I’m scared in a kind of nervously excited way. The way I know most of my clients feel before they walk into my therapy room for the first time. Because it’s hard to embark on a process of change. Hard to accept there may well be discomfort to get through. But in discomfort lies growth. That’s exactly where we can grow. If we never challenge ourselves we are merely living in protection and actually, that’s not even really living but just existing. Going through the motions: familiar, comfortable motions. How does that help us to expand and grow and improve as human beings?
My clients come to me with all kinds of fears, issues and problems. We work together on sorting these out so that they can fulfil their potential and become the best versions of themselves that it’s possible to be. I don’t believe I can do this kind of work with authenticity unless I’m prepared to go at least as deep as they do on the journey of self-discovery …. and perhaps even deeper. Which is why I am constantly learning, reading, improving my skills on courses and talking to other therapists …. and most importantly, challenging my own fears and limiting beliefs
So today I’m challenging one of those fears. I’m having a swimming lesson. My first ever one-to-one lesson. I can swim, but I didn’t learn until I was 11, and then only took my feet off the bottom of the pool because I’d been bribed with a picnic in the woods afterwards if I succeeded. That was forty years ago. I’m now 51 years old and I want to do better, be better. I can only do what’s known as ‘head out breaststroke’ – the breaststroke that’s not good for your neck because you’re trying so hard not to get your face wet you have to hold your head out of the water. It doesn’t feel comfortable. But it’s all I can manage. Correction: all I’ve been able to manage up until now
Things have come to a head because I need to lose weight – I think probably about four stone. I don’t look horrendous but I feel big and I don’t like it. I’m carrying a lot of that weight around my middle and I know that’s not healthy. I know I need to exercise but I have an ongoing problem with my Achilles tendons which means that I can’t run or do any high impact exercise. So swimming would be great. But I don’t currently swim well enough to lose weight doing so. And that’s what I want to change. I want to feel ok about putting my face in the water. I want to be able to execute a decent front crawl so I can plough up and down the pool getting fitter and healthier with every stroke
I have no idea how I’m going to feel in an hour’s time when I walk out onto the poolside and meet my instructor. I have butterflies in my stomach just writing that sentence. I’m not looking forward to walking out there in just a swimsuit – even though it’s a shiny, new swimsuit bought specially for these classes (I was worried my other swimsuits might not hold everything in if it got energetic!) I’ve tried to make myself feel better by getting a pedicure and a bikini wax, but I know only too well that those are just superficial things. The real changes need to happen inside my head
I am determined to try my best and do everything he tells me to the best of my ability. I can’t ask more of myself than that. None of us can. And I know it might be hard to start with. But hopefully it will get easier as I get more and more used to being in the water and doing whatever it is I need to do. I think in the past I’ve been the kind of person who wants to do everything she does really well, and the downside of that is, if I can’t do it really well right away, then I just don’t do it at all. So no growth. No improvement. No room for imperfection or failure or mistakes. Which are all a really important part of being alive and learning. I’m not going to do that any more. I am choosing not to be that person any more. If it’s an uncomfortable experience I will just go with it, be in the discomfort and feel it fully and then push through to the other side. The only way around your fears is through
The excited part of me wonders if cracking this might lead to an unlocking of all sorts of other things within me – things I’ve always thought I can’t do, or can’t do very well … and that’s an amazing thought … what might being free of this limitation mean for the rest of my life?
Tonight is just the first lesson in a series of five over the next fortnight. I’ll be posting updates so do check back in to see how I’m getting on
And if there’s something I can help you overcome, something that you think might be holding you back in your life, why not email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call on 07775 860043