01. February 2016 · Comments Off on Feeling stuck in life · Categories: Confidence, life coaching, problems

As so often happens, people come to me for one issue, and it ends up being about something completely different.

A past client came to me for “feeling stuck”. He was in his early 40’s at the time, stuck in a job he hated, doing I.T support for a large company, and had left school with some exams, but dropped out of college in the first term. He didn’t know where to go in life or what to do, and he felt that he needed some direction before it was too late.

I asked him about school and college, and why he was doing I.T when he so obviously hated it. He replied about how he’s “a bit thick” and he fell into I.T because he could be trained up and there was no pressure on him in the role he’s in to get any further, he’s no good where he has to “learn” things, which was why he did badly at school and college.

But, I could see an issue. (Apart from the one he came with of course, feeling stuck!) He was clearly a very articulate and intelligent man. He has a wide range of interests, he’s an extremely talented cook, he “has a go” at wood carving and when he showed me the outdoor furniture he’d made, he was clearly very good at it! So why was this intelligent and talented man telling me he was stupid and thick?

In his second session, we did a technique where we build up a feeling, take him back through his unconscious to the first time he felt it, and put his adult brain’s thinking to the situation. So we talked about this feeling of being stupid and thick with him able to give me some examples in education and trainings of when he felt that way, and then his unconscious mind showed us when he first felt this way. And, as quite often happens, it wasn’t caused at all by what he thought it would be!

His unconscious mind said the first time he had felt stupid like that was when he was around 3. He had been in the kitchen while his mum had cooked, and, being intrigued by the pastry brush, he had started playing with it and brushing it on things. He said he started to think about how all the little individual hairs of the brush stayed in, and, being three and inquisitive, he had pulled a hair. Unfortunately, it sounds like he had pulled the key hair, because as he did, all of the hairs unravelled out of the brush, until he was just holding a wooden stick. As the last hair drifted to the mound at his feet, his mum turned round, saw what he’d done to her favourite pastry brush, gave him a clip round the ear and shouted “don’t you ever do that again!” and sent him off out of the kitchen.

So, as often happens in therapy, his face lit up with realisation, as I was sat there thinking, “but what has feeling stuck in life got to do with a pastry brush?”. So I asked him.

“Ah, it all makes sense now! I can’t believe this!” he said, as I eagerly awaited to hear how the two could possibly be connected.

What had happened, was his 3 year old brain said, “when you try and learn things (like how the hairs stay in the pastry brush), you get a whack round the head and shouted at. Tell you what, let’s avoid learning from now on, there’s no point finding things out, it only ends in pain and feeling upset.”

So, that’s what he did. For the next 38 years he avoided as best he could anything to do with formal learning, but by avoiding it, he still got upset and in pain, but by failing exams, dropping out, and thinking of himself as stupid.

He applied his (intelligent and perceptive) adult brain to the situation, and realised his mum was very busy cooking for the whole family, she had to then clear up the mess he’d made, plus, that pastry brush was a bit of a luxury and when he was young, they hadn’t had many luxuries, his mum especially so. She was probably upset he’d ruined it. As he came back along through his unconscious memories, he realised that in most situations, he’d always done “something daft” to ruin his chances, like being late to school, or being naughty so he was sent out of classes, or getting a job that meant he couldn’t go to college as regularly as he should have so he dropped out.

He was so annoyed with himself. Annoyed that for all that time, he believed he was stupid, when actually, he was just trying to learn something for himself, that actually, he was (and always has been) quite intelligent.

I love those realisation moments.

The good news is, he let himself change and didn’t want it to be too late. He’s now just about to graduate from an Open University Course, and is putting plans into place to change his career. Oh. And he got a promotion a few weeks after he finished his four therapy sessions with me, purely because he realised he could do more, and his management team noticed that.

Aren’t brains amazing? Every day I have clients and think, ‘wow, your brain is AMAZING!’. If something is holding you back, ask yourself, is that a fact about myself, or a belief? If I had asked this client in the first session, he would have said it was a fact. Either way, we can work on improving it for you.

What will you do when you have no limitations?

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