I’m still seeing clients in the run up to Christmas, and the walk to my Cognitive Hypnotherapy practice in Richmond allows me time to reflect on what’s happened in my life this year, and what I’ve learned recently, from clients and friends.

I had a call the other day from a friend who is going through some challenges at the moment and they said to me that I never appeared to be anything but calm, dealing with whatever came my way. I remember being quite surprised at this but more so when they said “It’s interesting how you never need anybody”. Because it’s not true at all. I asked them why they believed that and they replied that their experience of me is that I appear to have my life completely sorted and that they never see me struggling.

I struggle with a lot of things, as we all do. I actually think of things as challenges rather than problems, but I deal with them in the same way we all do – I do my best with the resources I have available to me at the time. I explained that I have a lot of people in my life that I can turn to for guidance and support and often do.

I’m in supervision of course, as a therapist, and that provides me not only with guidance on what I do as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist but also provides me with personal support. I also have the benefit of a supportive and loving partner, and I have access to peer support which allows me to draw upon the experiences of other people. And, of course, there are my friends. What I do, I do not do alone. In fact I couldn’t do what I do without the support I have in place.

When I shared this with them they were surprised because for them my confident and calm appearance was interpreted as not needing others. It’s an assumption that perhaps they are not alone in – it can be easy to judge others by how they seem, by what we believe them to be from their appearance. All too easily we can assume that because they seem fine that they must be fine and often it’s not until we either ask, or they choose to share, that we know the truth of somebody’s situation.

Of course I don’t go around telling people I meet what my current challenges are, or how I’m struggling with this or that. Equally I’m not afraid to share those things with people when it’s appropriate or when I’m asked. For me, showing vulnerability is one of my ongoing challenges and I’m working hard to open myself up to being more vulnerable and sharing. I have been scared of the risk I’ve associated with doing so, but the reality is that I’ve gained immeasurably where I’ve done so.
And the most important lesson I’ve learned this year is that my strength is in my vulnerability.

So as this is my last blog prior to Christmas I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have provided me with support, no matter when, no matter how big or small. I am where I am with your help.