You know yourself best. You know your own needs. You know what's right and true for you. Honouring your own way is what will bring powerful changes to your heart and to your life. I know this and believe in this, with every fibre of my being.
There are times we may forget. We might need reminders. We might seek the space and environment to become more aware of this. We may benefit greatly with someone who will support us, to draw ourselves back to what we know within ourselves.
But we always have all that we need within us. True compassion and support is about empowering us to listen to ourselves first, and foremost, with everything.
As a coach, as a counsellor, as a wellness practitioner - and most importantly, as a human being - who's been through my own challenges, changes and transitions in this life, I know deeply what it felt like, to lose sight of myself. I find it quite emotional to write into this, as I remember these feelings and times so well. I've had that same need that most of us do, at times in our lives, of seeking support outside myself, in many different ways.
But something I've come to realise over the years, and even more right now, is just how necessary it is to make sure we are always listening to ourselves first. To be seeking any external support in way that will always guide us back to ourselves.
There's so much information and messages to take in and read everywhere these days. It's all around us, constantly, on the internet, and social media. People telling us to buy this and purchase this, to do things this way, or in a different way - it's so overwhelming, and honestly, quite harmful at times, with all the sales pitches and marketing we take in. Especially when it comes to health and wellness, to any trauma in our lives, to adversity or tragedy, to grief and loss, to serious health conditions and even terminal illness. To everything really.
There is such a need for us to be careful and to be very discerning.
There is is so much that encourages us to 'do this' or to be 'fixed' or 'cured' or to 'heal' or to 'recover'. Messages that may even feel like - if you do things my way then you too will be just like me - or have this success that I do, or achieve things in this way. It's no wonder we can feel disempowered, that we are not enough, or that we are broken. And honestly, it breaks my heart at times, how often I have seen and heard people tell me how hard they try, how much they strive to be just like someone else, or for their story to have the happy ending or to be inspiring in some way that they then compare themselves to another. And they are not enough.
I understand this so well, as I've been this person too. I understand the hope we hold and place for all the right reasons, in all the wrong places. I understand how disempowering this can be. And I know in my heart, just how necessary it is to be discerning and to really be honest about what support is and feels like for you, and to never lose sight of listening to yourself. To seek support that empowers you within your experience.
I think it's a beautiful thing to feel inspired by others. If inspiration empowers us with hope, that's a wonderful feeling. I think it's a beautiful thing if we feel connected by sharing stories and experiences. Yet something I find so very beautiful and inspiring, perhaps more than anything, is when I see someone in the midst of what they live with, how they are feeling empowered within themselves, how they move through something, how they live with it, to listen to themselves, to trust in themselves and their own ways of doing things, and still keep moving foward - this is what moves me and inspires me so much.
I understand all of the feelings and emotions in all of what it takes to do this. And I only hope the support I give and offer, will only always add to listening to oneself as the most empowering way forward.
There is such a difference between placing someone on a pedastool and seeing their way as our way - which can actually be quite harmful to our own healing - versus having compassionate support that leads us back to ourselves, that empowers us within our own selves, to know and trust in our own way. And I cannot tell you how deeply I feel about this. Through my own experiences, and through the industry I'm in and the work I do.
I have such a passion and belief in acknowledging others through the truth of their own lived experiences, to know that you are enough, and you are worthy, and your journey is unique and personal to you. A huge part of reclaiming our hearts and our lives, through all our experiences, is really listening to ourselves and feeling empowered to make changes and choices that feel right for us.
We can only ever make powerful changes in our hearts and our lives if it comes from a place of truth within ourselves, and this is more important than anything.
I think it's so valuable to ask ourselves questions like - Who am I following? Who am I 'liking'? Who am I looking to for support?
And most importantly - Is this support then empowering me to listen to myself and find ways to support myself, in my own way? And to really be honest with ourselves about this.
I stopped working with a therapist once. I was seeing her through a period of grief in my life. She did help me through this in many ways, but the reason I stopped seeing her, was that her therapy way was supporting through the stages of grief. And that wasn't supportive for me at that time. To me, there are no models or set theories for grief. I threw out all my psychology books and manuals when I lived through these experiences myself. It changed everything about how I saw myself and my life, and my compassion deepened for eveything around me in a way I never imagined. I wasn't going to ever understand set stages of grief. I still don't. I'm grateful many other counsellors and therapists are seeing deeper awareness of this too. I could only undertand how it felt for me and my heart and my life - and really empowering myself with knowing this, was actually a big shift for me to personally start moving forward. And I remind myself of this always with others through grief and loss. And all expressions of these feelings in all aspects of our lives.
Acknowledgement of someone's personal lived experience is everything and to feel seen and understood to listen to oneself through the whole journey and empowered throughout it all in every way, is greater than anything. There's so much I could say and write on this.
I stopped working with a coach once. She was a business coach and she wanted me to do things her way. She coached clients to run their businesses and set up systems and ways of doing things, in her way. She mentioned all her own mentors and coaches all the time, and suggested these people to her clients as the ones they too should go to for knowledge and support. And whilst this might feel okay for some, I realised through all of this, that it wasn't for me. I felt encouraged to do things in her way, to be a version of her, to even have her opinions, and I was losing sight of myself through it all. I wasn't feeling empowered to create my own business or life in an way that felt true for me. I wasn't feeling empowered to listen to myself. And actually, when I did, and I stopped working with her, new doors opened and so much has shifted from there.
