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Have you ever had a realisation coming from something that happened years ago?
Like a light bulb switched on as you tilt your head and relive that moment back in your mind and realise, “Huh, I was being taught a lesson way back then, but at the time, I didn’t know it.”
This was me, back in 2018, after I plucked up the courage to see a counsellor in 2016.
Let me start from the beginning.
I have always felt like I was put on this earth to help people. I never knew how this looked exactly, but I knew that when people were happy and okay, then I was happy and okay.
All my life, as far back as I can remember, I have taken on other people’s pain, worry, or discomfort. I would try anything to make their agony go away. If I couldn’t or it was something that happened in passing, like the old lady who was stuck crossing the road in the pouring rain without an umbrella, the worry for them would consume me. Heck, I even cried when my sister stepped on a thumbtack when we were little!
For most of my adult life, there was this one person (my brother) I was desperately trying to save and couldn’t.
I felt like I was failing him, and so I was constantly searching for an “answer” or a “way to be” for him. Not only that, but I’d also continually put others before myself, remaining strong for those who depended on me.
The pressure was heavy.
Turned out, it wasn’t the pressure anyone else had put on me. It was the pressure I was putting on myself to solve their problems—to soften their fall or to protect their hearts.
Over the past 11 years, my family was thrown into a world of turmoil from one thing to another. Relationships were strained, emotions were high, hearts were broken, people were torn apart, and lives were scarred. Yet, life had to go on. Over time, things were continually up and down, but we would all just get by.
I decided to reach out to God. I sat myself up in church a couple of times hoping to feel something, to be given a sign, or to be shown the way. Geez, I even started praying again. I guess you could say I was desperate.
This didn’t last long, though, and it wasn’t the answer I was searching for. So I decided I needed to see a psychologist.
I worked up the courage to attend the appointment, and he pretty much told me that he didn’t know why I was there and that unless I was suicidal, he didn’t need to see me.
I was like what the actual eff. Any wonder people don’t reach out or struggle to find the right help? All I wanted was to talk to someone, get some advice, and be given some strategies. I never went to see him again.
So I found a female counsellor instead. I walked into her big home, into a beautiful room with a scented candle burning, and I almost lost it then and there.
She was so lovely and way better to talk to. But as the session progressed, she started asking me questions about my childhood and my relationship with my husband. This made me feel uneasy. Why did she want to know that stuff and what has that got to do with my problem of not being able to save my brother?
I sat there quickly scanning my life over.
Childhood was good—tick.
Relationship with husband is good—tick.
So we don’t need to go there then—tick.
As I walked out of that session, I feared that the sessions were going to “bring up stuff” that’s not even there or make me turn on my husband.
So I decided not to go back there either.
During the time (of seeing that counsellor and searching for answers), those two years were the most challenging, yet most rewarding years of my life.
I embarked on a personal development journey through the Coaching Institute while I continued to juggle being everyone’s support person, being there as a mum for my kids, being there as a wife for my husband, and showing up for work and being there for my clients.
Looking back, it was that journey that transformed me into a better version of myself and helped me to positively shift my mindset and completely turned my life around.
I learnt what it was that I really valued and how to live in line with that. I learnt how to have healthy boundaries so that making decisions became easier. I learnt how to give myself permission to create some space and give myself grace. I learnt what I was and was not willing to tolerate. I learnt how to accept my emotions, and as I learnt how to think and act differently, my perspective on things changed in a healthier way, and all areas of my life became more balanced.
My light bulb moment was this:
It wasn’t anyone else who needed saving; it was me who needed saving.
I now see what my counsellor was trying to do. She was trying to get me to work on me.
You see, the problem is never the problem. The problem is how we think about the problem.
By working on our internal world, we can learn to shift how we view and manage our external world.
Having come out the other side, it all makes so much sense now and why I have gone on to become a Personal Growth Coach.
I always knew I was put here to help others, but now I know how.