I was horse mad as a child.
I was born and raised in Australia until the age of nine and, along with a modest collection of pony books and stickers, I had an imaginary horse I kept tethered in our backyard. Truth be told I had about fifteen imaginary horses – all with their own names – but that’s another story.
More than anything, I wanted to ride a real horse.
When I was about eight, I came across a brochure for a kids’ activity camp. There on the front cover was a photo of children smiling as they rode horses through the countryside.
This is it, I thought: this camp is my ticket to Ponyville.
My parents agreed I could go (I suspect I nagged them a LOT) and the day finally came when I bid farewell to all fifteen of my imaginary horses (took a while) and headed off to realise my dream. In no time at all, I thought, I’ll be one of the happy kids cantering blissfully through the sunny landscape.
It turned out to be one of the darkest weeks of my young life.
Continue reading “Who Do You Trust?”
“You’ve got to know yourself so you can at last be yourself” – D.H. Lawrence
We know when we meet someone who’s at ease with themselves. They know who they are and they’re comfortable in their own skin. There’s no need for them to impress, play games or apologise for themselves.
If all we’ve ever experienced is disharmony within, we might envy them. “I wish I were like that”, we think. “Life must be so uncomplicated for them”.
The irony is that in order to be ourselves we often believe we need to be someone else entirely – someone better. Or, at the very least, we must “fix” what we believe is “wrong” about us.
Continue reading “Food for Thought: Knowing Yourself”
You’re walking back from the shops one day when, out of the corner of your eye, you sense movement in a nearby alleyway.
As you approach, you realise it’s a little child, about 4 years old. As she turns her face towards you, you see she’s crying. Her expression is a mix of anguish and fear. She’s alone, save for a small teddy which she’s clutching with both hands.
You bend down in front of her.
Then, you reach into your shopping bag and remove a tube of Pringles, a packet of 12 doughnuts, a family pack of chocolate bars and a large tub of ice-cream.
“Eat these until you feel sick”, you tell her.
Continue reading “Gentle Reminder: Be Sensitive to Yourself”
As I was showing her into the room for the start of our session last week, a client asked “how are you?”. I launched into an extensive account of what was going on in my life, including my concerns about my cat’s digestive issues and my feelings about Brexit. Half an hour later, she got to talk about her stuff.
Of course, this didn’t happen.
Although I strive to be authentic and transparent in my responses to clients, it would be highly inappropriate and unethical for me to talk about myself in this way.
I simply replied “I’m fine, thanks”. Continue reading “What Mask Do You Wear?”
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen”. – Brené Brown
It’s a lovely idea, isn’t it? We have the choice on a daily basis to be genuinely who we are. It’s often what we yearn for – to have the courage to be ourselves, regardless of what other people think.
What if people don’t like us?
What if people tell us we’re wrong?
What if we risk being ourselves and we get hurt?
Continue reading “Food for Thought: The Risk of Authenticity”