Wednesday 9 October 2019

Building a Special Relationship with Yourself

Sarah writes about her experience with education and her pursuit to build a special relationship with herself in time.
- Sarah Flotel

Nineteen years later and I’m still in my second undergraduate year. Did I fail it nineteen years in a row? No chance - the word ‘fail’ isn’t part of my vocabulary these days. I am making it my life’s work to have the most incredible relationship with myself possible and that’s why I enrolled with the Open University: not to pick up where I left off but to engage in my continuum of personal development. I have also taken a bold move at the glorious age of forty to study modules guided by my heart strings, not my logical academic reward-seeking brain (I can work with that in the postgrad!).

The last time I stopped degree study was 2002. At that time I found it impossible to access any assistance to support my emotional world. There was very little flow and I was not in a great position to take care of my own wellbeing - survival mode was running high. I spent many years hiding from life, as many people know, and meandered through my troubles; unhealthy relationships and attachments, phobias, anxiety and a deep sense of loss when it came to my self-esteem and inner connection. However, within this tumultuous world I always felt a curiosity about the healing arts: what would it mean to ‘feel better’? How could I get there? At the time it was a magical, mystical destination, now I am with the growth and healing continuum school of thought.

So the years went by and I became a parent in 2008, left a relationship that did not serve us well and experienced a huge shift in my drive for growth and change. I had to serve my son better. I walked into an arts therapy room when he was 3, knowing that I didn’t have the wisdom to parent in the way I was trying to practise. I spent two years reparenting myself and there the journey of real change began.

It is so easy to become goal oriented with therapy and wellbeing when human development is so individual and varied. I spent many years training in various therapeutic modalities whilst single parenting and singing for a living; each one of these healing modalities taking its place in mine and my client’s growth jigsaw puzzle. 

Our learning and healing styles are as different as our DNA patterns and I have found it is important not to get too hung up on a destination of ‘feeling better,’ but honour the experience of your life as it is now. Give the tough stuff space to breathe, find support in many different places. One thing I know for certain is there must be an ongoing intention to create the best possible relationship with yourself - this doesn’t mean all out unrealistic ‘positivity’, but a conscious effort to keep pulling your mind-body-soul-spirit-psyche development back in when it gets distracted by the external world.

I remember my emotional health took a downturn around the age of ten, so when building my therapeutic and healing consultancy -  - I considered the concerns of children, young people and families. I started this line of work to pass on my tried, trusted and tested toolbox of techniques to others and to share healing with a deep understanding of what it was like to have experienced great stress in my younger years. I also realise that some people aren’t ready for in-person work so I have recorded video and audio courses as an introduction to the inner core training that serves me so well.

Sharing wisdom and being able to adapt things like meditation, movement and mindful work to suit younger minds is an honour for me: sometimes simply holding space when things are tough is a real gift to yourself and others. There is always a way forward...if you ask for help.

Each and every single one of you who experiences difficulty in your life, from exam worries to self-esteem, know that you are important and you can value yourself enough to start working on it. There is so much assistance out there with many brilliant doctors, practitioners, therapists and other professionals ready and willing to guide you. Healing and growth work can be fun too, it doesn’t all have to be serious; change can be scary, fear can be an old friend but with open hearts and minds we really can do great things for ourselves.

For more information about taking care of your mental wellbeing, check out these resources at Student Minds.

Sarah Flotel is a singer and songwriter with jazzy roots who also runs a health and wellbeing consultancy: Embrace Your Potential. She is a Mum to two boys and is on a mission to share her love for personal growth and development with the world. Emotional intelligence comes first in Sarah's household! Her spare social time is spent devoted to the tennis court where she is cultivating a backhand not too dissimilar to Roger Federer's. 


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