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Challenge Accepted!

This blog post was written by Lynn Esslemont.  Lynn is a trainee in the Advanced Year 1 group and her article is the winner in our 2015 Student Blog Competition.  

Challenge Accepted!

These were the words that ran through my mind when I read the request for blog submissions.  I’m not a terribly competitive person so the lure of a prize was not as compelling as the kudos of having my writing ‘published’ and read by others.  The idea of starting a personal blog is something I have toyed with for a while but to date has never progressed from an idea.  I saw this as an opportunity to test the waters.  I guess my lack of progress with this interest has a lot to do with my fear of being judged and ultimately rejected.  There is an important piece here for me where my fears are familiar and comfortable and hiding behind them prevents me from being open to the unfamiliar and uncomfortable idea of being heard and valued.  Is this really the scariest part of the journey? To be appreciated exactly as I am.  To know that I am enough, that I have the potential to be whatever and whoever I desire.  If I have learnt anything over the last few years it is that everything can be a learning opportunity.  An invitation to step out of my comfort zone and try something different.  An opportunity to learn more about myself, my process and my reactions to people, places and things.  So with pen in hand (call me old fashioned) and an open heart I set about creating something to share a piece of my journey and my love and appreciation of TA.  Letting go of the need to be witty, intelligent and entertaining and harnessing the idea of being me; open, honest, real.

I was unaware of TA until I hit an emotional rock bottom and a good friend suggested I go see her counsellor.  I knew I couldn’t carry on as was, and needed something else to support me.  Off I went, little knowing the transformational impact this decision would have on the rest of my life.  I bonded very quickly with my counsellor and she was very transparent about her use of TA theory and models from the start.  I quickly grasped the ideas of ego states and script and was able to apply them to myself, my past experiences and my current situation.  For me, the simplicity of the language used and the idea of taking personal responsibility for the past and present were big hooks.  I found the idea of script very liberating.  It helped me to exchange existing feelings of blame and regret for an awareness that we are all doing the best we can with what we have.  I had real AHA! lightbulb moments while understanding ego states.  Becoming conscious of the dynamic shifts between Controlling Parent and Adapted Child explained a lot about my inner chatter and how I consistently reacted to the world around me based on archaic feelings of fear and shame, built on the core belief that I am not good enough.

Throughout my 3 ½ years of counselling I was continually ‘invited to…’  At some of these invitations I baulked.  I grew up in a home where it wasn’t ok to have feelings and needs so it will come as no surprise that I developed a significant Be Strong driver.  It felt too risky to be honest, to say how I really felt; to ask for what I needed.  But the power of permission in the therapeutic relationship enabled me to feel the fear and do it anyway.  So with my ‘Challenge Accepted’ head on, I said my prayers and set off to do something different.  Sometimes I enthusiastically jumped in with both feet, and at other times I cautiously dipped a toe in the water.  Whatever my approach and whatever the outcome, I learned and I grew.  Somewhere along the way I realised I needed to know more about TA and how I could share it with the world, and so my journey with Physis and the wider TA community began.

16 months after completing my TA101 I found myself at the STAA Unconference as an Advanced Year 1 trainee.  Despite not knowing anyone in the room when I arrived, I had a real sense of being ‘part of’.  The hugs, smiles and connection of the others around me, and the warmth, honesty and willingness expressed by everyone throughout the day made me feel like I was ‘home’.  As I continue on my journey I have an emerging sense of being enough which is helping me to build new foundations that support me in holding my OK-ness throughout the highs and lows of life.  Allowing you to read this now is the next step in my willingness to connect with others and let them see and know me.  Not the me that hides behind fear, shame and doubt.  But the me who is open to being vulnerable and letting her light shine.  I suspect my next challenge is in my ability to hold the OK-ness of others.  No better, no worse, no more, no less.  To continue to break down my walls and build bridges to let others in.  To be willing to let others be ok with my vulnerability and for me to see others for who they are, unclouded by my insecurities, judgement, and prejudice.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

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