Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli,

Written by Anna Wengel
July 29, 2020

I’ve been single for ten years. Looking and longing for a guy, and at some point on the journey, for my so-called true self. Both seemed far away and required a lot of emotional work between me now and the happy, authentic version of me, and who knows what between me and the man. Then I decided to become a coach—and there she was: my authentic self, playing out in full.

One week later, he found me.

Summed up in a nutshell the beginning of my journey as a coach sounds like the perfect start for a self-help book or even a testimonial for iPEC (and maybe it is). But of course, the story was way more complex, started earlier, and got dirty.

This is what happened in a broader nutshell:

After an incredibly painful heartbreak and several years of dating guys that were emotionally disconnected from me and probably themselves (I see that now. In those years I just thought they were mean and that there are no good guys out there . . . ) I was sitting on some mountain in New Zealand. Crying. The last guy had just hurt me pretty bad and I was somehow on the quest to find myself, not really sure what to do next.

As I was sitting there on this mountain, it gets dark. Every bone in my body hurt and I knew I still had to climb down. It started raining and I felt incredibly alone; and yet somewhere inside, somehow peaceful. This is when it struck me: all of this pain must have something to do with me.

I was the one inviting all of these disconnected humans into my life—probably for a reason. I was responsible. And if I was responsible, it was in my hands to change it. “It” being feeling hurt all the time and who I attract into my life.

I’d already heard of the idea of “Law of Attraction.” At that moment I started to understand it. I began to consciously work with and on myself. Started looking into the reasons for my single-status. Started to ask what was blocking me from attracting him, and if I really wanted a relationship (or maybe I was just scared to really open up my heart and get hurt again). I didn’t realize then that I’d started coaching myself on that trip, but I did.

What to do with all the fear?

I only understood when I found myself in the relationship. I’d made the space for him after that trip. And–finally–with starting the coaching journey, I let go of the painful longing.

I still wanted the relationship, but for the first time in years, I was truly happy. With myself. With where and who I was and what I was doing. And then it happened pretty quickly. Only one week after I let go of the need to find him, he found me (he’d only just decided the night before that he was ready to find his “one”).

A part of me felt that he’d come into my life at some point. I guess I knew that I had to do some work on myself to let him in. But the one who came was so much more than I could ever have dreamed of. This man looks right through all the beautifully strong and independent-looking masks, all the pain-preventing walls I’d created over the years. He sees me. The true, authentic me. The girl and the woman with all my vulnerability and fierceness, all my sensitivity and intensity, all the scars, quirks, flaws, and whatnot.

There he was. And I understood my first ideal client: Me. Before him. The independent girl, trying to fulfill her life dreams, finding her purpose. The single girl who knows deep inside that she’s meant to find him, but has to work through blockages first. The girl that wants to understand that she has to look and love inside—not only to find him—but because everything and everyone is always a reflection of herself and her inner world.

When he came into my life I thought I had it all (or almost all figured out). Boy was I wrong. Being with him brings up emotions I hadn’t only almost forgotten, I’d only lightly pressed them down so that they came out screaming and crying the second I realized I loved him. Fear. All kinds of fearful angry gremlins attacked me from all sites. Whispering and screaming “You’re not good enough” and “You’ll lose him” in all kinds of versions. So much fear. So much pain.

So what to do with all that fear and pain?

My default (or fight or flight instinct) is running away or distracting myself from it. That seems to help in the moment, the painful feeling goes away (or at least lessens), but it always comes back in one way or another.

Not the same story, but the uncomfortable feeling’s always familiar. Why? Because it is the same feeling and it wants to be looked at and accepted.

Once I understood this about emotions, I slowly started doing what I was most afraid of: I looked at the fear and the pain behind the fear. Sat with it. Allowed it to override me. The biggest fear of actually allowing painful feelings in was to go crazy and lose my mind. That feeling would shatter me into pieces I couldn’t possibly manage to put back together.

If that’s your fear too, here’s a little easing wisdom nugget that I found out: you’re not going crazy, you’re not going to die. Yes, it might feel overwhelming, but that’s it. And it gets better, every time you practice. Allowing your feelings is only going to help you live the life you want to live and be the person you want to be. 

With understanding and learning about triggers, shame, and suppressed emotions, I can now honestly look at fear and allow it. Maybe not all the time. Definitely not. But every time a little more. I have a coach helping me when I need help while being my own coach and my own client all the time (and I believe always will be as life goes on).

I’m getting closer and closer to my ideal of awareness, vulnerability, and compassion. Or “strong back, soft front, and wild heart,” as Brené Brown says.

Getting there, and getting comfortable with the imperfection of not being there yet. 

If you want to know more about the whole feel-your-fear-and-pain-idea or want some help working with it, please feel free to contact me. 

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Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli,