301 words by Katarina Stoltz

As a teenager my strongest belief was “life is a struggle” and I was miserable. I hustled for worthiness by getting good looking guys to like me. I toughened up on the outside, grew weaker on the inside and exaggerated my alcohol consumption. By my late 20s I had armored up so badly that I lost touch with the happy girl I used to be.

Then, I got hired as a photographer by one of the world’s biggest news agencies. My ego was thrilled! A few years later, I was at the top of my career when I suddenly found myself on the bathroom floor in terrible pain. I had bottled up so many feelings, my body just couldn’t take it anymore. 

At the doctor’s office, I was told I might not be able to have children. That sure put things in perspective. Thanks to that breakdown, I forced myself to pause and ask: what kind of life do I really want?

Sometimes our bodies know things our minds don’t. I learned that my body is my most valuable compass. I recognized that I needed to ask for help. Through yoga, psychotherapy and a wonderful community of women who had walked the path before me, I began to de-armor, and slowly connect with my inner femininity.

I went from being a highly achieving adventure addict, to creating a dream life as a therapist, life coach, wife, and mother.

Looking back, it’s clear that I was only expressing stereotypically “male” qualities in my work — pushiness, toughness. I was completely ignoring my feminine traits —  intuition, compassion, vulnerability.

To be a successful working woman in 2020, we need to connect with our true selves and not hide behind an armor, so that life doesn’t become a struggle and we can thrive without burning out.

About the author
Katarina Stoltz is a life coach and psychotherapist who helps people in difficult life transitions. She guides her clients on a journey to more self-awareness, so they can reconnect with their true selves. Working in four languages: English, German, Swedish, and Polish, Katarina meets with individual clients at her practice in Berlin or online. Read more on her here

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