This weekend I was at Regents University in London for a course run by Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy. To get to the Uni, you walk through Regent’s Park. It’s a stunning park right in the centre of London, close to Baker Street, and behind Madame Tussauds.
I have experienced many moments in this park.
- There was a conversation with Trevor Silvester about how I would one day look back on my childhood experiences and be thankful for them. I remember that conversation. It seemed a ridiculous thing to say. He could tell it unsettled me and quickly switched to a distraction. But I remembered it. And, of course, he was right. I am in that place now – but only just!
- There was a moment just a year or two ago, where those of use who were qualified came together for an annual Cognitive Hypnotherapy event. I felt so different. I felt like I didn’t belong. And I felt sad, because I always felt different. I sat on a bench with a Starbucks over the lunch break. I left everyone else behind to chat. I isolated myself. It was just me and a squirrel that wanted what I had (no way it was getting my Starbucks!). I have since learnt to accept my differences – even like them. I can be comfortable with people I don’t connect with, in the same was as those I do. Not everyone is my tribe.
- There were many Saturday mornings where I walked along, having had a session with Trevor on the Friday, desperately trying to process the barrage of emotions and thoughts that flooded me following yet another fundamental shift.
As I walked through the park on Saturday, I felt a deep, calm peace.
It occurred to me that I was unrecognisable in comparison to the person that first walked through the park just over 6 years ago. So much so, that you would swear it was not the same person.
There have been many times in the last few years that I have felt that I have reached the limit of change. Often, with things that I still was unhappy with. I would try and accept the version of me that I was. I would try and convince myself that some things just couldn’t be changed.
But I didn’t believe that to be true for my clients, so how could I accept it for myself?
And like that 18 year old me that didn’t take the bottle of tablets, there was a part of me that still fought; a part of me that still believed there was something better for me.
And then another shift has happened. In many ways, this was the most profound shift yet. And I realised that I was wrong: everything can change.
I often tell my clients that this process is like bowling
When you go bowling, you don’t know how many pins you are going to knock out of the way until you actually roll the ball down the alley. You have to bowl, and wait.
Each session we bowl.
You also can’t take the bowling ball and go round the back to get the back pins first.
You have to start with the front row.
So sometimes you feel that you have gone backwards. You uncover a row of pins, and because the others have been cleared out of the way, they feel significant. It feels like that was the main problem all along.
But as with bowling, you can only get at the back row once the rows in front are gone.
Don’t give up
So my message to you is: don’t give up on yourself.
Keep bowling. Keep going. If you are not happy with anything, it can always be changed. It might take a while, and it might even catch you by surprise, but everything can change.
And remember, whatever you think, the fact that you are reading this blog post means that you have not given up on yourself yet!