‘You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously’ – Sophia Bush
It has been a few weeks since I shared the most difficult thing I had ever written – my story. If you haven’t read it already, you can find it here https://theswandoctor.com/its-time-for-two-to-become-one. I had spent many weeks and months building up to the real reason why I created ‘The Swan Doctor’ and telling people who she really was. I had kept wondering why I wanted to do this and why I felt the need to share so openly such personal events and feelings, but the drive deep within me persisted and I eventually got the courage to write and share. The final writing stage only took a few hours, if that, but years of life experiences went into every word. I’ll not say sharing was easy, but the result of doing so has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced.
I subsequently received so many messages of support, but more importantly to me, I seemed to have created the opportunity for people to open up and say “this was/is me too.” What I was talking about in my story didn’t relate to the #metoo campaign surrounding sexual harassment, but it did create a sense of ‘belonging’ to the people who responded and said this happened to ‘me too.’ Certain parts of my story were relatable for some people whether this was to do with a difficult relationship, divorce, debt, or being a single parent. For others, the whole concept of portraying a successful and happy life to the outside world whilst battling many life problems and challenges, no matter what they actually were, resonated. There was however a general theme that nobody fully understands, or even knows, what is really happening in our lives, both externally and internally inside our mind and thoughts, and behind our eyes. The eyes truly are the windows to our soul.
‘You can close your eyes to the things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to the things you don’t want to feel’ – Johnny Depp
I then felt that somehow I had created my own little movement where it was OK to open up and say “this happened to me” and I’m exhausted making the world around me believe that I’m doing well and ‘have it all going on.’ I’ve now become someone people can be open with and tell that all isn’t as well as it seems; that alone has made me much more aware of my purpose behind ‘The Swan Doctor.’ It has been reassuring and fulfilling every time someone has said my story has helped them. I’m even more acutely aware of the juggling act we are all performing dealing with everything life throws at us whilst running a business, being a good parent, holding down a high pressure job, caring for older relatives, ensuring the bills are paid on time (the list goes on and on) with, in my case, ensuring the clothes match, the nail polish isn’t chipped and the hair has the correct colour of roots!!
Why on earth do I personally put so much pressure on myself and why am I so concerned with all this and all at one time? The answer is ‘that’s just who I am’ and I can easily demonstrate this simple response. During the week I was exploring the world of personality testing. As my daughter would say “Don’t judge me” – I’m just super interested in all this kind of thing. I completed the Enneagram Test. This is a personality system which divides the entire human personality into nine behavioural tendencies. After answering many questions, the results yielded my main type was Type 3 ‘The Achiever’ where I am described as feeling that ‘I must be impressive and attractive to survive.’ I also scored highly for two other types; ‘The Helper’ (The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive) and ‘The Investigator’ (The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated). Yes! There it was in black and white and I couldn’t deny the findings which I excitedly and openly shared with my husband ‘Big Al.’ This was met with his own personal observation about my ‘geekiness’ (also true, lol).
‘Be Yourself; everyone else is already taken’ – Oscar Wilde
What I have learned and it is true for everyone, regardless of our ‘type’ or commitments, it is essential that we invest in, and take the time, to respond to both our physical and mental welfare. I have personally done this through having a coach and studying personal development strategies which can result in success in all areas of life provided you take both ownership and relevant action. It has been, and will always be, a work in progress and that’s perfectly OK. Self awareness around who I actually am, understanding what makes me ‘tick’, and taking responsibility for my inner thoughts, actions and outer experiences are now key to my coping abilities.
To be truthful with you, I have spent recent weeks feeling a little overwhelmed after sharing my story. I’ve enjoyed replying to all the lovely messages and arranging follow-up chats over coffee, but a little bit of me has wanted to hide away again.
I have felt somewhat unsure about meeting new people and existing friends, and then going through the thoughts of “I know you know now, and you know that I know you know!” How completely ludicrous, but it has made me shy away and retreat resulting in me not writing so much and not blogging on a weekly basis as I had promised to myself, and to you, I would do. For that, I apologise, but I think the emotional overwhelm together with an incredibly busy work and family life recently resulted in me losing ‘my voice.’
The upshot of all this is that I am peeling away the layers of who I really am and going through another period of self-discovery, hence more exploration of personality tests and intense reading of more personal development books. I have spoken before about my life purpose and the exercises I have previously done to try to discover what that actually is. I’ve worked hard trying to understand why I went through the experiences I did. How often do we say “I must have been a very bad person in my past life to be put through so much in this one?” It is certainly something I have said on a regular basis in the past. However, I have slowly but surely discovered the positives and realised that going through these things has proffered me an inner strength, a knowledge and an awareness of other people and their needs that I didn’t otherwise have. I am now in possession of my own #metoo movement and I plan on building upon this and continuing to reach out to those that need me to.
I’m an only child born 17 years into the happy marriage of two adoring and extremely supportive parents. I have always been so completely loved and blessed throughout my life and I presently feel even more blessed and grateful that through ‘my story’ I now also have the ability, strength and resources to not only aim to cope with my own life challenges, but to also help others achieve some peace within themselves and strive to overcome their own obstacles and reach their life goals.
Sharing my story with you has been scary, rewarding, satisfying, and has lightened the load within my own mind. More importantly, it has helped me find ‘my why’ and continue to develop the ethos and purpose of ‘The Swan Doctor’ helping you to #beyourself #beyourbest #beaswan.
The Swan Doctor