We all have a past – we can’t escape it. It is what has shaped who we are, good and bad.
Life is not straightforward, it’s how we deal with it which counts.
Sometimes stuff happens to us which is too big for us to comprehend, sometimes it is just dealt with by the brain, compartmentalised and ‘locked away’ as in that moment we just cannot ‘deal’ with it.
It may be because we are children and just do not have the emotional comprehension or capacity to understand it.
It may be because we just don’t have the support around us to get us through it.
We may be being told to ‘get over it’ and ‘it’s no big deal’ or even not given the time to appreciate what is going on.
When I was bullied at secondary school I had no real comprehension of what is happening to me. Bullying was not the big issue it seems to be now. The level of awareness was lower and actions taken to deal with it pretty non-existent. Now, parents are preempting it and worrying about it before it is even an issue.
But this bullying experience, which I moved through and dealt with in the only way I knew how left me with crippling anxiety, controlling behaviours over my eating and a phobia of being sick, all linked to my lack of control in a situation where I was relentlessly taunted and put down by a group of girls I considered to be my friends.
It was only years later that I recognised the symptoms and knew I needed to get help. This was firstly triggered by a highly stressful job which left me in confrontational situations with clients on a pretty much daily basis, and then when I became a mum.
Symptoms can be so wide and varied that it is often difficult to put our finger on them. It could be that you find you struggle with social situations, that you don’t like being around big groups of people. You may worry about friendships, do people really like you? You may have developed emotional eating issues, by that I mean eating when you are upset, or angry, lonely or sad but it does not appear to fill the ‘void’. You may also be triggered by your own children, by what they are going through. I found this one of the most significant issues I had to face, especially around the bullying. I was so scared of my boys going through what I went through, I became aware that I may be creating situations before they actually occurred.
I had to get a grip, but how?
I had a host of therapeutic tools in my back pocket, but the one which worked most successfully for me, to get me back on track and facing up to my life limiting stuff was hypnotherapy. But not the hypnotherapy which analyses your past in order to make sense of your present and how it is impacting you (I had already done plenty of that thanks). This hypnotherapy was looking at changing the way I thought about things, reacted to things, and the impact focusing on the positive stuff in life. I don’t mean this in a ‘pollyanna, life is wonderful’ kinda way but a proper, what is good, what can I do, focus on more of to move myself beyond this life limiting stuff? How can I overcome those fears which are holding me back, those past experiences which are dragging me backwards?
By not focusing on them. By that I don’t mean ignoring them, I mean acknowledging them and finding ways to redefine your coping behaviours, understanding the impact low level stress has on our bodies, and minds and giving ourselves permission, time and space to free ourselves from living our lives limited by our past, learning to spread our wings, and fly.
Once I learnt how my brain was kicking in to keep me safe from perceived harm in my life, harm which was creating from memories related to past experiences and learnt to stop that safety mechanism in it’s tracks I felt free, able to do what I wanted, things I had held off from doing in the past for fear of getting it wrong, being laughed at, all related to past experiences. And this was all about focusing on the future, not hanging onto to the past, and blaming it for why I am the way I am today.
And that self acceptance is what sets you free in life from what has held you back, Even if past ‘stuff’ isn’t clear cut and evident it doesn’t matter because we don’t need to know the ins and outs of it all, it can just dig you deeper into it. We acknowledge it and move forward, and that is the real creation of freedom.
I have my wings now and I want you to find yours too.
Love Clare x