An essay on personal development was the one essay I was looking forward to doing this year as I have plenty to say.
Unfortunately once I read the criteria this is not for general personal development but for personal development resulting from interaction when using counselling skills. This is somewhat limiting, to say the least. I am frustrated by the essay so I thought I’d write the one I want to write.
I have changed a lot over the last year.
I am finding my inner calm. Daily meditation most days has resulted in my stressing less and not getting quite as wound up as I used to. I cannot recommend enough the Calm app which has been perfect for me.
To some extent as a consequence of this my alcohol consumption has diminished, both in frequency and in quantity, which in itself is no bad thing. I’m more aware of my body reacting to alcohol and would prefer to stay relaxed.
I have felt the need to leave the house in the evening less. I have craved less for generic adult company. This is because my children are growing up and are more companionable when we do talk and less difficult to deal with. Maybe I’m also reacting to them better.
I have put greater effort into keeping up with those few friends I really want to. I have got better at initiating contact and making arrangements.
It seems a small matter but I have succeeded in swapping my daily routine and working on me or my sons before I start working in the day. It is a specific change in priorities.
An even smaller matter, seemingly, is that I’m getting in touch with my sweet tooth. I’m starting to eat peanut butter, jam, sweeter ice cream just a little bit more often. I’ve always stayed with the tart lemony puddings or sorbets and the less sugary ice creams. I’ve been trying to pay attention when I feel like something sweet and actually have it.
I’ve been eating more fruit. My parents were never fond of fruit but always had apples and satsumas in a bowl and ate them because they are good for you. The occasional pineapple was a treat and my father would carve it up after much discussion of the best way. I have been shaking all that off and going for mangos and melons, sometimes in chunks in little plastic pots that make me feel guilty.
I go through phases of being a bit more active and going out for walks, sometimes for twenty minutes and sometimes for a couple of hours. I have tried to stop telling myself off when I don’t.
In therapy I am trying to force myself to concentrate on the important stuff but it’s not easy and I am so willing to sidetrack myself. Over the last few months I have been trying to get more in touch with the “inner child”, with the way I felt as a child. Not the narrative, not what happened, but how I felt as a result. Hence the few letters that I’ve written to me and to both parents.
What have I learned from this so far? I have well and truly buried past emotions as there was never any point in complaining hence I just squashed it all and that stayed with me with subsequent partners. At the time I was aware of some of what I was suppressing, but not all. So I find it difficult to remember how I felt without really thinking hard about it. I’ve never been one for reminiscing about my childhood. I also do not like to lose control. Since I was not allowed to get angry I learned to keep a stiff upper lip and to keep my tears for privacy. Eventually of course it was a matter of pride that I wouldn’t let my father see me cry so I ended up doing the opposite of what I wanted to. I bottled everything up. I still don’t tell them anything. Now that feels out of choice rather than necessity but it is still because I don’t want to have the arguments with them as I won’t win.
My inability to lose control, or my unwillingness, has meant that although I got drunk as a teenager, and indeed as an adult, I never got falling drown drunk and I never blacked out as a result. For the same reason I would never, could never do drugs. I did promise 1son when we discussed this that if I ever would smoke a spliff I would do it in his company first. I doubt it will ever happen. I have also felt the need to keep control for the sake of my children. When they were younger I didn’t want them to see me unhappy or angry or in a mess and I have had to learn to let them see me in such ways so they appreciate that I too am human.
Do I need to let my anger out? I need to acknowledge it and that’s another post to do. I need to hear that child who felt so ignored and so frustrated.