STEP ONE. Transforming From Your Insecure to Secure Self
The first pillar we will build your empire upon, is the identity of the safe and secure woman or man. Throughout the previous journal prompt series, you would have started to build your awareness around how a lack of connection to your safe and secure self is currently impacting your business. For each one of us, this can show up in various different ways. It may look like undercharging for our services, not exposing our message, or just sabotaging success, money and love as it comes along to us, because deep down we don’t believe we are worthy of it.
In pillar one, we will learn to differentiate between our false self and our true self. Our false self is the part of us that has changed who it is, so it gets its needs met to ultimately survive. Our identity is like an onion. Our true self is in the middle, and what surrounds it is many layers of shame, fear, guilt, hatred and other repressed feelings, needs and boundaries that have been pushed aside. We have a healthy version of false self, and an unhealthy version. Then we have the true self.
The healthy false self allows us to be functional and appropriate within our empire. For example, sometimes we might not feel like showing up for our business, we are battling some really deep, deep feelings, and if our true self were dominating, it would want to tell everyone its feelings throughout the entire day, and not go to work. This may actually be detrimental to our business. So sometimes we need a healthy false self, as a means for being able to protect our true self and keep it safe. This may mean choosing to adopt what you are truly feeling, and choose a more appropriate way of holding yourself, for the purpose of maintaining our life in our business that day.
The unhealthy false self is when we choose dysfunctional behaviours, coping and defence mechanisms to fit into society, gain validation, push people away or sabotage as a means for keeping the true self safe, OR feeling worthy, loveable and enough.
Some common examples of the unhealthy false self in empires include:
By being connected to our true self within, we can build an empire that reflects the true values, vision, needs and what’s most important to that true self within. Guess what? That means our outside will reflect back we are worthy, loveable, and enough, which ultimately means fulfilment. The vicious trap is to create a life and business from the unhealthy false self, and what happens here is we feel like an imposter in our own world. We think, I should be happy... I would only be happy when... I could be happy if ... These shoulds, coulds, and woulds are constantly bombarding our minds and they are all signals we have bought into society’s standards, rather than lived life in accordance with our own ideas. When this happens, we look around, and our life reflects back a world of what we thought we needed to do or be... so we could be more liked, get the validation we were searching for or finally feel enough. We thought it would fill the hole of emptiness, unworthiness and unhappiness within, but it never did.
I remember really clearly for me, I was in my early twenties, and I had spent the previous years taking my family’s property development company from an underperforming residential property development, growing it by 1600% and was standing in front of a crowd full of people at an awards night. I had just won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. I was looking around, and delivered this really memorable, moving and inspiring talk, and I began to walk back to the round table. When I got there, I looked down at the award, and tears started to come to my eyes. In that moment, I realised what was most important in my life, and it was having someone to share moments like this with. I went home that night, now an award-winning entrepreneur, feeling like, yes – I had received the recognition I’d been searching for all that time, I felt special and significant. But the next morning, I woke up, and that hole within me was still there. In a matter of weeks and years, that temporary feeling the external world gave me would be gone, and I would need to search for something more in my external world to give it to me. A constant search for high after high, to give me what could only ever be provided for within myself.
In the moment of getting what my unhealthy false self had been striving for all my life, I discovered the real need of my true self, and a higher value than contribution. I remember in the coming weeks, feeling like I was an imposter in my own world. Every day I would suit up, wear black, go to work, complete the regular tasks of my 16-hour days, and suddenly they just didn’t feel as inspiring to me anymore. The reason for this is because at a very deep, unconscious level, I thought this success was going to mean I was now worthy, loveable and enough in the eyes of my parents. I thought then they would be proud of me as their daughter. This search to feel special and significant in their eyes had taken me down a life whereby I had tried to become enough in their eyes, and didn’t feel enough in my own eyes to live life according to their standards. Ultimately, I had betrayed my true self.
I recall getting a life planner out, and choosing to start going within my own self. I thought to myself, “Well, if I know that living according to others’ standards never fills that hole, better I start to discover who I authentically am.” This led me on the path of spirituality. I started to want to understand who my true self was within me, and how I could live my life in a way that brought me a true sense of meaning, purpose and wholeness.
