“We have enough things that tell us we are not good enough. Why do we tell ourselves?”

I never really understood why I never felt good enough, alone, fearful, anxious and unfulfilled in life. I had it all! An amazing career, husband and lived in a stunning home, but I felt empty. There was something missing.

The day I lost myself and the world around me happened in a heartbeat. I was excluded and bullied at school and suddenly I felt I did not belong or fit anywhere. I went from a happy fun-loving, passionate leader, to someone who lost all power and knowledge of everything I thought I was and could be. Self-doubt, fear and these self-conscious feelings grew louder and clearer every day. I continued to put a mask on each day, trying to find my way through my teenage years but still not feeling fulfilled or safe in my own skin. I lived in fear of not wanting to hurt anyone, so it was easier to please another and also hide my true self away.

Searching for different ways to fit in and feel my worth, I failed to see peer pressure and danger in situations. The night of my car accident was the most heart wrenching, fearful experience of my life. I have no idea, how everyone survived that ordeal, but it was the death of my soul. The 15 plus years that followed involved stress, anxiety and closing myself off to the world, so I would feel safe. Looking back, it was undiagnosed PTSD.

From that night on that incident was the icing on the cake, to trust no one. To get close to no one. As no one can keep you safe. During my University days and early teaching career to keep myself safe, or what I thought was to run and avoid what was truly hurting inside. Run from the fears that consumed my days and nights and numb them with alcohol. Run from the emotions that crippled me within an instant and exercise. That’s when the yo-yo dieting and exercise cycle began.

Restricting and exercising became a part of my daily, weekly and monthly routine. Waves of challenges, restrictions, exhaustion and self-sabotage engulfed my daily thoughts. I felt fat, not good enough, worth enough and I did not even like who I was. I was never enough. The stress of my work, more bullies and life, turned into nights of self-sabotage and days of people pleasing. It was exhausting.

The day I quit my 15-year teaching career to volunteer in Cambodia, was the day I lost my identity even further. Now my soul was completely exposed and that’s when the real me started to emerge. Underneath the stress and hurt, I was a lost soul craving for a sense of belonging, but at the same time, it is exactly what I feared. But now I had to face that fear.

By chance during that year, I discovered Reiki, NLP, Time Line Therapy and Resource Therapy. The gifts that these modalities gave me and those that helped, I will be forever grateful. Unpacking the stories of self-sabotage and self-acceptance was not easy. But the puzzle pieces towards self-acceptance was beginning to connect in a way they had never before. I removed all my past triggers, emotional baggage and hurts that I had held for years. I finally started to feel free.

Each and every day I learn to leave that mask off, be present because it’s ok and safe to show your true authentic vulnerable and passionate self. I no longer have to hide my true self from this world. I’ve learnt people were showing up in my world to be who they need to be, so I could see what I needed to see. They were my mirror to show me what I needed to clear from the past.

Today I still continue to use these therapies, particularly if self-doubt reappears. But I do know I am enough and I do belong. It does not matter what others think, I just need to please myself and fill myself up. That empty little part of me that tried to be filled with everything outside herself is now happy because all along she had everything inside her. She just needed to find it and know: It’s ok! You’re safe now! You’re loved! You have survived it all.