Have you ever had that moment where someone has asked what you’re truly passionate about, what you want to do with your life? And have you ever drawn a complete blank? Do you have to say, ‘I don’t know’? And do you say it because it’s easier than not actually looking to see if you remember the answer? Or because the answer doesn’t make any sense anymore? Or because you’ve never given yourself a chance to know yourself?
It’s said that the most important sentence you can ever utter starts with the words: I am. Because whatever you place after it builds you. You may say that they are just words. But words and actions are all we have. And when you feel other people’s words hit you as hard as they can, don’t kid yourself that yours don’t as well.
I’ve spent years of my life living ‘I can’t’ and ‘I shouldn’t’. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a great life. I’ve travelled afar and had two beautiful careers so far. I’ve see late night live broadcasts and African sunrises. I’ve met celebrities and fed geriatric pysch patients. I’ve loved and lost and loved again. But I’ve also spent sleepless nights replaying all the crap in my life trying to work out how I let it happen. I’ve walked away from situations and screamed what I should have said in them into a silent cavernous room later. I’ve relied on karma to right wrongs and I’ve held a compass to my wrist.
For a long time, my sentence was, ‘I am a survivor’. I didn’t understand the prison sentence that that was. My other trusty go-to was ‘I am a chameleon’. It was a badge of pride. I had no idea what damage that was doing to me as a complete person. ‘I am okay’ was a half truth that helped me avoid look at the other half.
Think hard about what you would naturally finish the sentence ‘I am’ with right now. Listen to your go-to answers and ask if you are insisting just a little too much. Do the words and your actions and your biochemistry add up? If you say that you are happy but you scream at life and have digestion problems, the chances are that’s not a truth. If you say you’re okay but you slide into dark, oppressive shadows unchecked and exist on fake stimulants, the chances are that’s not a truth. If you say I am loved but cower from another person’s energy when it comes at you as an onslaught and your adrenaline kicks in, you may need to reconsider.
Decide what ‘I am’ statement you really need to be true. For a long time, mine was ‘I am physically safe’. And I made that my priority. I surrounded myself with people who would never violate my space. That was my driving ‘I am’ statement. I didn’t realise it then, but I know it to be true. So what ‘I am’ statement really needs to drive you right now. And if your first thought is a negative one, turn it on its head. Chances are the exact opposite of that diminishing judgement is the one you are craving. If you don’t know what to do with the new statement, dare I say mantra, don’t do anything else except repeat it. Say it often. Say it loud. Say it in the shower or in the car, in the park or in the mirror. Stand tall when you say it. Breathe deep when you say it. Never skip a day.
Oh, and keep your eyes open because you never know what new beauty may come your way.