Three lots of self realisation (and Liz Truss) in one newspaper
– Manifesting by Roxie Nafousi, James Smith Not a Life Coach/Not a Diet Book – neatly crossed through as No Myths/No Fads/No Nonsense, Giles Coren writing that should he divorce, he would take nothing, too much stuff anyway, especially after Christmas … so this is the reinvention of New Year’s resolutions with social media packaging to help the medicine go down. Glory. Am I glad I’m past all this. Am I a victim of Santafest ? Not me. Did I take every opportunity offered to me ? No – but I took most of them. Did I believe in myself ? Sure, but it took time. Oh how I distrust “one size fits all”.
It’s like Jean’s one piece undergarment with crotch poppers in dinnerladies. I remember trying one on and laughing so hard in the old Dickins and Jones, I caused a disturbance. I was still laughing when I left.
Sounds great – but only if it fits and, call me Quasimodo, it didn’t fit me. More like a spatchcocked frog. One size does not fit all.
Somewhere in the dim and distant past, I learned two thirds of a Chinese proverb ie “many paths to the top of the mountain”, the concluding third says “but the view is always the same.” Never got that far, always a work in progress, “many paths” has guided my life.
People do things differently – different things at different times, for different reasons and in different ways. Sometimes the result is as expected, other times it is very unexpected but I don’t want to model myself on somebody else. I doubt if you do. I want to be me. Finding out who I was took years and long after you get your feet on the right road, you still falter occasionally or have an odd moment of bewilderment when you just don’t know.
Part of the reason for the title is because I was once called a potentiator, encouraging people to realise themselves. There were common principles and ideas but everybody was different.
It will be a truly sad day when they are not. Sometimes you can’t grow a person. There’s some sort of block, like a tree across the road. You don’t spend enough time together, you don’t know them well enough. There is aIways a story and, for whatever reason, you don’t get to hear it – so I settle for doing the best I can with what I’ve got – the bit I know.
The husband of a pretty fair-haired woman up the road has just died. Not only does she feel understandably awful, she can’t verbalise it. We met twice and she told me how bad she felt but she couldn’t be more specific and I didn’t see that Q&A on a street corner was necessarily kind or useful. But last week we met and she said glumly “They want me to go to counselling.”
This is not the time for me to launch into what, where, who, how, counselling versus psychotherapy so I said “Well, at least that’s about you.” She looked at me. “The door shuts” I went on “ and it’s between you and the counsellor. So you can talk about anger and pain and confusion and that bloody woman across the road … It’s your time.” She said as if it had never occurred to her” I suppose it is.” “Very useful” I said . “When my father died I fell apart and private work with somebody skilled was the beginning of sense in the world.”
O f course I am over simplifying. I hope to heaven she gets somebody who knows what they are doing. But we have to start somewhere. She has to know that far from being the victim in this, she is the subject. Her turn. She can emerge from this dissatisfied and give it another go with somebody different and get further with herself. The decision is hers. She isn’t a malfunctioning neurotic. She is a woman in pain. And pain comes from a lot of places. And the resolution of pain so that you begin to see yourself comes from a lot of different places too.
If you are going to read these latest versions in the lucrative self help market and take from them what works for you, fine. You aren’t Roxie, James, Giles or Liz and you may live to be grateful for it.