A few days after I hit publish on my last article, I broke down.
Mentally, I had taken on too much in my business. I was still working full time, and struggling to cope with day to day life. It began impacting on my motivation in my day job and when it started to also influence how I felt when I sat down to do my business, I knew something wasn't right.
Physically, my skin was breaking out, I felt tired and exhausted was so low in energy, all I wanted to do was sleep the whole weekend. I felt guilty for everything - not prioritising my business, for not seeing my friends and family, and for feeling unmotivated at work.
I felt like a bad daughter, a shitty friend, a crap coach, so desperate for love, attention and validation (and something to distract me from my own feelings of worthlessness) that I signed up for Tinder (despite swearing off the app only a month prior). I couldn't do anything right.
But then, as the stakes started to get higher, I began working harder and here is what happened.
My writing began to suffer. I wasn't exercising, or eating well. I felt blocked, but because I was so focussed on the number of posts I was putting out rather than the content, continued putting out social media posts which were basically rehashes of all the other content I was consuming.
Over time I started to feel very alone, and I thought I was dealing with this by completing a practice every morning here is the truth - the extent to which love is flowing in your life - self love, and love from those around you - will directly impact your work, and how you feel.
When I finally surrendered to feeling it all, and after a lot of deliberation, I knew I had to cancel my four week course. At the same time, I deleted all social media off my phone. Not having a TV also meant that I really was confronted with my aloneness.
Growing up, like many of us I was rewarded and praised for academic achievement and good grades.
This was how I received and felt love from my parents, so naturally I sought this out more and more, often to the detriment of my own health and wellbeing.
As an adult and recovering perfectionist, not a lot has changed. Whether its in my day job, business, relationships, friendships or any other area of my life, I seek to show up as the very best I can be. And if I can't, I usually opt out. But sometimes (often) we won't meet our own expectations.
So, here is what I (also) know to be true (about being a human being)
Perfection is an illusion
Those perfect (edited) lives and relationships we see on Instagram are NOT REALITY. While I think we all know this, many of us (including myself) still strive to create this. And when it doesn't happen, we blame ourselves, our partner or our 'bad luck'.
I believe that perfection is realising our lives already are. Go outside and look at the perfection that occurs everyday - the sun rises and sets, flowers bloom and die, and trees continue to provide shade and homes for wildlife.
Perfection is choosing to see and feel what is perfect in every moment, and a knowing that there is no such thing as a detour from 'our path' because it is all part of the journey.
How do I know this? Because it didn’t matter how many things I crossed off my to do list, there would always be 10 more items on there. But prioritising my own energy has become such a priority lately that, I am now ok with this.
Ever since I was in high school I would go through this kind of transition every 6-8 months. I (humorously) thought because I was so 'woke' and conscious now, I could do it all (HAHA).
The reality of the human experience is elation, joy, happiness and lightbulb moments of insane intelligence and spiritual awakening mixed with being in the depths of our own despair, confusion, burn out, pushing and chasing the dream. There is no formula for the elusive work life balance because it will continue to be a negotiation.
The way we show up in one area of our life is how we show up in all of them.
When I was hustling hard on this business, my paid day job flowed effortlessly tooo. And while I wasn't seeing my friends as much or prioritising my relationships, it felt good to be contributing. This work became energetically what lit me up again.
While I thought I was dealing with my aloneness through processing and bodywork, I was still hustling hard and wasn't taking responsibility or action to change my reality.
Taking care of myself looks different day to day and month to month. Right now, it looks like homecooked meals, fresh fruit and vegetables, lowering my caffeine intake, meditating, journaling and prioritising my relationships. When these things are in flow, the rest of my life (including my day job) flows too.
Sounds simple right? But the thing is, we tend to see relationships as a separate part of our life. But the boundaries around our 'work' life and our 'personal life' are arbitrary and there is no such thing as a separation.
We might be able to put up a brave face for a day or two, but over time our true energy seeps through in the way we speak, what actions we take and how we show up. And eventually we crumble into the steaming hot mess that we truly are, pick up the pieces (again) and (hopefully) make some shifts.
When we are chasing, what we are really desire is love.
Underneath this strive for perfectionism and achievement was really a fear of not being good enough. Chasing achievement and success, whether it is financial, in our relationships, career, or business, is merely a stand in for love which will never satisfy.
Anytime we are chasing something externally - more success, money, love, abundance, attention, admiration, likes on instagram - what we are really after is love, validation and acceptance.
Similarly, if you are always seeking more knowledge, self reflection, or needing more information or working on yourself - what you are really seeking is freedom (the masculine)
The search for freedom and love are essentially the same thing, but will look different at different times in our life.
It took a teary phone call to mum, a trip to the doctor and a weekend of deep rest and some play and fun with friends to come back to my own energy and feel the love that already flows in my life. I didn't need anyone, or anything, to remind me I am loved and appreciated - because I already KNOW this.
The irony of all this is that while I was building a business about helping others create incredible relationships, I had isolated myself from my own relationships, and was avoiding the very surrender and trust that I advocate for. (thanks universe).
I wrote this in the hope that we bring some realness back into this world of coaching. I am all for manifesting your dream life and relationship, but I am just as much for being real and authentic about the reality of trying to 'do it all' looks like.
And as I make the transition to part time work in my day job in order to feed and invest more energy into this business, I'm keeping these recent humbling lessons from the universe at the front of my mind and asking the question - why are we here? What am I doing this for?
There is a place for hustling and taking action just as much as there is a place for slowing down so we can slingshot forward when the time is right. But if the journey doesn’t feel good, then the end destination won't either.