I could tell many stories about the health and wellness industry that I've been part of for the last 15+ years. Where instead of feeling hopeful and inspired, clients have come to me and told me how they've felt disempowered and the cycle that's perpetuated from there, of low self worth, of low self esteem, lack of confidence, never feeling that they are enough because they haven't been able to 'recover' or to 'heal' or to succeed or achieve in their lives compared to another, as we place so much emphasis around.
I could write so much about the self development industry and as a coach in this online space, that's full of voices and messages that speak up and out. Some very loud opinions, often seen or put out there as support. And at times, they can be. Other times, not so much. And even more so now, my passion for others to know what is right for them, to listen to themselves first, and to feel empowered to be aware of themselves and their own choices and truth, has never felt greater to me.
I know what true support feels like. I've been on both the receiving end of beautiful, empowering support. And it's the way I always work with my clients and hope that this is felt. True compassionate support is not about seeing someone else's way of doing things as the right way, or feeling inspired by others stories and experiences and feeling that we too must do things in that way, or that we should or need or must try harder, or strive to be this better version of ourselves. True compassionate support is always, I feel, about listening to ourselves, and feeling empowered to always be aware of, and to come back to the truth of who we are.
Powerful changes in our hearts and lives will come through listening to the truth within ourselves. Feeling supported and encouraged to always draw ourselves back to this.
I think it's a responsibility to never take lightly, when we work with clients, as any kind of practitioner, counsellor, or as a coach. I absolutely value open and honest conversations, and I think this is so deeply needed with any client and coach relationship. I would never expect a client to always agree with me, or that I would agree with them. I value differences - how else do we learn and grow if we don't understand and be willing to understand differences of views and lives and even values, amongst us all. It's all a part of true compassionate support.
I always encourage us all to question everything. To be open and curious and as my own coach and mentor says, to be willing to see thing in a different way. But this doesn't mean that we take on someone else's way. True support means that we are always empowered with ways to support and listen to ourselves.
When I started working with my own mentor and coach, last year and now, a lot shifted and changed for me. Hayley is someone I value deeply in my life. And I believe every coach benefits from investing in coaching, and I knew the day I met her, my life would change, and it has. She sees me, she understands me, she listens deeply to what I'm saying and not saying, she listens to all the spaces and the silence and I know she does this because I feel it ... and most importantly, she challenges me. And I really value this. I don't want a coach to agree with me all the time. And I also don't need to agree with her on everything either. I appreciate the values she has with coaching, as it's a way I love supporting others myself. She is so open to others views, opinions and differences, and she wants to always know and understand more. And even when she challenges me, even if I feel tempted to close or shut down, I keep on leaning in and trusting in more, because I know that by being willing to see something in a different way, does change so much. Even just one insight. Or just one very small thing, can shift so much. Even when it feels challenging, at the heart of her support is encouragement to listen and know what's true for me, to do things in my way, to create everything and anything from a place of truth within myself. And more each day, I understand my own power and belief through limitations I've placed on myself, and all that resides in choosing my own 'Katie way', always moving forward.
A reason I love meditation so much as a non-negotiable part of my life, is that it's the only way I find to truly listen to myself. Taking 20 minutes twice a day to simply sit in silence, brings such awareness to my heart and to my life, and has profoundly changed how I manage what I live with, how I move through change, and how I support myself in every way. Listening to myself and to feel empowered to support myself from this place of awareness, brings so much lightness to my being, and presence to everything that I do ... and there's so much beautiful change, conscious choices, belief and compassion that comes from this space. It's all within.
Always listen to yourself first. You know yourself best. I really encourage you to ask yourself what true support means to you, and how you can receive this support in your heart and your life.
I am so passionate about seeing each person as a unique individual, as such an important part of wellbeing. None of us are the same. We are all so different. And a personalised and holistic approach is necessary, even more so, I believe, with so much available for us to readily take in. I see coaching as a deep honour and responsibility. To coach and support someone through making powerful changes in their hearts and lives, is such a priviledge.
The greatest thing we can ever do is to always listen to ourselves. And to always seek support that empowers us to then support ourselves, to make changes from this place within, in a way that is truly right for us.
ps. If you'd like coaching support, then I'd love to have a conversation with you and I'd welcome you to send me an email -
pps. If you've enjoyed this journal piece, then you might like to receive my newsletter which I call 'Letters of Support'. I'll be sending one out this week, and you can add yourself to the list by downloading a free ebook as a gift for you too -
Katie Jane is a Life Coach, Health Coach, Counsellor, Nutritionist, Naturopath, Holistic Psychologist, Mentor, Writer, Meditation teacher. She has been working in the wellness industry for over 15 years and brings all of these qualifications and skills, along with her own lived experiences through challenges, changes and transitions. Katie works with clients in private practice in Melbourne, as well as online and over skype to other parts of the globe. Her approach to life and wellbeing is truly holistic and unique for each individual. She supports and coaches clients to make powerful changes in their hearts and in their lives.