At one time so strong was my belief that “I should be able to cope on my own” that it didn’t occur to me to ask for help.
Tasks which others would have asked their friends, family or neighbours to help with I would manage on my own. Even if someone could see I was struggling and offered help I would often say “Thank you, I’m fine”. My subconscious driver to cope on my own was so strong that my behaviours had become second nature.
When I started to work in the family business and during the time that I ran my own Riding Centre things began to change. Although often I did more than was necessary, I learned to ask for help and delegate, because I couldn’t physically manage on my own.
I didn’t talk to anyone about my challenges and fears, it simply didn’t occur to me!
However, it was much later in my life before I became aware of the same pattern limiting me in my emotional world. When I went through my divorce, I threw myself into my work. I didn’t talk to anyone about my challenges and fears, it simply didn’t occur to me! My family were very supportive, but I don’t think I even shared with them the extent of the trauma I encountered. My way of coping was to ‘get on with it’ and my work became the channel for my suppressed emotions.
I once said to my Mum “I have no idea how I kept my business going during those challenging times” and my Mum simply said “Darling, it was your business and the horses that kept you going!”
Even after grieving the loss of my Dad and the sale of my Riding Centre I didn’t seek any emotional support – I coped on my own, although I had opened the door as I had become interested in complementary therapies and I’d trained in Reiki, Radionics and Hypnotherapy.
In 2008 I had a session of Equine Facilitated Learning which was life changing and in 2009 I flew to Arizona to train to become an Eponaquest Instructor of EFL. The first two weeks of the programme were all about personal development. It was during this time that I became aware that “I have to cope on my own” was a False Self belief that I had adopted in childhood, and of the impact it was having, not only on a physical level but also on an emotional level. I’d bottled my emotions for years and very gently one of my tutors recommended that I seek emotional support on my return home.
Making that first call was the biggest challenge, finding the right person was next and then turning up for the first appointment was key!
I knew I couldn’t tell the family (after all I’d grown up in this family where the belief was, we could cope, and so I didn’t think that they would understand my desire to unravel my emotions). I found a psychotherapist locally and began the gradual process of releasing what I’d ‘coped on my own’ with throughout my life!
Making that first call was the biggest challenge, finding the right person was next and then turning up for the first appointment was key! I’m not going to say it was plain sailing because it wasn’t – at times it was a tough journey and occasionally I wanted to go back to how I was before!
But now, with the benefit of hindsight I can see that seeking emotional support was one of the biggest gifts of my life. Not only did it free me from so many of my limiting beliefs and behaviours (I know there will always be more!), but it enabled me to enjoy my life more and be happier in myself and my relationships. Ultimately it paved the way for the development of my own business in Equine Facilitated Learning and Emotional Wellbeing Coaching.
Now I am able to ask for help on a practical level and emotional level. In my business I’ve engaged coaches, copywriters, website designers, social media experts, the list goes on. For my emotional healing I’ve experienced cranial osteopathy, kinesiology, coaching, herbalism, reiki, massage, the Alexander Technique and more.
Seeking support on an emotional level is the greatest gift of compassion that you can give to yourself
What I now know is that there is no shame in asking for emotional support, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Seeking support on an emotional level is the greatest gift of compassion that you can give to yourself. It provides you with someone to share your story with, someone who will listen without judgement and not try to fix you. Someone to support you to move through your emotional trauma and mental blocks, so that you can see your way forward.
What I learned is that being able to cope on my own is a great gift and at times has been an asset to my success, but that it’s a choice! You can choose when it’s appropriate to manage on your own and when it’s time to seek support.