Thoughts from Eva Assmuth

From today on, you will frequently see more Coaching posts on Digging Dog, as Fiete and I are taking a little break from our vanlife for the rest of the Summer 2018.

I am thrilled and honored to announce that my friend Eva Assmuth contributes first with an amazingly open article on how to reclaim your Self. Eva is a Life and Business Coach supporting women in their personal and professional careers.

She gives people a different perspective, gets into the helicopter to analyze better where they are at and is simply a wonderful, inspiring friend to me. So let’s see what Eva has to say about taking risk, being different, finding yourself and how to actively live authenticity.

I am in a room with 20 women. The discussion is about authenticity at work. I try to follow the conversation but am lost in my own thoughts. The women young, beautiful, creative and successful. How do I fit in? How can I add to the conversation? What does Authenticity even mean?

Yes, I am trapped. Judgment is ruling my mind. Self-doubt and expectations create disconnection. I am self-involved in my own thought process. Will they accept me, when I share my thoughts and my truth? I want to belong and I want to be right at the same time. Will I be ok?

At that point I am no longer connected. I am figuring out a way to be safe. And a room full of yet unknown women is not a safe place; too many unpredictables.

My biggest fear has taken over. The fear of rejection; that I don’t belong. What I know from here is that I am not my Self. But how to come back? I evaluate my options:

The easiest way is to join the conversation, as it is right now. I have enough stories to share on how hard it is to be authentic and the challenges at work. I will please everyone, but not truly connect from my heart. What I really want, is to show them how much I know and lecture them. I will feel better, but again I won’t feel connected.

Both are very common ways how we relate in the office each day. We please others; we confirm their stories, and create a false connection through pleasing. Or we think we know better, we act superior, lecture, or blame. I am fluent in both.

The Cure of Functioning

When I started 22 years ago, I learnt how to function and to shine at work. I was smart with a friendly and positive attitude, good enough to come through as brilliant. In those years I learnt how to please my supervisors, my co-workers, I gained their confidence and trust. I was blessed with recognition, acknowledgement, I got jobs done faster, I played along with flirts, was modest, sincere, straight forward, what ever they needed from me.

It started pure but with time I became more and more attached to the outcome, the privileges, and the standing. I turned into a pleaser. Or when I needed into a bully. My desires and dreams became distant. I dived into work, found my validations in my job. I felt secure there. I functioned. I was tired and bored out of my mind.

Consequences of Choices

That is where a lot of us get stuck, creating our hearts desire, which often is security, acknowledgment, validation – or short connection – in the external world, e.g. at work. For this security we betray our Self, our beliefs and our truth. The price for this is our desire, values and joy. What we used to love becomes exhausting.

One day I lost respect for myself, and everyone who thought highly of me, because they fell for my play. I asked myself, who am I? Where was I going? What do I want? How am I going to live like that, for the rest of my life? The forecast was dreadful. Outside my life looked happy, successful, but inside I wasn’t.

I needed a change and reconnect back home. With home I mean my truth, my desire and my Self. When we see only black and white, right or wrong, when we are stuck between two options, this is the third. Authenticity.

Find your Authenticity

No one can take authenticity from you or give it to you. It is deeply intimate, very vulnerable and it speaks from a truth no one can deny or argue. It discloses exactly what we want to protect. Authenticity is freedom from all conditions. Being around people that are authentic, is almost always connecting and easy.

Authenticity has nothing to do with being an asshole, or giving people a piece of your mind. This is not authentic. It is called charge, dumping your shit. I find it important to make that distinction.

The other day I heard, that up to the age of 4 we operate on the genius level. The older we grow the further away we move from our genius. I felt sad. We learn to fit in, to belong; we want to be part of something, even with rebellion. We start working hard for something that was already been given to us only because we are alive.

By the time we reach 30 we are often just exhausted. Tired, from all that hard work suppressing our truth and desire, to be part of something. I meet lots of women through my coaching that have learnt, just like me, to operate well and to judge their desire. They have lost their natural curiosity. Often they have achieved a lot, but the more they achieve that external image, the more empty, numb, lost and disconnected they feel internally.

What happened is they have dropped themselves, are last in their life, and gave themselves away to other people’s dreams. I know this, I have done this, it happens all the time. It can be so enmeshed; that we don’t even know whose dreams we are following.

Manage the Change

If you feel tired, exhausted or unmotivated, it most often has nothing to do with the amount of sleep you have. More likely it is withholding desires, love, hurt and pain. This is what makes us tired in this world. I say it is time to reclaim your Self. To get back all the pieces you have dropped along the way.

