Have you ever had a relationship meltdown?
I know. Kind of a trick question in this world. We’re all experiencing relationship fatigue as friends and family surprise us with their opinions, and turn away from us once and for all.
What happened to unconditional love?
What about all of those years you’ve spent together?
What happened to thick and thin – you “saw” yourself together with your “loved one” for many years to come?!
Now you’ve learned your lesson. You have one goal for this year: To stay true to yourself.
But what does that mean exactly? If you’re having difficulties picturing your life without its current structure, take heart.
It’s time to honor who you are way deep down inside.
How do you know if you’re disconnected from your true self
The best place to start when you’re trying to get back in touch with your true self is to define who you really are.
Over the years, we started falling into line to be accepted by our tribe. Especially in midlife, we reach a point where a lot of what we do is based on how we picture ourselves inside that tribe.
- Are you a people pleaser?
- Do you find yourself doing things for people so they won’t get angry with you?
- Do you worry about what people around you think?
- Are you questioning everything?
- Do you consistently say or think you’re bored, sad, or exhausted?
- Have you stopped dreaming? (They were just silly thoughts anyway.)
- Do you feel selfish if you take a little ME time? (Self-care? What’s self-care?)
Are you starting to see yourself in any of this?
Most of us grew up in a conventional way. Meaning we were taught to fall into line. It’s selfish to put yourself first. It’s better to “go with the flow” than take a risk that alienates you from all those around you. You don’t want to feel “bad,” do you?
Digging deep to find that inner voice
I think this is where a lot of questioning starts in midlife. It comes at a point in our lives when we start asking: Is this all there is?
We’re the first generation allowed to dream big, have it all, do it all. And without a lot of doers before us, we jumped in and tried to multitask our way into successful living.
I was that person.
My mom didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. Her parents said no, she’d just get married anyway. So she made sure I went … with a few guidelines in place.
- Stay close to home
- Learn to stand on your own two feet
- But select carefully – you want a great job that allows you to have kids too
Passion? That didn’t even exist back then. Just fall into something that will provide enough income for a good lifestyle, and will give you enough leave to care for a family. Opportunities and dreams be damned.
I dreamt anyway. And while I didn’t always get it right, I’m enough of a change seeker that I reinvented myself over and over again to become the me I always wanted to be.
Learning to live again
If you’re reading this, I’m willing to bet you’ve lost congruence in your life. You know something is off, even if you can’t put a finger on it yet.
I believe the best place to start is by expressing yourself on a deeper level.
- Are there people you hold back from, who don’t truly know the real you?
- Do you participate in activities because you have to, not because you want to?
- Do you bite your tongue around friends and family, afraid of what they would say if you expressed yourself?
- Do you have a dream – even if it’s a tiny dream – and it’s always there in your mind?
This is your starting point.
But be prepared to come face to face with your vulnerability.
I hid my true feelings for many years from my family. I stayed silent, not wanting to upset the balance.
Eventually, I learned that this was crushing my soul. My blood pressure rose every time we got together. It impacted my health in many ways. Until I came to terms with my story.
Who I am is important. And because of that, I stepped forward. I’m not telling you this was easy – I no longer speak to parts of my family.
But that’s okay. Because I’ve replaced those relationships with people who completely understand me. They have my back – they’ve proven it – and I’m at peace in a way I never could have been with those old relationships.
Pushing aside who you really are only works for a while. If you don’t step forward, eventually, it can do serious harm.
Ask yourself: How am I, really?
You’ll start to see your own inner compass shining through.
It’s okay to follow that advice. Believing in yourself can lead to an amazing life. (That’s why you consistently read stories about women who ultimately walked away – and found themselves in the process.)
I laughed when I saw the title of a recent post on my newsfeed:
How to change any man and get him to love you
Um, no. Not going to happen.
I cringe when I see this advice targeted at twenty-somethings who are looking for their life’s partner. The only thing they’ll get is a lot of heartache if they follow that advice.
I’ve been married for more than three decades, and I can tell you the unhappiest point of our relationship was when I was the unhappiest with myself.
It’s never about changing someone around you to try and fit what you think you need for a better life. Instead, it’s about doing the work on yourself to put yourself in the best position possible.
When you become aware that you’re not living your best life, it takes an incredible amount of work to bring your goals and dreams to life.
Some people will support you.
Some people won’t.
And that’s okay.
But YOU have to be willing to let go of those who no longer want to be in your life. Even those the closest to you right now. Because there will be people that try to stop you from growing forward.
Choose YOU instead.
Change happens with or without your approval. Some change is good – some is bad.
But we learn from every step we take. We rebuild based on what we learn.
I believe wishing to go back puts you in a tailspin of trying to control the change in your life. You only remember the good parts, not the truly horrific moments when you questioned everything.
And if you’re not satisfied with where you are, it means there’s still a lot of work left to do.
It’s time to let go
The hardest part of any change is the very first step.
You’ll hear that in many self-help processes because it takes a tremendous amount of willpower to do what it takes for change to happen.
Several years ago, my husband and I had a dream to move to a new town, slow travel, and do new things with our lives.
It wasn’t a popular decision in my friends and family groups.
Some supported us – we still have fun when we’re together.
Some told us no way – you move, we’re through.
The biggest a-ha came from seeing other people’s reactions. I quickly realized I couldn’t hold onto expectations of others, and could only do what was right for me.
It’s made change that much easier.
Here in midlife, we continue to do many things the same way. If you have paid off a 30-year mortgage, held the same job for decades, even had the same friend base since high school, it’s hard to let everything go.
We work hard to please those around us.
But when little things surface, and you realize you might not be as close as you thought, that’s when you start to listen closely to your true self.
What is she saying?
What would you do if you listened to her?
What would you be willing to leave behind?
What if you knew five years from now, you could have what your heart really wants?
It’s time to take back your life. It’s time to discover who you truly are.
And be the you YOU are meant to be.
The Wellness Bundle
4 guided journals so you can dig deep into this next phase of your life.