The last 18 months have been a challenge. Several deaths, a physical health scare (all is well now thankfully) and a brush with ill mental health have meant that for a time, I’ve not been truly happy when really I am very fortunate and have a fantastic life.
My nearest and dearest have probably seen a change in me. Acquaintances, on the other hand, may not have noticed a thing. That’s the thing with going through a difficult patch, it’s usually only those closest who notice. I mean, it’s not like you often see someone with a massive sign on their head marked “I feel crap, how are you?”.
I reached a point where I decided that I couldn’t and wouldn’t continue as I was; I was going to improve my life. My aim was to get out of the job that was the cause of a lot of my malaise, to get back to being the old Kerry and then to improve her. I had an image in my head of a confident woman, secure in herself, a woman who leaves the past where it is and who embraces the present and makes her own future. In a nutshell I want to be happy and I wanted to make ‘my people’ happy.
Shortly after I made this decision, I came across NLP, Neuro-Linguistic Programming. In my world, NLP is becoming more aware of what’s going on in my head, tweaking where necessary and correcting negative patterns of behaviour.
About ten months ago, I met the Lollipop man (I shall explain later but he is someone who I know in a professional capacity but has come to help me on a person level). I soon discovered that he is a life coach and as I found out a little more about NLP, he seemed like someone who I could trust to point me in the right direction.
In our first session, Lollipop Man explained how NLP works and I gave a brief yet teary summary of what had gone on/was going on with me and what I wanted to achieve from our sessions. Despite my being highly emotionally strung, he was calm, listened and reassured me that our sessions would help
It was a relief because I’d spent many a month feeling like I was going out of my mind. At the same time it’s also incredibly embarrassing. I couldn’t seem to utter a sentence without a quivering lip and squishy crying face popping up. You know the face, when you get upset, try to fight it and instead end up looking like the human equivalent of those dogs with all the folds of skin, only with more drool.
One of the things I dislike about myself is that I can get quite uptight easily; not so much in keeping with my ideal self-image of the cool, calm woman in control. Lollipop Man encouraged me to be conscious of what happens in my head when I get feelings of anxiety and irritation. He emphasised that I should witness the feelings, without judgment.
Effectively what I needed to listen to the voices in my head. To observe the thought processes and the physical symptoms of anger.
I’m quite impatient with myself and I want everything to be perfect already. I can have infinite patience with others but this is me and I’d made the decision to move on, be calm, composed and awesome, so I wanted all of the above. Yesterday. The thing is that I’ve started a path of resistance and I’m trying to change programmes that have had 27 years to embed themselves deep in my thinking and behaviour. Putting it like that, the process is going to take some time and I need to accept that.
Whilst witnessing my thoughts, one voice has commanded my particular attention. It’s a nasty little thing and it often I’ve heard people refer to theirs as their little demon. Mine tends to put me down, often by conjuring up all manner of scenarios, most of which are negative and induce fear of things that will probably never happen. Most people refer to it as being a worrier. Eckhart Tolle refers to ‘it’ as ‘them’: pain bodies.
When I’ve discussed this with Lollipop man, he’s explained it in a way that makes sense to me:
Due to the fact that a key figure in my early life didn’t properly do their job as my protector and role-model, I developed a way of looking out for ‘little Kerry’ and providing that protection myself. I did this based on the environment around me during childhood which was often hostile and snappy.
As I developed into an adult, I continued to employ these defence tactics. The more I reacted in an angry way, the stronger that little demon became because I felt that it was part of me; I identify with my demon.
Instead by witnessing an angry reaction, I dissociate myself from it therefore highlighting that the undesirable behaviour (and the little demon) isn’t part of who I am, I can change it.
It may sound odd to some people to think that we have different parts of us, that you have a little you, a big you and a demon/demons, but this concept has made a world of difference to me. It has brought a kind of comfort because it helps to explain why I sometimes feel the way I do and it means that I can work to change those pesky patterns of behaviour. You never know, if it makes sense to me, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it might make sense to you.
Before I leave you to your glorious Sunday evening I suppose that I should explain why I refer to my NLP coach as the Lollipop man shouldn’t I? He once showed me this video from a TED lecture given by a very inspiring man by the name of Drew Dudley. Please check this link to see how the sole action of giving a lollipop to a stranger changed someone’s life! Whilst I could ramble on about this video for hours on end, I’ll you to discover it and hope that its word motivate you to make the difference.