No change is a real change unless you do the inner work of healing and forgiveness. To reclaim the wholeness, and live from fullness there are a 5 things that I have learnt:

  1. Responsibility is the first place of reclaiming the Self. We co-create every experience in life. Everything is happening for us. All experiences are what we make them mean about us. We have a lot of power here that we often don’t pick up. It might seem easier at first to give responsibility to someone else. On a long term it is just exhausting. We are at effect of someone else’s decision. We become a victim of the experience. Voices that come up here, might be: “I don’t have a choice”, “They know better, they have more experience” or “I wasn’t asked”. The thing is we are still involved, we constantly live in the consequences of a choice. So have it be the consequence of your choices that you live in.
  2. Which leads right to the next crucial point: Know your Desire. What is it that you want? Do you want chocolate or vanilla, or something totally different? How do you want it, with little sprinkles on top, in a bowl, on a stick? What does it mean to you when you have it? How will you feel when you have it? How will people feel around you when you feel that way? Desire is another whole world to discuss, but here are a few things. Following Desire is being responsible. Being responsible is knowing Desire.We have learnt to give up on desire, way before it even had a chance. The moment it comes up, we think about time, logistic, money, judgments, others. And Bam! It is gone again. We rob ourselves of experiences and possibilities. As a result we get frustrated, feel invisible, left out. Start to notice the little things. How often do you ask for exactly what you want? How often do you receive a job exactly how you want it? Do you trust your co-workers are capable to do it as well as you? How often do you ask for help? What is it that you want, really? The downside is, when you know the desire, it does not mean that you will get it immediately. Still it needs to be acknowledged and patience.
  3. This leads us to the next point: Trust and Faith. Most of us are lost here, we have learnt to be self-sufficient; faith is no longer needed. More than that, it is ridiculed. But it is not, if you want to live authentic. Without faith and trust, you will always be with the fear of losing something. You can be authentic in fear, but you can’t be authentic with fear. The antidote of Fear is Faith. This is a big one, also for me, every day. It means letting go of the outcome and trusting that it will be good. Having confidence in life. Confidence we gain when we become experts. Most likely you are an experts at the job you do. What about becoming an expert about your Self? This includes loving your down and your upsides. All or nothing, no selection available. Faith is the foundation, the groundwork for being responsible and living with Desire. The ground needs to be watered.
  4. Almost seamless we come from faith to Nourishment. We need to cultivate and water Self Love and self value. Most learn quite the opposite of self love. We learn to look out for others first, we learn to put our Self last in line, and to say yes even though we are already empty and done. It seems honorable. But it is not when you do it with self-deprivation and for pleasing. You might have signed up your life in the service of others, and you might be willing to give your life. But every airline tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. Because when you have no nourishment, are empty on the ground, burnt out, you can’t help anyone anymore. Now I say, receive first. The relationship to your Self is the most important one in your life. The value you hold for your Self you can share with others, the compassion that you hold for your Self you can share. The love you have for your Self you can share. When you cultivate forgiveness and love it is easy to give. That is where gratitude, joy and love grow in abundance. Knowing you are enough, no matter what.
  5. And now you can start to Play, you can Risk something. This is the last ingredient. Here comes the joy and the fun. You are responsible for your choices and experiences, you know what you want and why you want it, you have faith and trust, you know your Self and your value, you are full and complete, and from here you can play and risk something. That is where creation starts, where you grow with your experiences. You become more of who you are. We do recreate this in our life, we look for thrills, in the daily life, in movies, talking about others, alcohol, drugs, sex, traveling, just to name a few. None of it by itself is bad; it is the how we do it.

Live Authenticity

My mentor said to me once:

“Go out and Fuck up.”

It is a hard task to do. The only places I really fucked up, was when I withheld. But I know that it is not the fuck up she meant. She means risk something. I keep on risking, the immediate result is not always pretty, but I have always gained with it. To be authentic you get to risk and play, that is the gift.

I dare to say, we all struggle with being fully authentic. There are lots of nuances to learn, it is a journey. We are all on it, every day again. It is a muscle we train, like going to the gym. The internal struggles are natural when you want to grow. I like to say it is not always pretty, but than we also know it is real.

It’s the ups and downs and there are times, when we don’t like what we found out about us. The art is to learn how to love it anyway.

The peace of mind, the trust and the joy are definitely worth it. So take the risk and reclaim your Self.