Do you need to update your guidebook?


Oh my goodness! What a perfectly wonderful afternoon I am spending in the park! I often come here, open my laptop and work from here embracing the scope of nature around me, that re-balances me.

So imagine, Sunday afternoon, 23degrees, Londoners, but mostly probably tourists, are strolling down the paths and sinking in the spontaneous sunbathing and warmth. I am sitting just opposite the pond, as I love water, even though in its very modest and artificial representation. My legs are exposed to the sun and my feet with a pink varnish are absolutely loving the moment! I look after myself well, so I keep my head covered, especially after the outbreak of meningitis 3 years ago, which was directly related with me feeling untouchable and overexploiting my body and mind on work.

Now I know.

Never ever again will I agree to do something that falls beyond my capacity of feeling comfortable and aligned with me on a physical or emotional level. I will sure be challenged to do so, I know that. But it will be up to me to either challenge it back or tolerate and compromise myself.

We compromise ourselves for so many different reasons and we all have very different sources of motivation. Some of which, are conscious as we have done our homework on reflection and gaining awareness, some of which are subconscious – simply stemming from the beliefs that were installed in us during the formative age and maturation.

Relationships, attachment and patterns of relating is the most prevalent issue people bring into my practice. Most of our challenges are interlinked with relationship. Either with the opposite sex, or so called perceived opposite sex – depending on our orientation and the way we perceive gender. I reflected on three random examples:

Example 1 – a person struggles with receiving complements, acknowledgements – even though that this is exactly what the person is paradoxically craving. The extent of the discomfort whilst being complemented causes physical pain and unpleasant sensations.

Example 2 – a person sabotages themselves from engaging with the ideal partner they really fancy and allows near them only those, who were perceived as safe and so called ‘average’ in their eyes. The person is never satisfied and still craves the ideal partner but will not allow themselves to express it openly.

Example 3 – a person attracts emotionally unavailable partners, hence, cannot create a loving and healthy relationship, again, something so strongly desired by them. They are using specific body language, usually on a subconscious level, that signals ‘I am not available’.

All three examples are present around us. It actually can be one of us. We often don’t notice them. People are very good at hiding their real selves. And of course again we have many reasons to do so. We have to self-preserve, we don’t want to get hurt, we need to protect our most vulnerable parts. So in all three instances we first needed to identify the origin of certain behavioural pattern / compulsion to be able to work on their present implications.

The identification can be followed by acceptance, but only if we are ready for taking responsibilities for all that is happening to us. And this is a BIGGIE!

It is so much easier to find an excuse and blame. And we can start here a never-ending tirade of reasons…Beginning with the history of our country and our genes, our blackness or our whiteness, through the family and the circumstance we were born into, via our immediate surroundings, school, the ways we were treated by our parents, teachers, friends, peers, partners, children, the illnesses we had to combat and so on…

Presuming we accepted the fact that all that has been happening to us so far is due to our own doings and the result of the actions we have either taken or not – only then can we really create a new reality for ourselves.

Ok, but what else is needed to change the patterns of such a prolonged behaviour that no longer serves us?

What do I do to change that? What do I do to have my desired results? What do I do? I was asked the question at all above mentioned examples… and this is when we start the conversation about their regular reactions when they face their desire, i.e.:

1. Being seen as magnificent, best and amazing

2. Being able to reach out for the dream partner

3. Being able to create a loving and wonderful relationship

All those answers showed me that there is a lot of contradiction and inner conflict in between the desire and the reaction to it. So why does it happen? Why do we self-sabotage our own happiness and abundance of wealth, love and health?

In most cases we just follow the pattern to which we were exposed to, thought to or forced to – that eventually became a part of us. The people who first looked after us (our parents, teachers, carers) have given us a ‘metaphorical guidebook’ of behaviours and reactions. What usually happens with guide books is that they are being re-written and updated. We can either choose to follow them throughout our lives or ditch them and simply buy a new one, a modernised one. As since the first one was released, there were many new buildings erected and many demolished, many new paths and streets were created and others were closed. So as you can see, following the old guide could not only be confusing and prevent us from finding the places we are looking for, but it could even be risky as it could lead us into a dead end…

What do we do with the old guidebook then? We take what we need and we are grateful for it, and we go out and find the guidebook that most suits our needs now.

To find the right guidebook may take some time, hence it is good to read recommendations or reviews but also experiment, sometimes we just need to take a risk.

What we didn’t have written in most of the guidebooks, was to put yourself first, being your number one, love yourself truly and purely. And this is a lesson that will hold us back on many levels in achieving the best results in life exams. Because we haven’t heard from our significant others things such as:

You are amazing! You are the Best! I love you so much! You can have everything! You deserve the best! There are no limits to your dreams and desires! I will always accept you! You can be anyone you want! You don’t need to change, just be yourself – you are perfect!

Not many of us were lucky enough to grow up hearing these statements. Conversely when we become adults, we expect no more that we believed we can have. Hence,

Example 1 – will struggle with accepting complements, as they never been given from those who mattered – only so, the person wouldn’t become self-centred. Although it was informed by good intentions – it created a belief that was then carried into the adulthood and strongly identified with the feeling of not being ‘good enough’.

Example 2 – heard that money attracts money, so they would never have a successful and well educated partner, as they come from a different background. Each time the universe was manifesting the ideal partner to them, they would say and do anything to discourage the ‘ideal partner’ as they held the belief that they shouldn’t go for it.

Example 3 – was lacking emotional support and affection whilst growing up, didn’t witness warmth and love amongst the family members, therefore, was reacting nervously at each act of affection and kindness expressed towards them. The presenting body language was contradicting to the hidden desires due to inner conflict.

At all three instances we discussed self-love.

Baby steps to self-acceptance, self-forgiveness and eventually self-actualisation. These steps can be learnt. It literally resembles our learning to walk. But this time we learn consciously, therefore it is more difficult, as there is an element of fear attached to a ‘potential fall’. But do you know a better way of learning a new skill than through repetition, failure and eventually mastering it?

This time we can learn to walk with the assistance of someone who already consciously walks themselves, or even runs! Someone who had to go through this hard lesson as well and is now proficient and ready to pass the lesson further. This is how I see the role of a therapist. Someone who have done the work on themselves, in a safe, professional and effective fashion.

So if this resonated with you stand in front of the mirror and face the biggest fear of yours to say to yourself – I love you, you are good enough! You are amazing, all about you is fabulous and you can have anything you want so let’s dance the life together!

As much as this may feel really awkward, repeat it the next day and the next and the next – until it will become a part of you…

Thank you for reading

With love

Agatha X