What “getting it” looks like: A client’s life-changing realization

Tired of self-loathing? Sick of beating yourself up for not being good enough? So was my client. He was unhappy with his life. He felt he had painted himself into a corner. He had done what he was “supposed” to do, but he felt like a failure. He was tired of beating himself up, tired of feeling like he wasn’t good enough, but he didn’t know how to stop. This is the thought process that led him to stop feeling like a failure and love life.

What follows is a series of emails from a client. It’s a bit voyeuristic.

This client is an entrepreneur going through a transition in his life. He recently shut down his business and moved across the country. Now he’s in a new place, creating a new home, a new social circle, and a new life for himself. Without a large social circle and a business to occupy his time, he’s had a lot of space to think. In this space, he’s been wrestling with things that haven’t turned out the way that he had expected: businesses, investments, relationships, and marriages.

He’s naturally creative and expresses himself through writing. Writing, he’s found, helps him to sort through his thoughts and make sense of them. It serves as a sort of “self-coaching.” He often emails me his writing.

With his permission, I’ve shared three of his emails below. These emails are in sequential order, they are his “stream of consciousness” writing, and they were sent over the span of about three hours after finishing a coaching call.

Several times in his email, he makes references to a poem by Rabindranath Tagore. It’s my favorite poem and one I share with all of my clients:

I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.

I have made only minor edits to protect his identity and to ensure readability. Because these are stream of consciousness, I’ve omitted sic erat scriptum notations. All emphasis added was done so by me and is not original to his emails.


Email #1:

For a long time I have felt like a prisoner.

I imagine myself in a glass cage.

I can see out. I know there is sunshine and freedom in the world. I can feel the warmth through the glass. I can see the sun. I hear the music and I see the children dancing.

But I sit in the cage.

The cage is my self-esteem and my beliefs in my lacking. It doesn’t matter how it was created but now it thinks it’s protecting me. It doesn’t think it’s a cage. It thinks it’s a terrarium….keeping me safe.

Push on the side and it reminds me of my limits (however self-imposed and imaginary). Try to chip away at it, and a electric shock shoots out to incapacitate me from doing more damage. After all, if I break the cage, I’m vulnerable. To judgment, to rejection, to failure.

I am determined to be free.

I want to fail and laugh and learn.

I want to dance without self-consciousness.

I want to travel without fear.

I want to try new things without the worry of doing them wrong.

I want to be a beginner and love what it means to struggle at the beginning. I want to embrace the suck of early learning.

I want to revel in my beauty. My imperfections and incompleteness and stench and joy and power.

I want to feel peace with who I am.

I want to create without self imposed limits.

I want to love others. Give freely. Celebrate their accomplishments. Support them. And not care what they think of me.

I want to sing. I have a voice and I want to stand on the corner of the two biggest streets in the world and sing my song.

I want to face fear and realize that the fear us merely an outmoded protection. It saved me when I was young. Protected me. Kept me whole. And it serves no purpose anymore.

I want to learn to use my wings.

I want to solve problems for others and know that if I don’t have all the answers, that I can find them or join up with others who do.

I want my own definitions of success that are not defined by my father, the media, or society.

I want to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put aside all that is not life and not when I had come to die discover I had not lived.”

I want to “sing the body electric”

I want to make love without measure of my own worth being at play.

I want to invite others in, and give to then the warmth of my joy and love and kindness without thought of what they perceive.

I want to sweat and work hard and struggle and face challenges and not bend from my vision.

I want to create wealth. Wealth accrued in adding value to the lives of others.

I want to embrace my worthiness. For love. For success. For loving-kindness.

I want to love others freely. Openly. Without reservation, fear or need.

I want to live free.

I want my life to reflect all the goodness of the world and be fully ready and confident to radiate it back.


Email #2

yeah….I already picked up on part of it.

the whole thing is me me me me me me

What I want

And what is going on in my head.

So that right there is one thing. Clearly I need to get the fuck out of my head.

I’m still interested to hear your feedback on the other email but yeah….the second I sent it, I thought….dude…..Ego Ego Ego Ego Ego Ego Ego……


Email #3

[Note: At this point I have not responded to his emails. This email is a result of his realizations, not a response from me. I’m not “right;” it’s just the conversational tone his stream of consciousness writing has taken.]

God damn it. You’re fucking right.

You don’t even have to tell me.

It’s all about me. Selfish thinking. Pure narcissistic thought.

I never thought I could be a narcissist and also self-loathing but self-loathing is the most narcissistic thinking there is. It asks the world to constantly feed your insecurities. Answer your needs. Fill your stomach.

I’ve gotten so self-focused and of course I find no value. Fucking navel gazing.

Someone said it. If you want to love yourself love others. Joy is service. Service is joy.

But it’s mymymymymy. All about me.

My security.

My self-esteem

My well being

My fucking emotional issues

My fears.

Fears of what?

There was another fucking shooting an hour away from where you live. That’s fear. This is just learned stupid bullshit because I don’t want to get my hands dirty and fail. Fucking ridiculous.

There are kids fighting to learn in terrible conditions. That’s hope. That’s fight.

I’m some middle class guy sitting around FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF because all I can fucking see is my own god damned bullshit.

People fucking died today.

People are fucking dying every day.

Sorry my dad was a dick but get the fuck over it. How selfishly narcissistic can I be?

Yeah ok. I hear it now. I see it now. It’s gross. IT’S GROSS.

Me me me me me.

Life is about service to others.
Yeah. Ok I see it.

Next conversation is gonna be very different.

I’ve got some work to do.

I will beat swords into plowshares.

Fuck this self-pity, self-identity, self me, self-fear, self-loathing, SELFIsh shit.


Originally published at learningtorelax.com on December 4, 2015.