If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at the notion of ‘live your best life’, you’re not alone. Having suffered from anxiety and depression my whole life, I never thought it was possible to feel content, fully present, and awed by life on a daily basis, my interpretation of living your best life.
As a tiny baby, I used to projectile vomit when I perceived tension in the room — wasn’t my mother lucky to have such a highly sensitive child. And for as long as I can remember, a deep sense of melancholy rarely left me.
To many, being born into a nuclear family and growing up in a small country town sounds idyllic. For me, it was oppressive. My family and school life were emotionally and physically volatile. To avoid an unwarranted spanking with the cane handle of the feather duster, a severe scolding or schoolyard bullying, I became a goody-two-shoes and people pleaser. I lacked all sense of self.
I believed my misery was due to the environment in which I’d been raised, so in my mid-teens I hatched an escape plan. As soon as I finished high school I was moving to the city. My real life would start there. I'd get a part-time job and go to university with the goal of becoming independent, financially and emotionally.
Having followed through on my plan, by the time I’d reached my late 20s, I had everything that I thought would make me happy: a secure and lucrative career, my dream house, a classic car I loved, a busy social life, designer things, and heaps of ‘friends’.
I was supposed to feel happy and fulfilled, right? Except I wasn’t. I felt hollow and deeply unhappy. I wondered if there was something fundamentally wrong with me?
This time, I assumed, my misery was due to there being no real joy in my life, so I followed my heart and set up a business based on my love for architecture and design. Soon Prince Charming arrived on the scene. Yet, deep down I still felt empty inside.
Fast forward 10 years, the fairy-tale romance had ended and I’d closed my business. I was freshly divorced and now broke, both emotionally and financially. I felt like a complete failure. What now?
Being a logical person I went searching for what was ‘missing’. I changed careers multiple times — I've been a radiographer, decorative finishes tradie and event manager. When that didn’t work, I did what any normal human does and turned to personal development. After spending thousands on books, seminars, workshops, and retreats, I still felt lost and confused about what would make me happy. I hit rock bottom.
But I wasn't giving up, I knew there was more to life and I was determined to find ‘it’. After 16 years on my 'journey', I finally came across key people (or I could say the Universe sent them) who helped me see what was missing; that is, a sense of purpose.
These people and their work allowed me to uncover my reason for living and encouraged me to live in alignment with that purpose. That’s when my life started to change dramatically, and quickly, in my early 40s.
Once I’d found and owned my purpose, I started to KonMari my life.
This involved becoming mindful of my thoughts and what I said. I refrained from complaining and re-living situations that made me feel unhappy and frustrated. I learned to focus on ‘mentally rehearsing’ my ideal day.
Putting my needs first became a priority. I stopped doing things out of guilt and obligation. I no longer said yes to things I didn’t want to do just to please others. Instead, I chose to engage in activities that brought me joy and spent time with people who inspired and uplifted me. I also turfed out possessions that didn’t spark joy or harbored bad memories.
I dealt with my emotional baggage by learning and applying emotional release techniques such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (aka EFT or Tapping) and the Emotion Code. Learning to generate feelings of gratitude, appreciation and kindness on command, also helped me to sustain an elevated emotional baseline throughout my day.
And I worked through clearing my self-limiting beliefs by using a cutting edge belief-change process known as PSYCH-K.
After around six months of implementing these actions, I could think more clearly and my inner voice began to emerge. As I started to express my needs and desires my life unfolded with more ease. The more I developed an intimate relationship with myself, the more I began to trust expressing myself fully in the world at large. The 'people pleaser' was now gone.
With hindsight, I didn’t need to become someone else to step into my life’s purpose: it’s who I already was at my very core. This is also a central message of many great spiritual teachers. All I needed to know was where to look and what questions to ask myself. My confidence and sense of fulfillment continued to grow with every new step I took towards embodying my life purpose.
I felt called to share with others the resources that transformed my life — so they could skip the thousands of dollars and 16-year journey. That’s when I stepped into my life’s purpose and began curating the information and methodologies referenced on A Guide for Life and the Build a Life You Love Workbook Series.
Living my life’s calling hasn’t been an easy journey or without challenges; however, every step of the way has been enjoyable and deeply rewarding. Sure, I get frustrated at times because things don’t happen in the way I think they should, in the timeframe I want them to, but I’ve never once lost my enthusiasm or belief in what I do.
Everything else pales in comparison. It’s beyond passion. This mission to help people be an authentic expression of who they are at their core and live with meaning is part of me. It’s who I am and I feel deeply privileged and honored to do this work. Now that I’ve discovered, and am living my purpose, there is no turning back.
It’s this sort of focus and exuberance that makes the impossible possible and has the capacity to create real change in the world. This verve also exists within you, and when unleashed will alter your experience of life, profoundly and irrevocably.
Although you might not realize it, you possess a unique combination of innate abilities, skills and life experiences, that allows you to serve others in a way that only you can. In particular, it’s the challenges you’ve overcome that give you the compassion and experience to transform the lives of others.
Meet Our Contributing Author — Kylie Attwell
Kylie Attwell is an author, content curator and facilitator for self-transformation. Her skills and services take a multi-disciplinary approach based on the latest therapeutic modalities and brain science. In her Brisbane practice, she conducts one-on-one consultations and energy assessments to ascertain where clients are on their journey, and then provides personalized guidance to help change the printout of their life. She also facilitates belief change, emotional release, and hands-on healing sessions to relieve stress and anxiety. To find out more about Kylie and her work here.