Becoming who you are, walking away from who you had to be.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. The realization was merciless, painful, and nauseating. I was physically disorientated and nearly collapsed under the weight of the realization that would go on to radiate through my life like a tsunami. The wall of water made landfall – and in the aftermath the landscape of my life would never be the same.
The truth about how and why I had been building my business, and my life was shattering and in what felt like an instant everything I had worked so hard to build, create and protect started to crumble.
In a flash I realized that the reason why I had been chronically exhausted for months, anxious and carrying a debilitating amount of tension all over my body was that I has unwittingly built my self-employment strategy on the premise that I had to be and rely on (in an ever increasingly intensity), who I had to become in some of the most painful and traumatizing seasons of my life since childhood.
Put another way – in order to maintain and recreate my successes, I had to keep who I had to become to survive the worst seasons of my life switched on, and to keep turning the volume of that version of myself up, even if it killed me.
That moment in early 2022 ripped through my life like a hurricane and once the initial storm subsided, I had a choice to make. Do I let all of this go? Do I allow the storm surge to suck everything its destroyed back out to see leaving me with the terror of starting again, perhaps never recovering? Or do I dig my heels in and hold onto what I was creating, refusing to surrender to the change on my doorstep.
Looking back on what was one of the darkest seasons of my life, I can now say that what I thought had come to destroy my life actually came to save it.
God loved me too much to leave me in the state that I was… who I had to become to survive was not who I was to be if I was to truly flourish, but I needed to let ‘survival Lauren’ go. I needed to retire a version of myself who did what she needed to do, became who she needed to become to feel safe and loved, needed even by others.
As the year progressed I came to see that labels (and a set of skills) like ‘helper’, ‘useful’, ‘healer’, ‘wise’ and ‘empath’ may have been a part of who I was – but overdependence on those parts of myself left other parts starving and weak… and honestly, I didn’t know who I was and if anyone would want me around if I let them see parts of me I had suppressed and even forgotten.
All I did know was that how I was choosing to live my life, and run my business was unsustainable and that my financial aspirations and business achievements were keeping me from being who I truly was, and from truly flourishing as a human being.
Even now, I am hesitant to write pieces that promise wisdom, insight or empathy… all I can do is share my story and hope that anyone struggling through their own storms will be able to grab onto something that will help them get through it.
What is emerging for me now, as I prioritize my own healing and well-being is that just being me… being me fully, unapologetically, me loving what I love and being at peace in what brings my soul rest is enough. A career or achievement is not a life and that who I was in ‘survival mode’ is not the same vehicle that will take me to ‘flourishing-mode’. The difficulty, however, is having the courage to let so much we’ve come to depend on for comfort, security and identity go… trusting that whatever is new and beautiful and good will grow in its place.
My hope for you, and for me (for us all) is that we hold the old lightly enough to make room for the new when it’s ready.
Welcome Home – Lauren da Silva
I can hear her before I see her
The low hum of the overthrow in the distance
An avalanche of anger is on her way.
I can feel her before I see her
The surge is rising in every single cell.
A tsunami on the horizon.
Rain beating down on my cheeks
Winds swirling in my chest
Hurricane Rage makes landfall.
“Welcome back, loyal friend”.
“I’ve been waiting for you”.
I bunker down, wait it out.
Listen in the darkness
as she goes to work
Laying waste to the ways
I have been standing aside,
Abandoning my agency.
She decimates what I have built in self-betrayal.
Purges the places & platforms that I used to give away my power.
Castles of compromise lie gutted by her truth.
As her winds go from howl to whisper
I emerge in sunlit silence
To survey the destruction
To meet who she left behind…
Waiting patiently in the aftermath
“Welcome Home Sovereignty.”
Lauren da Silva has been a mother and entrepreneur for over 10 years and helps other women just like you overcome co-dependency and people-pleasing, and reclaim their power to succeed in life and business. Connect with her at laurendasilva.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org