I was in the middle of a horrible postpartum depression , 4 years into therapy, but nothing seemed to work. My life was spinning upside down so fast, that I was on the edge of drowning. And maybe not only metaphorically, but also literally. With a sick one year old wrapped around my neck 24/7, with 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep per night for the last year, being alone with my husband and my son in a foreign country, Christmas time in the emergency room and New Year again the emergency room, I felt that I could barely breathe.
In fact , I was not sure I wanted to breathe again. One night while rocking my sick child for the hundredth time, I started to wish to not be alive anymore because I could not bare any single day. And with that thought I realised the depth of my depression. A few days later a household accident in which I thought that my son will die in a matter of seconds, changed my perspective forever.
While I was in the hospital with him, grateful for the fact that it was only a really big scare and he will be fine, I came to realise that if I wanted my son to be happy, I need to be happy.
So when we checked out of the hospital, I started a Positive Psychology specialisation and hired a coach.
I need to point out that the years of therapy helped me in ways in which I couldn’t even began to realise, starting with the fact that I had a great sense of awareness, I was in touch with my childhood wounds and my triggers. But what happened next, took my transformation to the next level.
- Coaching showed me the importance of gratitude
The first lesson that coaching brought me was the importance of gratitude. I was already practicing it from a positive psychology point of view, but I was not really feeling it. When I was in the hospital with my son, gratitude was the thing that put everything into motion. When I saw my son safe, I realised how grateful I am for him, for everything that I have in my life. From the coziness of our house, to the immense support of my husband, to the fact that even though we had a rough year, our son is healthy and nothing else really mattered anymore.
So while I was practicing gratitude every single day, my coach said something to me in one session that really clicked: gratitude doesn’t mean you have to feel an immense joy in every second of the day, but rather to see little small things, to acknowledge them, because we tend to miss these so much. And on the other hand, we care SO MUCH about every little negative thing.
So the lesson was that with gratitude, you start to see the balance in your life. There are unpleasant things, and there are small and big good things. It’s a process, but someday you will catch yourself appreciating more of your partner’s laugh, more of your children’s smiles, more of the calm and peaceful moments after the kids are asleep, a good meal or a nice walk.
- Coaching gave me perspective
Therapy helped me understand my wounds and heal my inner child, but combined with coaching the results were amazing. I was understanding, FINALLY, how I could integrate my past into my future. How my wounds can be my stepping stones and how my “fails” are actually my biggest turning points.
After the first 2 sessions with my coach, I understood that I wanted to become a coach also, to bring people what my coach brought to me. The essential thing was the connection with her, we shared some parts of our stories and I felt safe, I felt understood, and not only from a psychological point of view, but also from a woman’s point of view, who has been there.
She was further than me in her own journey, but understanding how her wounds helped her, I began to see that even though things are sometimes hard to bare, they are maybe blessings in disguise.
You might not see the wisdom behind watching your child almost lose his life in that exact moment, but looking back, you start to understand how much we ruminate over things that are not at all important.
My coach helped me understand the power of NOW. How NOW is always the right moment to take action, to grow, to expand, to become whoever you want to be.
- Coaching taught me to question my limiting beliefs
How big is this? Huge! Coaching taught me that we are driven by our own beliefs, so why not make those beliefs empowering ones rather than disempowering ones?
Beliefs can bring us down or they can uplift us. While I was coached, I realised that I lived in my own head, I was living by rules that others implied to me: how I should raise my child (in spite of my own instincts), how motherhood should look like, how I should feel, how I should work, and so on. And this beliefs created a huge conflict between what I SHOULD do and how I felt I need to do things. As soon as I understood how I was limiting myself, the pressure went off and I started to relax more, to be more in touch with myself, my desires and my OWN way of doing things.
- Coaching taught me to let go of control
While all my life I was proud of how much of a “control freak” I am, how much I hold onto my love for order, with coaching I realised how vulnerable I really was, and how I was trying to protect myself from being hurt again and again.
We are taught (limiting beliefs, much?!) that being vulnerable means that we are weak, and in no circumstances we should allow people to see our weaknesses, because they will take advantage of us.
Yes, hurt is inevitable. Yes, sometimes life hits you hard. But if we live in a constant defence, we are missing so many things! We miss the thrill and the excitement of the unknown, we miss the pure joy of being alive.
No matter how much we run, we cannot hide from pain and hard moments. And even if we run, they WILL get us, and boy, they will hit hard. Because if we don’t allow ourselves TO FEEL, either is a positive or a negative emotion, we get stuck. We become numb, and yes, it’s a painless place, but it’s also an unhappy place.
So, if you know me, you know how much I praise letting go of control. Because there is no such thing as control, it’s just an illusion. We cannot control an outcome, we can only influence it. And the faster we understand this, the faster the pressure goes away, and the faster the ease comes.
- Coaching showed me how we create as we speak
The first thing that my coach told me to do was to write down my goals, my fears, dreams, my wildest dreams.
Even though the beginning was a little slower, as soon as I started to write, clarity was unleashed. The more I wrote, I more I realised I did not know about myself, about my dreams and fears. Actually, I realised that I was afraid to dream. I realised how chained I was on my own fears of being hurt.
I’ve hurt people in the past, I was hurt by people in the past, and that hurt was carried with me throughout the years.
I started to understand that I needed I needed to forgive the people that hurt me, because, you know, we all have our own traumas, wounds, triggers, and IT’S NOT PERSONAL. Them hurting me was not about me, was about themselves, and that’s that.
But the hardest thing to do, was the fact that I needed to forgive myself for hurting other people. I had to live with myself and to understand that me hurting them was about me.
Oh yes, coaching brought me that. Coaching combined with therapy works wonders, believe me.
- Coaching showed me that self confidence is a skill, not a personality trait
In every moment in my life I was doubting myself. Self doubt was my companion, self doubt was what I known, what I was. Some people thought I was such a badass, but I was so small, so hurt, in so much need for love, especially self love.
I have had toxic relationships all my life: friendships, but especially romantic relationships. My need for love and the feeling of being enough was IMMENSE, so I was basically clinging onto anyone who looked in my direction.
My coach is an extraordinary woman whom with patience, show me the way in which I could discover self love. Day by day, step by step she was there when I needed guidance.
Building self love and self confidence doesn’t happen in one day. It starts with seeing yourself doing a lot of things, it starts with giving yourself kindness when you feel like you don’t deserve it.
It starts with turning the kindness you give to other people, to yourself. And for someone who was kicking herself down as a redemption act and for a living, that was my hardest lesson.
But something magic happened after I started to walk into self love. Self confidence started to appear. Because I understood my value even in my darkest moments. Even when I felt like I didn’t deserve anything, I KNEW that the person who does good things is also in there, even though this time she might have screwed up. And the great thing is the fact that NO ONE can come to me and say who I am or who I’m not, because hell, only I know what I’ve been through. How I felt, how I feel, how far I have come.
And knowing who you are, with the good and the bad, allows you to set healthy boundaries. And that is such a big deal. You learn to say “no” when you feel like , you learn that YOU NEED time off in order to be a great mom, a great partner, a great child for your parents, a good friend for your friends. It’s not a “good to have” thing, it’s a “must have” thing.
Coaching is not a job, coaching is not an area of expertise. Coaching is a lifestyle. The coach approach can be applied in ANY area of your life, but you can only coach your players (clients) if you are a good player also. If you practice what you preach, if you are challenging yourself constantly to get out of your comfort zone. And that usually means to look where you don’t feel like to, inside.