Throughout our lives we’re told to be a certain way and if we don’t conform to that certain way then we are bad or wrong or even worse, cast aside.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

If you read one of many countless autobiographies of anyone one thing you will probably find in common is that they never truly fitted in anywhere and it was either individual strength of character or parenting that allowed them to survive a school system not designed for them.

Most self-helps books you may read as you get older and even psychological thoughts on the mind may invite you to re-learn who you actually are by unlearning everything you were taught and told about yourself.

This can cause its own upset though, as if you need to forget who you are, then who are you? Who were you? Was it all a lie? Well, no. That person is still you, but if in later life that person is still feeling pain of any form of rejection then it is important to get that person to see a new perspective.

This may lead to some really uncomfortable truths of actually being real to who you are. This might be painful, not just for you but for the people around you. They’ve been brought up knowing of you as a character. Unless you break that pattern they will continue to treat you as that character causing you more pain knowing that you are no longer that character for me.

I’ve gone through a number of characters in my lifetime.

  • The twin
  • The student
  • University me
  • First career me
  • Cardiff me parts 1 & 2
  • This latest version of me

Each of these characters of mine have helped me navigate those times of my life. Breaking out of each these characters caused pain to me and those around me. Not deliberately, we just grow up, we grow out of friendships. 

As the student, that meant losing my guitar playing friends who had zero interest in going to university. Going to university meant fortuitously being away from my family so I could actually be myself for the first time ever. I found my voice and my humour. I exploded. Moving back home for a while was very difficult as my ‘role’ in the family still hadn’t changed.

Moving to Cardiff; the big city life was very odd as the office was massive, I was one person. I knew no no else in the city and I lived with a housemate who really just wanted the flat to herself. 

I then moved to the cancer charity where I still work at the time of writing this. I joined the choir, went on a acting workshop, developed self-confidence through the roof not seen since going to university. I now had friends in this new and strange place and hobbies and interests that I could share with others. It was fantastic.

Followed by the breakdown and regrowth following that to where I am now. Trying to remain creative and writing and sticking to a strict schedule to make sure no balls, or as few balls as possible don’t get dropped. I feel, again, like I know what I want in life and career. I’m doubling down on helping others and want to inspire that in others through coaching.

I’m very excited to see if I can make it work and whether I get the results from people who could benefit from my help using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Solution Focus based on my experience. Will this lead to the shedding of yet more people? Probably. Will that open the door for people to help me progress in this world with similar feelings and ambitions? More than likely.

Going throw the pain to reach you who you want to be is just like shedding your skin as a snake. We outgrow that previous version of ourself and we go out into the world bigger, bolder and braver, all the while feeling more content and at peace knowing that we can better navigate the ups and downs that life throws at us.

What a wonderful place that is.

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