Why love flows from living an authentic life
I spent some of my late thirties and early forties feeling depressed. There were a few reasons for this. I was single, childless and living alone at a time when I always imagined I’d be happily married with a couple of kids. My life hadn’t gone to plan and I couldn’t understand why. But my depression had another source: I wasn’t living an authentic life.
I was doing work I didn’t love – work that quashed my spirit and put my soul to sleep, work that didn’t fit with who I was. I wasn’t using my gifts and talents, despite a yearning to do so. I was also living in a big city when I longed to spend more time in the Great Outdoors, especially by the sea. In short, I wasn’t enjoying my life. I was surviving rather than thriving.
These factors, I believe, contributed to my singleness. I wasn’t in a great headspace to meet a life partner. I wasn’t someone I would want to date.
I was also dating in the wrong pool – looking for a partner who worked in a similar field, who’d had a similar career path and who moved in similar circles, even though, deep down, I no longer wanted to work in that field or stay on that career path and I wanted to expand my circles to include more outdoorsy people.
When I dated, I was searching for someone to show me the way out of the darkness and lead me back into a joyful life, to show me the answers, to fix me even. Fortunately, I finally realised I had to do this for myself. I needed to reconnect with my passion and purpose and start living a more authentic life. I needed to become more whole and content in order to find a healthy relationship.
I didn’t need to be perfect but I did need to rekindle some of my enthusiasm for life.
I began reconnecting with my love of camping, cycling and hiking. I started to take trips to the beach and formulate a plan to move to the coast. And I began to use my true God-given talents in my work – writing blogs, articles and a book, using my writing to process my pain, to heal and to grow, and using my experience to support others.
As I started living a life more aligned to my authentic self, I began moving in different circles and meeting different people, including my now husband, who I met one weekend by the Cornish coast.
Are you living an authentic life?
Many of my coaching clients have trodden a similar path, discovering that in order to date successfully, they first need to live a more authentic life. For some, this means a tweak – more dance classes or book clubs, for example. For others, it means a total overhaul, including career changes and cross-country moves, whatever it takes to feel more content and more aligned.
How about you? Here are some questions to help you to decide:
– Do you feel excited about your life or down about it, fully alive or partly asleep?
– Are you using your God-given gifts and talents in work or outside of work?
– Do you feel you are shining or are you hiding?
– Are you doing the things you love on a regular basis, from outdoor activities to painting, baking, sewing or dancing?
– Do you feel like you belong in your social circles or workplace, or do you feel like a square peg in a round hole?
Moving closer to living an authentic life
If you’d like to move closer to living an authentic life, try the following steps:
Do a talent inventory to identify your strengths and natural gifts. Look inside yourself, ask God for guidance and ask friends and relatives for their input.
Find ways to put those talents to use. This could be in your current line of work, or outside work through volunteering, or you may take the courageous choice of pursuing a new career path.
Discover what makes your heart sing and do more of it. For me, this was outdoor adventure. Think about the activities you loved as a child. What brings you joy?
Create a vision board, either by cutting out pictures and words from magazines and creating a collage or collecting photos on your computer. Allow your heart to guide you.
Every week or every month, choose something from your vision board and take an action towards making it happen. If you want to move to the coast, take a day trip. If you’d like to be more creative, sign up to an art class. If you’d like a foreign holiday, open a savings account.
These are simple steps but they have a powerful intention: to feel more content, more joyful, more purposeful, more excited about life and more aligned to your authentic self.
Now, imagine dating from this place. How different would it be? I know from my own experience that it makes a huge difference.
When our lives are full, our eyes are shining and our cheeks are glowing, we are ideally placed to find and form a healthy and loving relationship.