most recently, I made another huge stride to overcome this self-defeating habit. When I was in Scotland, the day of my return flight, New York weather was predicted to be so bad that I got a weather waiver allowing me to fly home another day with no financial consequence. I’ve gotten them before, but my long list of loyalties and responsibilities got in the way of me using them. For the first time in my life I took advantage of it instead of creating excuses. I could have felt badly that I was breaking my commitment to be at the airport on a specific day and time. Instead, I chose to live in the moment and do what I wanted to do, for me.

In my quest to be happy with the life I create, I’m realizing that I first need to be willing to fight for what I want. I’ll be doing a lot more of that the rest of my life! 🙂

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