Are You a Spiritual Fraud?

Crystal Lynn Bell, are you a spiritual fraud?

I like this photo because it shows me at a time when my spiritual fraudulence was cracking. It was the start of me breaking free from the shell of my old self.

I was in the market for spiritual life coaching because, you know, we all need a little help sometimes.  Yep! Even as a coach, I need my own coaching to help me get unstuck.  

This was about a year ago, and I was talking to a woman who was trying to sell me on her coaching program.  She had positioned herself as an expert in our field and her programs were definitely priced in the premium range.  Sessions with her were priced at five times my own and a weekend retreat could run you upwards of $5k. I was excited to interview her and the thought of investing in myself had me all a-tingle.  So I went into our discovery session with eagerness.  

Interestingly, when we started chatting, she came at me with a million spiritual clichés and then she went into full-blown selling mode.  I don’t like clichés and I don’t like to be ‘sold to.’ And if I am about to employ you to help me transform my mindset and all you can deliver me is clichés and price tags, then I’m going to be a bit disgruntled.  I had the feeling that the woman was not taking the time to actually see me, and the word ‘fraud’ triggered in my awareness. Fraud had come into my mind on two previous occasions as we were chatting, but it was fleeting.  But when it hit me that last time, it came with full confirmation. I couldn’t ignore the feeling in my gut. This chick was lying about something BIG and it was clearly important for both of us because it came up for me a whole year later.

Since this session was about us discovering one another for a potential coaching relationship, I invited her to tell me about herself as a coach from the inside and as she began talking, I started to sense something that didn’t feel like true success.  She was allowing herself to be distracted during our meeting because she had chosen to meet me in her car. And then, she framed her business outcomes in such a way that it made me question what she had truly accomplished. Although well-priced, her income strategies were really outdated and they seemed to synchronize greatly with her cliché-driven approach to spirituality.  It felt like a facade and none of it aligned with the big time coach she was pretending to be. As the client, this made me question her motives as a spiritual life coach, and when she started picking my brain about my website designer and my own business philosophies, I began to recognize the vampire of narcissism in her. This was when her fraudulence became very clear.  

My curiosity took over and I very pointedly asked her to speak truthfully about her success and reputation.  She began to explain that she wasn’t actually having much success and very candidly, she started to telling me her story of loss.  Surprisingly, she told her story from a place of responsibility. She blamed no one and she recognized the role she played in driving people away from her.  Essentially, she had created an illusion of success, but really, her business was failing and certainly not meeting her desires and expectations. I totally appreciated her honesty and she appreciated my compassion.  

Now look, in the past, I have been a budding Spiritual Life Coach who could barely survive off what she was earning.  Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I was a new coach who was wet behind the ears. I had to figure out my services and offerings and I was acting from a philosophy that was powerful, but still just a rosebud.  I can remember very clearly the early years where I had only a handful of successes behind me. But in that time of naiveté, I have never chosen to be a fraud. I have never thought it a good option to mislead my audience to think that I had accomplished more than I had. I’ve never had the chutzpah to pad my resume and make claims that I hadn’t earned. I have never been able to fake it until you make it.  It’s very difficult for me to pretend to have my stuff together when I don’t. For this ‘humility,’ I thank unworthiness.  

In the past, I never thought that anyone could buy into me as a successful anything, let alone some fabulous coach.  I am ‘humble’ in this way and so I don’t outwardly take the fraudulent path. FYI, I’m putting ‘humble’ in inverted commas because I have learned that true humility can’t come from unworthiness.  True humility comes from having aligned yourself so much with God that you nothing else matters. What I was doing was NOT humility. What I was doing was being so beat down by life that I had no confidence.  That’s not humility. That’s a lack of confidence. Ya see?! Even my humility is tinged with fraudulence!

Fraudulence is defined as being obtained by deception and taking credit for accomplishments that you haven’t earned.  It’s about having something that you don’t really deserve.  Energetically, having something you don’t really deserve means that you don’t really have it at all, so you are a temporary throne holder, but not the real king. An empty fist.  This condition creates all sorts of energetic and spiritual fractures inside you. It creates an illusion and it can feel like you have something powerful, but you can’t maintain the charade.  Eventually, the façade cracks– like sucking in your stomach when you’re trying to give the illusion of svelte. Eventually, 1) you gotta breathe and 2) your belly’s gonna release with fatigue.  Façade cracked! Also, Gollum from Lord of the Rings comes to mind. Remember how he held the powerful ring and it destroyed him? He was left with the reality that comes from being in illegitimate possession and out of integrity with the thing he desired.  Oh, the consequences of fraudulence!

So if I am claiming that I have never had the chutzpah to make false claims as a Spiritual Life Coach, how could I so easily relate to and empathize with the coach who was trying to pass herself off as an authority, when she clearly wasn’t qualified?  

Well, this is the thing with unworthiness.  All it’s henchmen seem to creep into your life in different ways.  This is why we MUST search for spiritual blindspots within ourselves.

While it was abhorrent for me to present myself in a fraudulent way in the public’s eye, it was totally natural for me to fake my interior emotional wellness to myself.  For so many years I lived the illusion of happiness and good health. For most of my life, I hated myself but kept it hidden from the public. I would do things like run and meditate, not for the love of life, but in an attempt to mold myself into someone who loved themselves.  The choice I made to travel was not just for the love of the lands I visited, but more because I was running from the devil of unworthiness. The whole reason I couldn’t get into England in 2013 was because vibrationally, I was a fraud. The border guards at the Heathrow airport could sense my inner fraudulence and they turned me away.  As a matter of fact, it was that incident that opened my eyes to the lie I had been building up and living for ALL my life. My ‘happiness’ was a lie and I was a fraud.

My journey over the last seven years has been about waking up to the lie and putting an end to it.  I had to look at all of my choices and inspect if they were authentic to the truth of how I felt in that moment.  I had to dig deep and find my true core beliefs and then I had to understand them and how they were serving me. The beliefs were hard because while some of them were easy to change, there were a couple that I could not break through for years.  They were super detrimental and they were the source of all my pain and suffering. Those, I had to work with slowly, peeling back the layers piece by piece.  

And of course, I had to continue living during this time.  I had to continue to build my business, expand my life, raise my dog, engage with my relationships, serve my clients and take care of my own person.  

What helped me tremendously during this process was knowing that I was becoming more and more me, more and more real.  I knew that for every Shadow work exercise I did, I was becoming less fraudulent. For every emotion I allowed, I was getting more whole.  For every lie I stopped telling myself, I was coming into integrity.  

And here I am today, thriving in my life.  In my opinion, my life does NOT look like I’m thriving on the outside.  My outside needs some time to catch up with my inside. Inside, I KNOW Spirit and my relationship with Life reflects that.  I am still working with my Inner Child on some deeply seated disconnections, but this is a part of Life. I may not ever overcome all those wounds.  I’m not here on earth to check off a list of wounds. I’m here to live fully embodied. And that is a moment-by-moment practice. In the meantime, I have relationships to enjoy, work to unfold and a book to write.  Oh, yes! Also a farmhouse to be imagined and birthed, a business, a romance, a marathon, a mountain, et cetera, et cetera.  

I am a Spiritual Life Coach in integrity with excellence.  I have created the Jailbreak Your Heart & Howl at the Moon healing program to help you break free from the prison of unworthiness and to unleash your Badass Butterfly nature.  If you would like to be privately coached by me, I invite you to book yourself in for a complimentary Discovery Session.

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Here I am! Eccomi qui!

Florence, Italy

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