Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform

Tell the truth and everyone’s a winner…

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I’ve just had a wonderful half term holiday day trip with my nieces.

They are at the lovely ages of 10 and 8, which means that you don’t have to worry about taking bags of ‘supplies’ for them when you go out for the day.  They also like to do cool things and really explore, and that means we can generally do so much more together now that they are older.  We also have very, very funny conversations.

They make me laugh….a lot!

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What was so obvious when I took them out for the day to London, was just how different they are as people.

They have always been different since they were very little.

Jasmine, the older sibling is outgoing, gregarious, loves pink, loves make-up and also (much after my own heart), loves dare-devil activities and adventure.  The day before I saw her, she has spent the day roller-coaster-hopping at Alton Towers!  She talks about travel, singing and will try anything new whether that be food or experiences.

Her sister LiLi is so very different.

Quiet, a little shy and so caring and sensitive, she is happiest colouring in quietly or watching a film.  She likes her head rubbed and hates to wear anything really feminine, preferring her jeans, a hoody and converse trainers.  She is also a creature of habit, a little bit of geek, has the cheekiest laugh you have EVER heard and also in her words is ‘scared of everything Aunty Serena!’.

– ABSOLUTE HONESTY – 

What I loved about LiLi telling me this, was her absolute honesty about how she feels about the things that make her scared.  Don’t get me wrong, hearing that she is scared of everything doesn’t exactly fill my heart with joy.

I’ve known for a long time that she has struggled to do some things because of being wary or a little frightened, and so myself and the rest of the family lovingly and supportively have encouraged her to ‘get involved’ and try new things.  She’s getting better and I think with the same continuous encouragement and the experience of trying new things and ultimately enjoying herself, she is learning slowly to tackle these things head on.

The lesson here though is such an important one, you see I know people, adults, who cannot and do not own up to their feelings of being scared the way this little person can.

What this sometimes results in, is a ‘bending of the truth’ situation where people try and concoct all sorts of stories to get out of doing something.

I’m sure you are familiar with the situation, the friend who can’t come on that run with you because of an ‘ankle injury’, or the mate who can’t try the shellfish because they are ‘allergic’ or the friend who can’t come to your karaoke night because  they they have to help their partner with writing up their new CV?

[…or I have to add, given that I am also an academic, the student who can’t submit their work because of the death of a Grandparent…I’m not being mean! This is a researched and documented phenomenon, in fact an amusing article on the subject can be found HERE with links to scholarly articles). 

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– FEEL THE FEAR – 

In our desire to not look silly.  To not feel weak.  To not feel vulnerable.  To not feel inferior.  To not feel pain or shame or discomfort, we AVOID telling the truth.

We are FEARFUL. We are SCARED.

But here’s the thing.  The first step is in acknowledging what we are scared of, just like  LiLi and in doing so you might actually realise that there are things that you would like to have a go at, but you had already made a decision that you were scared or wouldn’t like it!

To actually say I am scared, out loud to those around you, is the first step towards change.

After all, people close to you can usually see what’s really happening. If you have friends who you are constantly ‘putting off’ doing things with, they may eventually get tired of your strange responses and may even stop asking you to join in or do things altogether?

If you have the ability and the can harness the desire to first acknowledge and tell the truth about what you are afraid of, people who care about you will certainly appreciate your honesty.  They may even have more understanding of your situation and feel sympathy or indeed empathy for what you are experiencing.

In doing this it will also allow you to look at why you don’t want to try something and maybe you can then make some headway towards changing it…if you want to that is, as clearly there are some things that you may never want to do, Karaoke being a good example!

I really encourage you to take a look at things that you feel make you scared?  Why is it that you don’t want to do them? What are you really afraid of?

When is the last time you tried it…maybe its been a long time and you could actually have another go at that thing?

Maybe change happens outside of our comfort zone!

Could you consider opening up to someone about what you are ‘scared’ of? If you did what might this change?  It may not having you bungee jumping next weekend, but it may help you feel freed up of your desire to show yourself in a particular light which can help you towards a more balanced, honest and truthful self.

Till next week!

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