Updated: Jan 6, 2021
As we grow older, we all encounter certain moments in life where we stop and think to ourselves, “if only I knew back then what I know now, I would have done things differently”. This process is called growth and because of it, you learn to act differently when faced with a similar situation (hopefully). Most of these learnings can be rationalized in hindsight. Others, however, can change the entire course of your life, affecting your core beliefs and the very fundamentals that make up who you are. In this blog, I would like to share how my personal struggle got me into a transition, which brought me onto a whole new path in general.
The calm before the storm
Growing up, I was one lucky kid! My parents were able to provide me with every opportunity & all the necessary building blocks to "a successful life”. I had a happy childhood, went to highly accredited schools & universities, got several diplomas, traveled a lot, did internships abroad and had many friends. All boxes checked to the perfect start of a good life. Yet for some reason, I always felt like I was missing something. As if I didn’t belong anywhere.
“As long as I keep walking down this path of good opportunities, surely I will find what I am looking for. A sense of purpose, of belonging.” That is what I kept telling myself, thus ignoring the feelings I actually had for years. The further I walked down the same path, the more I felt lost. Even upon asking friends or family for guidance, it felt as if nobody understood what I was saying. As my negative feelings & thoughts kept growing, my passions in life started to fade away and nothing seemed to excite me anymore. Despite looking positive on the outside, my life had slowly turned into a waking nightmare without the prospect of waking up from it.
Despite looking positive on the outside, my life had slowly turned into a waking nightmare without the prospect of waking up from it.
Work affects your personal life
At the time, I felt very unappreciated at my job, which of course played a significant role in my state of mind. As I was the only one in my field of expertise, I was almost always working by myself. More pressure started building up as expectations rose toward my deliverables, without the increase of benefits or prospect of growth possibilities. My personal situation had lowered my self image and therefore I had too little confidence in myself to quit the job that by now had become part of my downwards spiraling cycle. Because I wasn’t growing, I ended up in a bore-out, which caused me to get laid off. It was a bitter pill to swallow & my pride was affected. Looking back, this entire process of feeling unappreciated & getting fired really took a heavy toll on my personal life as well.
A first beacon of hope
Getting fired had one upside though… I finally could dedicate myself full-time on getting myself on my feet again. The only question that remained was, where do I start? In hindsight, I realize I was in too deep to even understand what my problem was.
Not knowing which way to turn to, I started out seeking help at random (a psychologist, a coach, a soul therapist...). Though some interesting topics came up, I didn’t feel like my
healing process was focusing on the right issue and my situation kept worsening.
It wasn't until my first panic attack, that my life coach helped me realize a first underlying element that would help me recover. I was highly sensitive.
For the first time, something in my struggle became tangible and I finally had a valid starting point towards recovering. In spite of this not being the darkest point in my journey, it was the first sign of hope. Upon further educating myself on the topic of high sensitivity, I noticed how my behavior and ,on the longer term, my values had changed in order to help & please others. My energy was draining on a daily basis without me being aware about it. Furthermore, I realized I had completely lost contact with my own intuition. I finally understood that in order to get the right directions in life, I had to get back in touch with my intuition.
Getting worse before getting better
I wish I could say that from this point onwards, it would have been smooth sailing towards getting back on my feet. However, life had a few surprises up its sleeves for me. My grandfather’s health took a turn for the worst and past away after 3 long and difficult months. Also, a beautiful 4 year relationship with someone I still consider to be an amazing person, had come to an end. That and a couple of other things happened in only 4 days time. Talking about Murphy's law! It was at this point that I broke down and for the first time in 6 years... I cried.
I had to break down everything I thought I was or had to become, in order to become myself
I cried and cried, and when I thought I couldn’t cry anymore… I cried some more. Something beautiful was happening to me, because it was at that point that I hit my own reset button. I had broken down everything I thought I was or had to become and started to become myself.
I could see and feel my intuition reaching out to me, my yoga & meditation practice had meaning again and though still very much hurting, I felt like I was growing for the first time again in a very long time.
A new chapter begins
After my reset, one thing that I had learned from my coach really stuck with me. “Andreas, why are you talking about other people’s expectations towards you. Why should you care. What values do you hold dear and which ones of those have you actually chosen for yourself? “ My coach is one tough lady, but damn it, she was right! I started questioning everything I held for granted and re-evaluated my fundamental beliefs.
From that point on, I decided to try out a lot of new things. Things that before my reset, I considered stupid or just ‘not me’. I tested many different new methods of healing, such as yoga trance dance, acupressure, holotropic breathing. Furthermore, I sought out new people who had gone through similar experiences and shared them. Through these new inputs, I was introduced to a tribe and joined a couple of ayahuasca ceremonies with them, which rekindled my spirituality. I started a new job, took on new hobbies and got hooked on discovering the new authentic me!
Just give it a try, you can only gain from it
Knowing now how great it feels to discover and grow towards my most authentic self is what drove me to become a coach. I want to help others achieve that feeling as well. For authenticity is the seed of happy and fulfilling life, as from it come forth purpose, honesty, vulnerability and forgiveness.
Burn/bore outs & psychological breakdowns are on the rise, this isn’t news. All major research publishers are sharing the numbers and they are scary. A meaningless rat-race without purpose, burn out & bore outs, phony status & ego-driven surroundings, materialistic comparing… .
I realize that there are still many out there wrestling with questions they can't seem to find answers to, or who live in the shadows of their self-made limitations, blocking them from becoming their most authentic selves.
To those, I strongly urge to take care of themselves, for you are worth it!
Reach out, seek help & find your light. You owe it to yourself.
Feel free to share your reflections in the comments below.