The American Dream
At the age of 15, I decided to become an Accountant. Having achieved my goal, I graduated college, ready to begin living the American dream. My connections landed a position within a reputable bank. I purchased suits, shoes and a briefcase. I traveled 40% of the time. I thought I was on top of the world! My next goal: Become an employee in one of the big six accounting firms.
My supervisor’s name was Katie. She was 2 years older, had a 5-year tenure and a very nice office. Being the new graduate, I decided I would mimic Katie. I had heard of the corporate glass ceiling but my ambition caused me to believe I could surpass Katie and break the barrier within 3 years. I had major confidence. I began the process of assimilation.
To assimilate is to absorb, transform, incorporate, make similar and/or cause to resemble. I left the world of living an individually authentic life in thought and action, to become a clone. I talked and walked corporate Katie. It was only a matter of time before I became dissatisfied. I didn’t understand this discomfort. I followed the rulebook. I graduated high school, then college, landed a reputable position with a corporate travel card and most expenses paid. Wasn’t I supposed to be satisfied? I sought a new job, landed a better position with a salary increase but my behavioral pattern remained the same: New job, more money, assimilate, achieve, discomfort, dissatisfied, bored, seeking a new job.
Does anyone know the definition of insanity? I do. If you keep doing the same thing, you get the same results. Deep inside I had a passion for helping people achieve optimal health. I often redirected during work hours to consult with colleague or client on health needs. My uniqueness was surfacing. It became difficult to turn on the assimilation button. The walls were closing in on me. I was suffocating. I had been trying to live by someone else’s rules. I wore a mask. I was living a façade. How much longer would I pretend happiness with my existence?
The opportunity to capitalize on my next goal had presented itself. A few mergers changed the big six into the big four. I turned down my first offer to work within one of the firms. Why? I had to begin living life authentically.
Definition of Façade
The free dictionary by Farlex provided the phonetic pronunciation and the following definition:
- An artificial or deceptive front
- A showy misrepresentation intended to conceal something unpleasant
How many people feel like their innermost desire to become something different (i.e. entrepreneur, chef, athletic instructor, artist, etc.) is an unpleasant secret which one must hide from family and society lest they are teased or reprimanded for having such thoughts?
“I cannot count the good people I know who, to my mind, would be even better if they bent their spirits to the study of their own hungers.” —- M.F.K. Fisher
Some time ago I attracted a very interesting client. At first sight I thought she was startlingly beautiful. I was, however, baffled by her appearance. It was summer. She wore closed-toe shoes, heavy pants, a long-sleeve shirt with a short-sleeve shirt atop and a very weighty coating of makeup. Her eyes were amazingly bright, yet distant, and her thought patterns were disconnected. She reminded me of a manikin. I will call her Madeleine.
During her consultation she mentioned continual stomach discomfort and a sensation that she was looking for something. She had thyroid problems, detached feelings and an inability to cry since age 6. Madeleine was now 45. I welcomed the opportunity to work with this classic case. I believe that each client is a mirror reflection of myself and as we come together, we teach and learn from one another.
At a young age, Madeleine was taught to cover her flaws. She was taught she was the flaw. She assimilated to escape her existence. Madeleine followed the societal rulebook and worked with a quiet resentment toward the imbalance between corporate men and women. To manage this inequality she became a consultant enabling her to disconnect upon contract completion only to begin a new assimilation process with each new project. She played her corporate Katie role to close new contracts and was completely unaware of her mask. We worked together for 13 months and through dietary change, colonics, spiritual guidance and countless assignments, Madeleine moved gracefully through her fears. She was able to diminish the layers of makeup, shed some gut-wrenching tears, connect with her feelings, use her voice, take off the mask, love the person she faced in the mirror, and embrace her passion. Approaching her last visit, she often reflected on her weekly achievements toward oneness and congratulated self for the reconnection. She pondered the millions of people living in great discomfort; living a façade.
“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” —-Yves Saint Laurent
Are you living a façade?
Right now, I want you to take inventory of yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I honest with myself?
- Am I wearing a mask?
- Can I look in the mirror?
- Do I love what I see?
- Do I walk like myself?
- Do I talk like myself?
- Do I know who I am?
- Am I working with my passion?
- Does my work allow me to help another?
- Am I sharing my unique gift(s) with the world?
Steps to Authenticity
If you answered no to any of the above questions then you have work to do. It is time for you to connect with your authentic self. Start your process today by taking at least one of the steps below.
Step 1. Every day, look in the mirror and ask yourself aloud, “Who are you?” Then sometime throughout your day, take 5 – 15 minutes in a quiet place and wait for the answer. With consistency and patience, one day, the answer will come.
Step 2. At a different interval throughout your day, look in the mirror and say aloud to yourself, “[Name], I love you.” Say it with feeling, as your body is an intelligent organism and cannot be fooled by you.
Step 3. Go to the library to check out or purchase (so you can make notes) the book, Finding Your Way Home by Melody Beattie (located in the book carousel in the far right column). This book has wonderful exercises to help your journey.
I have faith that you can take, at least, one step today. Why? Because you are a mirror reflection of me and I will only ask of you as I expect of myself. I have taken these steps and continue to communicate with myself in the mirror, daily. Until we convene again, I send to you many blessings!