For a lot of my younger life, I lived in fear. This fear most commonly expressed itself in social situations, but also over the unknown. Fear has a tendency to express itself as anxiety, and that’s how it showed itself to me. I was always a shy, awkward kid who didn’t have the best social skills because of my fear of judgement. I was ashamed of myself and I was scared to put myself out there in fear of rejection or being made fun of, and I think that a lot of people can relate to the feeling of wanting to belong and to be accepted.
During this time, I also had no direction. I was constantly going back and forth over what career I should go after and what university/college I should apply to (I never ended up going to any post secondary school). I went from wanting to work with animals to forensics to music to coaching gymnastics. However, all of these things felt like they were missing something for me and they didn’t have a strong enough pull.
In this period of no direction, I always made sure that I was doing something that had the potential to result in a future, so I always had a job, because I was scared of what would happen if I didn’t keep moving or if I stopped taking action of some kind. Again, fear was controlling how I lived my life. It created this sense of urgency to get things done as fast as I can in the hopes that I’d discover my purpose and my path sooner. Naturally, I am a fast worker and like to get things done quickly, but there’s a difference between moving fast out of fear vs. moving fast out of passion and excitement. Living in this undercurrent of fear, I was allowing my external influences to dictate how I felt. I was giving away my power to take control of myself and my life! And this grew to be frustrating.
Eventually, I came to this turning point in my life. The summer I graduated high school, I was guided to take my first yoga class by a friend of a friend who happened to be a yoga teacher. I had no idea what I was walking into. The only thing that I remember about this yoga class is that I had to hold a handstand for what felt like 5 years in this extremely hot room and me thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh, I am SO out of shape. Holding a handstand used to be so easy for me!” It definitely left an impression, but it also wasn’t a love at first sight type of thing.
Over the course of the year following, I was still exploring my options for music, and had in mind to go to school for it. I was playing with the idea of potentially turning coaching gymnastics into my career as well. My yoga practice was also steadily increasing in frequency and I had a solid meditation practice too. I ended up deciding to not go to school for music pretty last minute (eek!) and chose to quit the recording studio that I was interning at. It turned out that music was just a hobby for me.
I then focused on coaching gymnastics full time until my passion for yoga grew so strong that it pulled me to take my first yoga teacher training. By this time, I was still operating in fear, but knew that yoga was a path that I wanted to go down. Because my desire to teach and practice yoga was so great, it overpowered my fear and I was able to commit to a new path. I’ve always been very self-motivated with a strong will power so I used these qualities of myself to push through the fear and go after what I wanted because, well, I didn’t really have another option and I hated the idea of settling for something that’s less than purposeful and passionate. Gymnastics was burning me out and that was really the only other plan on the table.
So I took my yoga teacher training. This training really opened my eyes to my spiritual path of self connection, self inquiry and self healing. So much so that these elements became a huge part of my life for the years following and still are now to this day. In the couple of years after taking my teacher training, I learned who I was and elements of myself that were holding me back from fully stepping into my own power. The deeper and deeper I healed and dove into myself, the more clarity in direction I found from a strong connection to my purpose. I was able to let go of doubt, fear, and confusion. I tapped into a power that drove me forwards to a place where I was willing to do what it takes, while being able to detach from outcomes and accept each moment as it is. But before reaching this place of acceptance, I had to go through anger, frustration, guilt, courage, detachment & attachment, pride, ego, strength, weakness, and finding the will to do what it takes. I had to heal my way through levels of emotion, triggers, and trauma until I stepped into a powerful place within myself where I was able to use this newfound empowered connection to create a life that I wanted and deserved. I finally reached an empowered place… when it came to myself and my career.
Throughout these years, I was also involved in an unhealthy relationship that treated me way less than I deserved and, although I didn’t realize it at the time, it stripped me of my power. There were a lot of anxiety attacks involved that took me back to my fear-based days and my former self. I was in a relationship that completely disregarded my needs and feelings, and that lacked love and respect.
One day, something clicked inside of me that told me, “Stop. This is enough. Stop allowing him to control how you feel and react. Stop allowing him to manipulate you.” And that’s when the anxiety attacks stopped. But that’s not when I became empowered. The moment I became empowered was when I left him.
A couple of days after I left this relationship, I felt a huge shift towards my connection and feelings of empowerment. I had this huge realization that I fully control my inner and outer world. There was a depth to this realization that I hadn’t felt before. I was done giving anyone or anything power to define my internal state and how I lived my life. I was done feeling guilty over putting myself first. I was done feeling like I didn’t have the right to feel certain ways. This was a huge turning point for me, and I’d say that this is the moment I became emotionally empowered.
I wouldn’t say that I’ve hit an end point of empowerment because there are so many layers to be revealed when it comes to living and feeling powerful. It takes different amounts of time for everyone to step into their full power. I know that I’m still on my empowerment journey and I savour every depth of my experience as I continue to grow my story to empowerment.
In a few weeks, I’ll be sharing a post about what emotional empowerment entails and how I can help you work through it. But for now, I would love to hear your story, where you’re at in it, and what your current struggles are or have been. Leave a comment and we’ll continue on this journey together.