Why You Don’t Need To Change
When clients come to see me its usually because they are normally struggling, maybe a life change such as a divorce, an illness or death has appeared in their lives.
They may just feel they are overwhelmed with emotion or perhaps they have lost their way. Some report feeling flat and they may have lost interest in life they just can’t find their mojo.
Or perhaps they feel in an impossible situation or stuck, there are many reasons why I am asked for help. Most come hoping to that I will help them change and that I have the answers but the last thing I want to do is change them or give them answers.
At the route of all problems there will be a thread from the “I am not good enough cloth”. Most of us will hold a feeling somewhere of not being good enough, find me a human who doesn’t and I will probably check for a pulse!
The not good enough feeling can surface at a moments notice with some it appears out of the blue, for many its always been lurking somewhere. “I am not good enough” I here my clients words. “Good enough for what” I often ask? Then the answers come, I am not this or I am not that, I don’t cope like other people, I am different to them..
How do we know this if we can’t see inside their heads or hearts. What I am sure of, is this, we are very different from everyone else, we are supposed to be. But in many ways we are also very similar because there are times we all feel not good enough, Yes I include myself in here too. We all have an overriding need to be different, to be noticed valued and respected, we also have a need to fit in so this can be hard to balance.
We struggle with difference, on a personal level and politically, socially, religiously and all the other lys I can’t quite think of. Difference causes segregation at football matches and it causes war.
In the wild those that are different are often attacked and killed, in the play ground they are bullied and life is made unbearable.
Its not just being different in a bad way that can make us a target being good at something can also lead to envy, resentment and the saying “its tough at the top” can be quite true.
So if we are do stand out and maybe have some brilliance how do we cope with that? We are all told be good, be confident, but how many of us are really comfortable with our confidence?
Culture and society doesn’t like a show off. So we sit shyly hiding our brilliance for fear of we may be arrogant, a show off. Maybe we, don’t want to be better any than anyone else in case we are not liked.
So maybe its better to stay with the sheep and stay safe with the others, the fox might not be able to grab us this way. But if we don’t stand out how do we get that job, get anyone to buy our products, or make our business a success.
The truth is we need to stand out even if we don’t really want to, even though our success may well depend on it.
Media and celebrity culture is such a classic example of this, lets make you stand out from the crowd, lets build up a fan base lets make you into something perfect that everybody wants, then we will expose you because your human and make mistakes and knock you off that pedestal.
Celebrities are still human they struggle just as we do, if we do manage to do good things and maybe they are better than someone else, do we then start to question ourselves?.
Is it really better, if we can’t do it the same as others then there must be something wrong with us. That internal chatterbox of self doubt goes into overdrive and if we are not careful that chatterbox can stop us doing all manner of things.
I don’t change clients because they don’t need changing what they need is to accept themselves as do we all. This can be a hard process and it can take time and it’s a constant life time job.
But from the place of acceptance is where change really starts to happen. I had a client ask me… “But which way is the right wayt?” My answer was a long one. I am not so good at short answers, my clients will know this and often the therapy hour may actually be an hour and a small bit or a big bit.
I love story and the power of metaphor so bare with me if you have time. My blogs are lengthy too I like words.
My answer comes in a form of a story.
Well it’s a bit like baking a cake.
Some will get a recipe, measure all the ingredients and have them waiting in separate bowls. Some will get the recipe measure the ingredients and toss it all together in one bowl to save on washing up Some will tweak the recipe adding different fruits for example. Some won’t even bother with a recipe they make it up as they go along. Some might use the recipe for ideas and then make part of it up. Some might not make a cake at all they may go and buy one
You see it doesn’t matter how you get the cake or even if you buy one, what matters is that the cake smells and tastes delicious at the end. There is no right or wrong way to do something just like life there are so many ways to make a cake.
One thing to remember, if you baked your cake it won’t look like the one that comes from the supermarket that looks perfectly round and iced. Hopefully it will taste much better though and just like life it doesn’t matter so much what it looks like, the real beauty is what’s on the inside the taste and flavour that hopefully knocks that factory produced cake out of the water, because it was made with love and care.
Maybe we should remind ourselves too while I am using cake as our Metaphor, this is not British Bake Off nobody is measuring you, scoring you, there is no first prize or judge ready to send you home.
So go on bake your cake any way that suits you. Its OK to play around with it, its OK to make a mess or not and if its doesn’t work out you can just cheat and go and buy one. No harm done really the world will not stop turning because it didn’t quite turn out right. No point in beating yourself up, if you had fun having a go it wasn’t a wasted process, maybe next time it will be better.
Take the same approach to life and live it your way, by your rules and forget the imaginary audience that doesn’t exist only in our heads. Accept that it might be a wonky cake, and it might not be how others do it but it doesn’t really matter as long as you like your cake.
So you see the moral of the story is change comes from not trying so hard.
So I invite you to be mindful of the “should, must and ought to” words that fill your head. Try to stop measuring yourself to others and be bold, be brave and do it in what ever way works for you.
So you might not be good enough to perform brain surgery or understand quantum physics but I bet you will certainly be more than good enough for most things you put your mind to.
Change doesn’t come from changing everything you are but from how easily you accept all of you, just the way you already are, quirks and all,. Try to let go of perfection and allow your self the chance to make mistakes.
I am dyslexic so the grammar’s not too good in this blog but I am trusting its good enough and you will get the gist of it. I am not waiting for the grammar checker today, I have given him some time off.
I am going to trust that you won’t send back my blog with red ink all over it and a” must do better” at the bottom, that’s what they did at school,. I am not there anymore, I am a grown up most of the time.
Be kind and compassionate to yourself and those around you and change will come from where you least expect it and great things happen when we don’t try so hard.
If you need some help, you can come and see me but I won’t change you, I will trust you and accept you in the hope you will start to do this for yourself in time.
I wont give you answers either because you have those already, I may help you find them if you are struggling. I will hold your belief until you want to hold it. yourself.
I believe that all my clients who come to see me are already good enough they just sometimes need some help to see this and that comes from creating the space to do so.
My clients are not weak either they often just have too much stuff to hold, if you need some space or some help to hold your stuff I am here and my door is open.
With love and best wishes Mel