The battle to be you

Carl Rogers said of his book On Becoming a Person, that it was about “…a client in my office who sits there by the corner of the desk, struggling to be himself, yet deathly afraid of being himself…” This struck home with me on so many levels.

I can see that this struggle must go on with clients in many therapeutic and also coaching relationships. I often have a sense that a client is trying to find something more about themselves in whatever issue they initially come to coaching for. There needs to be that growing trust between coach and client so that the client feels safe enough to explore their experiences without fear of ridicule, shame, disgust or dismissal. There is often a tension between wanting desperately to be and the fear of doing so.

It made me think of my own journey thus far through counselling, coaching and self reflection where I have sat on that precipice. I have yearned to be more ‘me’ and yet also afraid to do so. For a while, some of that was because I wasn’t sure who ‘me’ was. I had lost myself and had to choose and do the work of re-discovering myself. That is not finished and will be a lifelong journey of discovery.

I was afraid of what other people would think. I was worried that no one would like the real me. I think that is a common predicament and again, one that I have worked on a lot.

I was afraid that if I really embraced being me, then aspects of my life that fitted the ‘false’ me would no longer fit. For example, I like working on my own, in my own space. Working in an open plan office everyday was therefore not ideal. But I had to be ready to face up to that. There were bigger questions for my relationships and lifestyle.

I began to realise that some of the goals I had set for myself in the past were for this ‘false’ me, things that I wanted to achieve to prove that I could achieve them. To prove to who and for what purpose? I know now that the real me has different, much more fun and exciting goals to pursue.

I understand what it is like to be poised between being and the fear of being. I know you have to figure out the way forward for yourself and do so in your own time. I feel privileged to be alongside some peoples journeys and am excited to see where peoples journeys lead them when they choose to move towards being and don’t give fear a pedestal that it doesn’t deserve.

Thanks for reading. If you have any challenges with being the real you that you would like some support with, let’s have a chat about how I can help. I offer a free, no obligation, introductory session where you can experience my coaching firsthand.

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