BREAK FREE FROM YOUR CHAINS
“It’s never too late to become what you might have been”, wrote George Eliot. Counsellor Amanda Jayne shows how to make it happen.
With counsellor Amanda Jayne
Irecently came across a photograph of a horse standing, head down, looking thoroughly fed up. He was tethered by a thin rope to a plastic chair. The chair was a lightweight plastic chair and it was not attached to anything at all. However, the horse thought he could not move. He thought he was stuck and so he did not even try to walk away. The saying underneath was “Sometimes the chains that prevent us from being free are more mental than physical”.
That same week, the picture kept coming back to me as clients described how stuck they felt in their lives. Some were “stuck” in the same job. One felt that he could not find another job because he had been there since he had left school. One was “stuck” in her job because she had been off sick with stress and anxiety and she feared her sickness record would prevent her even getting an interview. One was stuck because he felt he was not clever enough to do anything other than menial labour work (this was partly the responsibility of an inept teacher who told him he shouldn’t expect to do any more than manual labour as he didn’t have the brains).
Others have felt stuck in relationships (because of children/ money/family), and many have felt they are stuck in their loneliness, unable to change anything due to being shy or isolated.
The thing is, we all feel stuck at times. We tend to think the same old thoughts or believe the same things about us which we have been told by others. We get used to the same ideas, expectations and dreams and we rarely challenge them.
What we all need to do is to stop to think again. Whatever you are doing now is due to an idea or dream you had at some point. At that point in your life, perhaps the job/relationship/dream/idea and things you liked and didn’t like suited your circumstances and your personality and expectations at that time. But does it suit you now? Or have you and your life changed?
The client who thought he couldn’t do anything else had a whole host of transferrable skills. The only thing stopping him was his lack of confidence, and the realisation that he had all these skills propelled him into another, more fulfilling role.
The client who was worried about her sickness record made a longer term plan, began to build her CV and research other roles while she returned to work. She finally started her own business and the sickness record did not matter!
The third client discovered that the teacher was wrong and he was, in fact, an articulate, intelligent and highly employable manager!
Lots of clients in “stuck” relationships have moved on through the pain of separation to find happier relationships and have never looked back.
Had that horse tried to walk away, instead of accepting that he had no choice, he would have discovered that he was free to go.
Sometimes we just need to re-evaluate our circumstances and challenge old judgements about ourselves and our abilities, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Then we can update them and know where we need to be heading, even if it is scary. We need to adjust to how we are now so that we can keep moving forward.