Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Personal development and investing in oneself

I am a firm believer that investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. I was talking to my long time therapist on Monday and she made an observation, about how I am now living the life of my dreams, and how much I have changed since we first met.

I was 20 when we had our first session. I was lonely, tired, withdrawn and so very sad inside. I had no clue who I was, and I felt very lost. I was extremely defensive, and I talked way too much as a way of protecting myself.

It hasn't been an easy road, and I believe if it was, then more people would choose it. It takes energy, time and money, and you have to be prepared to face the pain. For me, the first couple of years of therapy were probably the toughest. I had to feel the pain that I had pushed down so deep inside me, in order to get over it. 

Someone once offered me an analogy that made sense. Imagine you have a wound on your body, and that wound has a scab on it, protecting it. The only way to get access to that wound is to peel away the layers of the scab, so for a time you are walking around like an open wound.

During this time, I was having regular panic attacks. I actually believed that the world was ending a few times. It is crazy where your mind can take you when you have no control to stop that negative spiral of thought and emotion that so many of us get pulled into.

Therapy has been one of the hardest things I have done, but it has reaped the most rewards. While I have been with my therapist for 12 years now, it hasn't been a constant 12 years. In the beginning I went regularly, but sometimes budget would not allow sessions. So I would stop for a while. Other times I felt good enough in myself not to need weekly sessions, so would see her every fortnight. There have also been times while travelling, where the only contact we had was via email or the odd phone call when I was in a desperate need. Right now, we have a half hour Skype session most weeks. 

The point is, she has always been there when I have needed her. She has helped me be the  absolute best version of myself. She picks me up when I'm feeling down, gives me unconditional love, and praises me when I am doing well.

Although they are very rare now, I still have my moments! After such a positive Skype session on Monday, I had a major meltdown on Tuesday. Someone said something to me that "pushed my buttons". Let's just say it bought up the old fear and pain of being "not good enough". I cried and cried for about 3 hours. Then I realised what was happening. Of course that person had not meant that at all, but because I was wired that way for the best part of 30 years, I can still go back to that place. The difference now is, that I can recognise what is happening, and stop that negative spiral of thoughts and emotions.

I would not be who I am today without her. In fact, I don't even like to think about the person I might be if I hadn't taken this path. I am proud of who I have become, but I will always keep pushing myself to be better and learn more.

This has been a massive year so far. I have just quit my day job and am now working for myself, following my passion and helping people get healthier, and the freedom this has bought me has me extremely excited for the future (I think I might just have to live in Spain part time!) I am also putting in the work to achieve a life long goal of entering a body sculpting competition. I live in such a beautiful place and I am surrounded by such beautiful people in my life. I feel blessed, but I also know I have worked hard to get here (and believe me, the comp prep is very, very hard - I could SO go a big wine and chocolate right now!)

I would also like to thank my long suffering husband Dan. He has been my rock through this, and I would not be where I am without his unconditional love and support. Thank you babe!

Are you living your dream?

© Copyright Anna McConnell 2015. All rights reserved.