“How do I take what I’m learning about myself and actually change how I’m living?”
This is the question Dr Brené Brown says she is asked most often by followers of her work.
I asked a similar question at 5.38am on 8 December 2016 as I lay in my bed crying, wondering how I was going to face the day and how to hide what I was feeling from my family. Only, the question I asked was phrased slightly differently. “How do I use what I know to get myself out of this hole?”
At that time I was arrogant enough about my knowledge to think:
A) It was enough
B) I had enough
Until 4 months earlier, I worked full time as a corporate trainer and coach. It was my job to help people figure out how to feel their best and do their best. I was good at my job and I helped a lot of people. I trusted my knowledge and my processes so much and believed so deeply in what I was doing that I was certain there was no challenge too big for me to tackle.
Yet it took just 4 months for me to end up broken, wanting to hide and feeling totally lost and out of options.
Although there were many pivotal moments leading me to the moment where I knew I had to change, the most pivotal moment came at 11am on 7 August 2016. That was the moment my husband and I opened the front door and welcomed our children into our home for the first time. We met them for the first time 6 days prior to that – also pretty pivotal!
The eldest had just turned 7 and the youngest was 17 months old and the first time we met them was at their foster carer’s home. We spent an hour with them, surrounded by social workers. The children’s social worker thought it was wise for us to be “mummy” and “daddy” right away so, half an hour after knocking the front door I was listening to cries of “Mummy! Mummy! Where are you?” as we played hide and seek. I can’t even describe the mix of emotions I felt as I crouched unseen, heart pounding. I stayed in my hiding place much longer than was advisable, mainly because I had no idea how to behave once she found me.
Our visit that first day was just 90 minutes but I felt wrung out by the end of it. We spent the following 4 days with them, gradually building up the time we spent together and then had one day apart before they moved in.
Six days to feel like a family.
Look out for Part 2 if you’re interested in reading more.