Loving life begins with loving yourself first. May this story of ones journey to love themselves again, help inspire you to do the same….
Anita approached me asking if I could help her overcome a barrier to being healthy. For many years she had been unhappy with being overweight and loathed how she looked. She knew how to be healthier (better nutrition, more exercise etc.), but felt frustrated at being unable to find the motivation to do any of these things. Interestingly, any time she got close to feeling motivated, she felt an instant desire to binge eat, drink and smoke. She had been to different counsellors over the years but had been unable to breakthrough the issue and wondered if I could help.
Having listened to her story, I told her that her real barrier was not “being healthy” as she knew how to “be healthy”. The real barrier was she lacked the self-worth to take her there. When we lack self-worth, it ultimately makes us feel that we don’t deserve. This could be deserving of anything – a loving relationship (e.g. with ourselves), financial stability or indeed a healthy body. Anita was struggling to achieve health because ultimately she didn’t believe she was worthy of having it. This is why any time she came close to having it, she would sabotage it by reverting back to her unhealthy lifestyle.
Initially Anita rebelled against the idea she lacked self-worth. To prove me wrong she booked on to a “Detox” course to show she valued herself. However, when she allowed herself to consider the idea of lacking self-worth and was honest with herself, she knew this was her issue. That somewhere along the line, she had lost love for herself. The question was WHY?
During our first session, we explored the cause of her low self worth. To her surprise, this single barrier stemmed from many others. The two main barriers contributing to her low self-worth were:
How could these barriers ruin her self-worth? Well let’s take a look…
Now we have to remember that ALL barriers in life (Fear, Anger, Grief, Guilt, Shame, Infatuation etc.) stem from a misperception of some one, thing or event being more negative than positive to our lives. EVERYTHING is a balance of both. So barriers, in essence, all stem from a misperception of reality. Therefore, all you need to break down their illusion is to look at the side you are ignoring. In Anita’s case, what are the benefits to “being different” and what were the benefits in her not being there for her Dad?
With huge barriers like these, when I first propose the idea that there are benefits to the things they’re labelling negative, I am usually met with the same bewildered “are you actually kidding me?” face. After all, the reason they are such big barriers is that they are being perceived as being only one sided (negative, not positive). Anita was right – there were negatives to being different and to not being there when her Dad died, but she knew about them. Now it was time to know their positive side too.
Unable to think of even one benefit for each of these barriers, I began helping her. Soon she had at least 40 benefits for each!! Things that she had never realised entered her awareness. For example, she discovered that “being different” helps her to do the things she loves (helping other people) more effectively as it provides her with empathy for people who feel different too. Being different challenges her to be courageous (something she values highly) as it can make you feel uncomfortable and raise a need for you to be courageous enough not to shy away; Being different helps her to stop being dependent on having to be liked by others, helping her stay true to who she really is.
She discovered many benefits to the experience with her Dad: Taught her the feeling of guilt which challenged her with having to find a strategy to overcome it. Learning how to overcome guilt helps her to deal with any future guilt more effectively. It has raised her empathy for others who experience guilt, allowing her to help them better. Not being able to tell her Dad she loved him has helped remind her that she never had to – that he knew she loved him regardless. This knowledge reinforces just how strong a bond they had and makes her feel more grateful to have experienced such a loving relationship. Her Dad would have wanted her to have stayed at work rather than rushing in to hospital – he wanted her to live her life and have experiences. Not being there for him has reminded her that she can’t be there for her loved ones all of the time. That she has to let them live their life, and feel free to live her own life too. That one day we all die, and so live for the moment whilst feeling grateful to have all those loved ones in our life.
This benefit is one I think really hits home – Not being physically present with her Dad, yet knowing he knew she loved him and that her love was therefore with him when he died, helps her realise that physical separation from someone is not a disconnect from them. That your love is always with them, and their love with you – that love is inseparable. The knowledge of which reminds her that her connection with him lives on.
Empowered with these balanced perceptions, her resentment and guilt completely disappeared. No resentment or guilt, no lack of self-worth. Several deep barriers she had carried for nearly 30 years – gone. Self-worth and love restored in just three sessions, she’s now free to achieve the health she wants. This is how she described her story:
“My initial barrier was ‘lack of self-worth’. I wasn’t looking after my body or my health, I was unmotivated, though I wanted to be better, but something was getting in my way.
We ended up identifying six barriers in total:
When Ben told me we would find positives to counter-balance each of my ‘negative’ experiences, I laughed (which I appreciate was probably really insulting – sorry Ben!), as I was convinced there was no way we could make that happen.
The memories of my experiences had been consuming me for up to 30 years – I mean they were truly entrenched deep within me. Not only that, but I had never spoken in detail about my experiences before, actually some of them nobody knows anything about at all. So just to even say the words out loud was really tough, never mind trying to deal with all the emotions that came with it.
As a result, Ben did witness a good number of tears and had to watch me struggle to accept what we were uncovering. But with his patience, guidance and quite frankly logical technique, I now feel free from the fears, resentment, guilt and grief that once controlled me, and instead feel happier and more at peace with myself.
More than that, to be able to identify numerous benefits to what I felt were negative experiences for so many years, and to have my perception of those experiences change in only a few short sessions, is kind of mind-blowing!
Plus, now that I have resumed my balance and ‘cleansed my soul’, I actually feel motivated to show my physical self some much-needed TLC. I have since quit smoking, caffeine, reduced the junk food (that still requires a little more effort!) and have taken up exercise again.
So, if you are struggling to move on, let go or connect with yourself, don’t suffer in silence like I did. Please love yourself enough to find the courage to open your mind and heart and I promise Ben will be able to help free you from whatever it is that’s holding you back, just like he did for me.”
No matter how strong they are, no matter how long you’ve carried them, you have the potential to overcome any emotional barrier in life. Being able to do so free’s you to become the best version of yourself so that you can fulfil your potential and live a life you love….and who doesn’t want to pursue that?
SHARE Anita’s Story and help inspire someone to LOVE life today.
OVERCOME YOUR BARRIERS – If you’d like to overcome your own barriers using these simple and effective strategies, you can book a private consultation with me HERE.
P.S. Anita wrote me a heart warming thank you poem – SEE HERE.