It took me 33 years to find my identity.
33 years to realise what truly authentic expression looks like for me.
Although I did not realise it, the lack of an authentic identity flavoured my entire childhood, teen years and twenties with a needy energy.
It led me to do things which I felt would validate me in one way or another, but which ultimately left me feeling more lost and confused.
Up until my mid-twenties, to the best of my memory, I cheated on every girlfriend I had.
Because I wasn’t in relationships for the love of the other person, I was in them because they validated me in some way.
Then when a pretty girl came along who was showing interest in me, the opportunity for further validation was far too attractive to turn down.
The feeling of self judgement, regret and shame would then follow leaving me feeling as though I had validated only one thing; I am an untrustworthy scoundrel who does not deserve true love and connection.
They say that if you do not heal your wounds you will bleed all over the people around you, and I definitely did this to girlfriends during that time.
Cycling through inauthentic identities also made it almost impossible to forge deep connections with people, because for the most part any connection made was build on a foundation of a false identity.
There are of course friends from those years who I still love dearly today, but on the whole it was not easy.
I found recreational drug use to be a way through this, because for a short period of time when first getting high I would feel incredibly connected to those around me.
Then the high would wear off and I would be left feeling even more disconnected than before. Even more lost. Even more confused. Even more alone.
Some days would pass, I would yearn for that connection again and before I knew it I would be getting high again.
The funny thing is that the more I stayed in this pattern, the less enjoyable the high became, the more distressing the low became and the more difficult it became to find true connection in everyday life; yet for a period, despite knowing this, I was stuck in the loop.
At the age of 31 I found a mentor who helped me see myself.
It still took another 2 years for me to clear the lens enough to fully see myself, understand myself and love myself.
But that initial work with him was enough to snap me out of the loop, to bring a level of personal awareness which made me realise something; the validation I have been seeking all these years is already within me, if I am seeking external validation in respect to my identity I am not being authentic to myself, and when I am not authentic to myself my ability to unconditionally connect to people is diminished.
To say this was a life saving moment of realisation is no exaggeration.
Was it hard? Hell yes, to break the patterns of a lifetime and buy into the hope of a better tomorrow is challenging, but unless we’re growing and evolving toward true fulfilment, what is the point?
Thank you Peter Sage for those times, you saw something in me I did not see in myself and truly saved my life <3