Becoming your best self

Over the years, as a therapist I’ve heard many clients say, “That’s the way I’m hardwired” or “You can’t change a leopards spots” or “This is just how I am”, and throughout those years I’ve seen many people move from being stuck to being something closer to their authentic self. That movement has made them less anxious, less stressed, less depressed and very often more purposeful and fulfilled.  

“For an awfully long time, I suffered with overthinking, irritability and stress. ”

After living a life that was alien to me and which I didn’t resonate with, I did change. I became a more unbroken person who gradually absorbed some emotional intelligence and was able to enhance my life in my own inimitable way. Self-awareness is often sadly lacking in many people and this was definitely the case with me. I didn’t really know who I was. Change brought about balance which not only helped bring about an internal easing, but it also opened up new avenues.

This realisation made starting to adjust possible and eventually I realised and accepted that I definitely needed to amend my deleterious modus operandi. This prospect of change was difficult and frightening. The ‘Old Me’ was insular and fragile and yet contradictorily safe behind a protective shield. Moving out of that safety zone was pretty scary, but staying there was dreadful. I found it hard to open up. My lack of trust, a cynicism and the fixed ‘Old Me’ blocked my expression and this meant that I struggled to communicate how I felt. Eventually I engaged with my intuitive self. Finally, I relented and started to talk to someone and this was a tremendous relief.

Pete Sanders (2006) sums up my process perfectly:    

“Although we feel most at risk when we contemplate baring our soul to others, it is, paradoxically from the genuine response of others that we stand to learn something about ourselves. By talking about ourselves as honestly as we can in a safe environment and listening to the feedback from others, we can check whether the view we have of ourselves is the one received by others. In addition, we may discover some of the hidden motives that may have been influencing our attitudes and behaviour all along. This new self-awareness may make it possible for us to change, if we choose. This prospect of change may also bring new challenges.”

The ‘New Me’ is very different and yet paradoxically similar to the ‘Old Me’. I have moved away from those less than lovely characteristics that made me self-conscious, unpleasant or stressed and irritable, but I’ve kept the bits I liked about myself. People can, and do, change, but it takes some serious self exploration. Even after these discoveries, and cognisant and acceptant of what needs to alter, it’s often the hardest part of the process to change one’s way of being, but it’s worth it.

Shane Lutkin is lead Therapist at psychotherapy organisation, Emotionalskills. If you’re struggling with emotional issues, call 07986 488690 or email


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