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The short story

I used to believe that who I was wasn’t good enough. Life happened to me, and I felt unable and unequipped to deal with certain situations well – particularly with relationships.
My ‘outgoing personality’ was not confidence but me pretending to be confident because…I didn’t think who I was was good enough. Not loveable. Not deserving of love and more besides.

Circumstances presented opportunities which I took and those decisions changed my life.
It was challenging and I made a lot of mistakes, but I’ve never been happier – with myself, in myself, and I have a confidence that is based on acceptance of myself.

The longer story

I used to believe that somehow everybody else knew what they were doing, that they understood life in a way that I simply didn’t and that I wasn’t able to do.
I felt that I reacted to life, often making choices out of fear rather than on what my needs were. I didn’t know what my needs were frankly.

Me, Brooke Hender, sitting on steps

Now, it’s not that I wasn’t able to have a good life. I did. I was good at what I did, no matter what it was, and I took opportunities when they were presented to me (“Want to go to Australia for a year? Yes please”). However, I wasn’t creating these opportunities. They weren’t deliberate or conscious choices on my part. It’s not that I didn’t pursue things – if I needed to do something or complete something in order to progress then I would do that. But often my belief that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ undermined my efforts or meant that I didn’t make the most of the opportunities I was offered.

Often a fear – of failure and success – would mean I would be constantly guessing what others wanted from me and try and meet those needs. Inevitably at some point I would react against this and often in unhelpful ways.
This played out particularly strongly in relationships (and it was definitely not helpful for me as an actor). Over the years I not only noticed a particular pattern but that it was a case of ‘ever decreasing circles’. The common denominator was me.

In my mid-forties a friend of mine died suddenly. It had a profound impact that left me numb. I found solace in old and unhelpful patterns.
Then a friend offered me therapy. I gained insight and understanding, but still felt ‘all at sea’.

Surprisingly, to me at least, they suggested that I would make a good therapist.
That suggestion led me here, to where I am now.

Oh, and I’ve been in a relationship for over five years now…

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