In this life planner, I began to ask big questions for my life, around what my values are, and what was really most important to me... The answers were really surprising. I found a big part of me that I had been rejecting. This was the part of me that wanted to be a mother, have a family, and to bring rest, intimacy, play and fun into her life. All of these aspects had been rejected for me on my own journey up until now. This rejection of my divine femininity had also led to massive health problems; I was experiencing endometriosis, burn out and Lyme disease. I knew these warning signs of my body were ultimately showing me that I was living out of balance with my full nature – my divine femininity and divine masculinity. I started to wonder what my life would be like if I could revere and celebrate my divine femininity and masculinity? What did my true self want for my life?
In the coming years, I travelled to over 20 countries, learning from leading authorities in business, spirituality and self- expression. I left and sold all the parts of my old life, in a bid to discover my true self. I sold my car and investment properties, left the award-winning entrepreneurial career, and almost became a nomad, learning various modalities, coaching, clients, and living overseas. I recovered the lost parts of my divine femininity and divine masculinity, and started to set my own standards of what my ideal life and business looked like in the eyes of my true self.
My empress (feminine) wanted to be a mother. Her top value is family, and she wants to be a devoted wife and build a family.
My emperor (masculine) wanted to build a movement of one million empresses and emperors who are building empires to shape a better world.
I would get a lot of meaning and purpose out of what I had been doing, but I realised that it was the intention behind building the business at the deepest levels, that was where the problem lay. I was helping people, I was making a difference, but I was doing it because I didn’t feel worthy, enough or loveable. I was angry, because in my pursuit of that, I didn’t really ever receive recognition from the people I needed it from the most – my parents. Why? Because unless we feel something as true within, the world outside will fail to reflect it back. Only when I knew and believed I am worthy, I am enough, I am loveable, could I live my life and choose to be and do as she would, and that’s only when my life would reflect that back.
Unpeeling the Onion
When our most vulnerable requests were made as children, and these bids for love, attention and approval were not met, we abandoned and betrayed them. We may have cried out in the need for attention and love. If the mother is unable to respond to the child’s needs, the child may develop a protection mechanism and onion peel which says, “I don’t need anyone. I want to be alone. I am not lonely.” Over time, this need to be “held” may become so unconscious that it is completely no longer a part of their conscious self.
In our desire to feel enough, worthy and loveable, we have created a vision of our lives, created an idea of who we need to be, and what we need to do. Love was conditional by those around us, and so we often behaved in certain ways to get that love. We were rewarded or punished as we showed or didn’t show different aspects of our expression. It was learned that it wasn’t safe to be genuine, certain emotions were or were not validated, and we were unable to live life true to our authentic feelings and desires.
We have then gone on to equate fulfilment, happiness and wholeness as an externalised and future-centric idea based on this false self, seeking further what we were told equals love, being enough and being worthy. Our fake self = a fake vision to further affirm those beliefs of what we need to do or be to get love in life, be worthy and be enough. We are then living someone else’s life according to their standards, and if we don’t pull ourselves up, we will find ourselves down that journey for 5–10 years, and wonder what we did wrong. If you are someone who has lived a successful life or business, but inside feels unsatisfied, then this is the missing piece for you.
Your true self has been hidden for so long. So long that he or she has literally become unrecognisable even to yourself. That’s the first step, is to learn how to show your authentic self to yourself. The second step, is then to learn how to build your business as an authentic expression of who you are, based on the knowing you are worthy, you are enough, you are loveable, and your needs and boundaries can be met and respected. We get to stop being the performer suffocating underneath the expectations we place on ourselves, and learn to validate authentically who we are, where we are, and what we genuinely want for ourselves.
Finish these sentences and journal prompts...
This exercise will start to help to unpeel the layers of the onion around where you feel safe and secure in your authentic self. This is a slow and gradual process, to start to bring awareness to the intention behind why we are building our empire in the way we are doing it right now. We are either living from our worthiness, or hustling for it. We are either performing for others, or living for ourselves. We are either creating for validation, or contributing from a sense of meaning. Which are you choosing?
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