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I’m not a great one for poetry but one poem has inspired me so much – so much so I have a picture of it on my clinic wall. It spoke to me about something that was holding me back. Was it really laziness, or a lack of time or motivation or was there something deeper going on.

Here’s the poem……

our deepest fear by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,

talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of

God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people

permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

This poem is  part of what started me on my counselling journey.  One day a few years ago I went to see a counsellor and showed them this poem and said “I don’t know why but I just can’t let myself shine”.  We spent the session exploring that and it changed my life!

Many of us are held back by fears.  On the one hand we’d love to get that promotion, launch that business or have the courage to say what we really feel.  But somehow we unconsciously hold ourselves back…

  • we sabotage our health by under/overeating, drinking too much, not getting enough sleep
  • avoid letting others get close to us by not saying how we really feel
  • we don’t pursue our dreams – never get round to launching that business, moving to a new area
  • don’t stand up for things that are important to us for fear of being judged

Why do we hold ourselves back?

We all pick up messages as we go through life about who we “should” be and how we “should” act. 

Here are some of the ones I got growing up. Some of these might resonate with you or you might have picked up very different messages.

  • children should be seen and not heard (I don’t have the right to speak up)
  • academic achievement is important (so I shouldn’t waste my time doing creative things I enjoy)
  • messages about who I “should” trust or not trust
  • if you stand out too much people won’t like you (who does she think she is?)

Don’t get me wrong I haven’t got this nailed and sometimes I still do hold myself back through fear.  But counselling helped me develop self awareness so when those fears popped up I could work out what might be pushing my buttons  and decide if those old messages were still true.

Developing self awareness

The next time you feel a little resistance or sense you are self sabotaging try asking yourself these questions;

  • what thoughts are going through my head?
  • what feelings are in my body? 

If you find a thought that seems powerful ask yourself if it’s true?

  • is it true that you “should” feel/act a certain way or do a particular thing,

For example you feel anxiety around signing up to a course that will help you get your dream job.  You might think that perhaps your family will resent you if it gives you less time with them or need to budget a bit more strictly to do it.  But ask if that’s true?  Maybe they would be supportive?  If they would not be – is it true that you couldn’t cope with a little disapproval from them?  Is it true that having approval from your family is more important than you following your dream?

Do this patiently and with self kindness.  There are no right or wrong answers – the purpose is to become more aware.  Without awareness we tend to feel anxious and react on autopilot but with awareness we feel the anxiety and notice “aha this is linked to this belief” and with that noticing comes the possibility of choosing differently.

How does Counselling help?

In a nutshell this is what we do in counselling.  Sometimes beliefs are so deeply embedded that they are a sort of filter you see the world through.  It can sometimes be impossible for you to recognise what’s going on without a sounding board to reflect back and help you explore what’s going on for you.  As  a counsellor I reflect back to you and gently challenge some beliefs you hold.  Sometimes beliefs are so firmly established we don’t even notice them. 

If you’d like to see if counselling might help you contact me to arrange a free short phone chat where you can ask any questions and get a feel for how we might work together.

For more information on counselling click here

About Me

Anna from Relax Therapies

My name is Anna and I am a counsellor and massage therapist working in Birkenhead, Wirral. I see clients face to face or on zoom or by telephone.

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