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My life has been a series of small but pivotal changes. Some changes were external, bringing encouraging but temporary results. The most lasting changes were those I initiated from within, invisible to anyone on the outside. This taught me that true transformation occurs when you harness your inner power.

 

New City, New You?

Many people think that if they move to a new location, their lives will automatically change for the better. And sometimes, you DO need a change in scenery.

In my case, I grew up in a small town, going to school with the same people since kindergarten. I felt my identity — that of a shy bookworm — was fixed. That the only way I’d have room to grow was to go in the complete opposite direction.

So I decided to go to college in Los Angeles, much to my parents’ dismay. And it WAS the change I needed. Being thrust into anonymity gave me the freedom to explore who I was and carve out a unique identity — or so I thought.

But soon, my old insecurities, introverted habits, and desire for approval returned.

 

Instant Makeover, Same Old Soul

Another common belief is that changing your appearance will transform every aspect of your life. That if only you were thinner, fitter, or could apply flawless eyeliner, you’d be 50 times happier.

Yep, I’ve gone that route, too. A chubby teen, I shocked my family and former classmates when I came home during my college Spring Break a good 40 pounds lighter. I also finally found the right shampoo to fix my perpetually greasy hair. Or maybe it was just getting away from the South Texas humidity.

No doubt, these changes did boost my self-esteem and confidence.

But you guessed it. Eventually, my former insecurities returned.

Now, I’m all for doing whatever you need to do to feel more comfortable in your skin. But unless you’ve ALSO done the inner work, the transformation is not likely to be a lasting one.

 

Changing For Real

My first true transformation occurred around 2010.

I’d finished grad school a year prior to that. In my MFA program, I had reached what I thought was the pinnacle of happiness, immersed in my two favourite things: reading and writing fiction. I often joked that I should be a career student. Deep down, that’s what I wished.

Being good at school, though, doesn’t mean being good at life. After graduating, my life ceased to have meaning. Utterly broke, I drifted between part-time jobs which constantly reinforced my incompetence. I sent my stories to magazines, but they all got rejected. This is typical for new writers, but after coming from an environment where I’d get feedback on everything, it felt like I was writing into a void.

I hated my life and didn’t like myself much, either. Bitter and resentful, I often lashed out at those close to me. I was not willing to take ownership of my feelings or my life in general.

Then I hit a point where I no longer felt my usual emptiness but a throbbing despair. I was also exhausted.

I forced my body into this sort of dance, which must have looked ridiculous since I was on the verge of sleep, and it’s like I opened a door into another dimension. In this half dream state, a vision deep within me began to form. I conjured a whole new version of myself, watching a new life unfolding before me. One in which I brought light and energy into every room I entered.

Within a few months, the charge behind that vision seeped into everything. I met my soulmate, finally found a group of friends that I connected with, and experienced the type of unbridled freedom I had always wanted but never knew how to obtain.

Reality no longer felt fixed but malleable.

The biggest lesson: I was the architect of my life and my ultimate purpose.

 

One Change To Rule Them All…, Or Not

I don’t want you to think, though, that I experienced one magical moment and my life was all uphill from there.

I’ve still made dumb decisions. Experienced apathy and despair. For two years, I struggled with unexplained seizures.

The truth is, life will always have those moments where everything seems to be moving in the right direction and moments where we backslide.

I say this for two reasons:

  1. We should never succumb to complacency.
  2. On the bright side, if you’re in a low place, just know that things can turn around at any second. Or rather, YOU can turn things around. Made a mistake? Don’t despair. You can always hit reset.

Our life story is constantly evolving. Sometimes it’s annoying when a wave sweeps up our perfectly-built sandcastle, but every twist and turn adds to the excitement of the larger narrative and reveals deeper layers of meaning.

I’m grateful for every stage of the journey.

 

When she’s not writing, Kate Findley enjoys tennis and long hikes with her boyfriend. Her blog, Generate Magic, teaches creative entrepreneurs how to lead more inspired, productive lives by unleashing the magic within.

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