I used to worry about fitting in and being normal, like everyone else. I would watch what I would say, do, share and how to be. I felt like I was living two lives: one public and one private. By living like this I created a sense of shame for my private persona. It was not that I was doing anything weird or wrong, I was just doing it my way. When I redesigned my life almost seven years ago after I got beaten up, I decided I would never again live two lives. It was too hard and it made me feel “not good enough.”
So, that is exactly what I went on to do. There was a huge phase of self-discovery and growth, but ultimately, I'm living life my way now. I do work that fulfills my soul and spirit. I surround myself with like-minded people and I am constantly growing and stretching myself.
I finally live alone and love it. My home is my sanctuary. I do host workshops and events here, but most of the time it is a very quiet, peaceful place and I like it that way. I work over the phone and Skype. Because I am a life coach and am helping people overcome their difficulties to create a life of their dreams, when I relax, I like it quiet.
That said, I have a houseguest. This is usually out of my comfort zone unless it is someone staying after a dinner party or some other type of function. This houseguest is a friend and will staying for a while. I knew she would when I offered her a sanctuary. She is going through a life transition and I knew she needed a safe place to land to regroup.
Since I am deep into this project with my partners, I knew that I couldn't allow her being here to interfere with my work or my crazy schedule. Since my teammates are from all over, I tend to work odd hours to make sure we can connect.
So I shared with her my house rules and what I was willing to accommodate. I wanted it to be clear for both of us so that this would work well. A few days after staying here she told me, “I have a lot of rules, I am intense, I work too much and I am not normal!” She went on to say that living in this “odd” environment has made her look at her life and how she lives.
You would assume I would react poorly to what she said. I did not. I know I am intense, that is what allows me to get the things done that I need to get done. I know right now I am working too much and the hours are too long, but I am creating something so much bigger than me that will serve so many. I do have a lot of rules; I like my house neat, quiet and peaceful. As for the “odd and not “normal,” I let it go.
Yesterday she wanted to revisit the conversation. She told me that the reason she felt I was not normal and it was odd was because she was not used to it. She was so used to conforming to others needs and ways of being that she forgot how to “just be.” She realized that if she was being authentically herself and taking care of herself, her life might look odd to others too.
I don’t have sit down meals, but I eat healthily. I don’t like folks dropping by because I might be coaching or writing. I do my life in a way that suits my authentic self and sense I am only responsible for me, it seems to work pretty well and I am happier than I have ever been. I have great friends I get to spend time with, a sanctuary to retreat to and I get to meet people all over the world. So it may look “not normal” to someone else looking in, but it is normal to the person living it.
It got me thinking of all the times I did something because I thought I should instead of because I wanted to. I am so glad I am not doing that any more. As for my friend, she has finally relaxed, started doing what she wants and is finding her joy again.
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Michelle has over 20 years experience in coaching, leadership and motivation. She is passionate about creating a community for growth, healing and support. She has been recognized for her work both locally and nationally. She inspires audiences and clients with her down to earth stories of struggle and growth. She believes that being authentic has been the key to her success.