Starting this week, we’re really excited to announce a new weekly blogger – the daring and mighty Katie Phillips! Each Sunday she’ll be sharing a blog designed to inspire you and bring some positivity into your day.
Katie has already shared several blogs with us – she was behind our seven steps to happiness earlier this year, and wrote an article revealing how you can feel confident at the school gates.
We believe that having the right mental approach to life and work is just as important as arming yourself with the right qualifications, skills and experience. And Katie is the living embodiment of that. In her first weekly blog for us she reveals how she learned to overcome her own feelings of inadequacy and fear, and embrace a bigger and braver life as a result.
A quick D&M (Aussie for deep and meaningful)
As little as four years ago, my predominant feelings were of sadness, depression, worry, fear, guilt, overwhelm and crippling anxiety. My sense of self was miniscule. Any sense of worthiness came from the outside – my career, my relationship, my achievements. I felt disconnected – to myself and the world around me. It was like having a permanent out of body experience.
Sometimes I watched myself in conversation with others as if I wasn’t present – I was completely detached from the experience and the awareness of that was terrifying. I awoke every morning in panic, with the weight of anxiety so heavy in my chest that my breathing could barely keep up with my pounding heart.
That is how I started the day! My emotions had a life of their own. I was their victim. It was my lot in life to feel lost and empty. At the core of me was a black hole – a void to be filled – and I had no idea how to heal it. So I unconsciously numbed it with addictions to romantic relationships, drama, alcohol, caffeine and television.
On the outside I seemed successful, happy and confident
What most people saw was a smiley, intelligent, confident, attractive woman who lived a fun and adventurous life. She travelled the world, had an exciting career and was never short of boyfriends and good times. She was a story teller – her escapades, the men, the drama, the ‘living’ was witty and, being Australian, beautifully self-deprecating.
The distance between the truth of how I felt and what I projected to the world was mammoth. The scary thing is that I didn’t even know I was doing it. I didn’t know any other way. The way I felt, the ways I behaved, what I allowed others to see, what I even allowed myself to see was unconscious and habitual.
I had convinced myself I was happy because on the outside, things looked pretty good and I lived a far from ‘ordinary’ life. Surely, this was as good as it got? In my gut though I knew that there was a chance that wasn’t really the case. A little voice that suggested perhaps I could feel better on the inside. That I didn’t have to feel damaged and empty.
Grief therapy changed everything for me
A decade ago I started grief therapy to help me come to terms with my mother’s suicide some years earlier, and it was only then that I started to witness this gap between what I showed the world and what I truly felt.
I discovered an awareness of my feelings because I started to open up to the possibility that I could feel a different way. That had never occurred to me! I had felt anxious and worried since I was a little girl – I didn’t know anything else.
Awakening to the concept that there could be another way was terrifying at first because it was the unknown. But, as present as that black hole was, I always had an awareness of a light inside of me that was special in some way. I knew deep down that I was precious and unique and lovable. I just didn’t know how to hold onto those thoughts. To believe them.
I realised that my life could be anything I wanted it to be
And so my journey began. I started to realise that my life could be anything I wanted it to be. More importantly, that I could feel any way I wanted to feel. That happiness was actually in my control. That life isn’t about survival, it’s about creation.
I no longer wanted to sleep walk through my life, I wanted to be awake – even if that meant having to face up to some deeply painful stuff. I knew it was the only way forward. I decided that I wanted my life to be an authentic reflection of me; I realised that was the point of everything!
The decision to embark on creating a life that makes me feel happy, connected, peaceful and authentic was profound. That was 10 years ago. The majority of the last decade has been incredibly painful. I had 28 years of unconscious living, deeply ingrained negative belief systems and behavioural patterns to overcome.
In fact, developing an awareness of the tough feelings meant they worsened before they improved! But the rewards have been so, so worth it. To feel free, able to celebrate my vulnerability and live the truth of my heart from a place of deep self-knowing and self-love is priceless.
And this is what I want for you too. I know it is possible and I am now in a place that enables me to share my experience and truly be of service. It has become my purpose.
Katie Phillips is the founder of Daring & Mighty, an organisation committed to sharing the importance of having a healthy, loving and conscious relationship with yourself.Katie Phillips