Beginnings and endings

beginnings and endings
Image courtesy of Tongrajantaduang at

September in the UK traditionally marks beginnings and endings.  The start of a new school year, the end of the summer.  The end of the growing season and the start of harvesting and storing food for the winter ahead.  Unfortunately not the start of a new series of Doctor Who this year, but we can’t have everything.

While beginnings and endings like these are part of a historical and shared experience, we also go through beginnings and endings which are more personal.  While it may be easy to share joyful beginnings and endings with our social groups – marriages, graduations, moving home – it can be much harder to reach out when times are tough.  A ending such as the death of a loved one, or a beginning associated with starting over after leaving a bad relationship, are times in which we most need support but can find ourselves most unable to access it.

Often the biggest hurdles to getting support are both finding a support network and being able to actually ask for help from the people in it.  What might hold you back from seeking support?  Do you fear what people will think about you if you ask for help?  Have you had bad experiences in the past of needing help?  Do you believe you can, must and should do things alone?  Are you scared by vulnerability?

Part of the process of going through a beginning or an ending is the change associated in our identity.  For example, when you have left school you are no longer a student (and some might be very glad of that!) and you might then be an employee (or similar) instead.  Some changes to our identity can be much harder to get used to and process – for example, the ending of a marriage and transition from being a spouse to being single.  These changes in identity can be very difficult indeed if the change was sudden, unexpected or unwanted – for example, a bereavement.

How many different ways might you describe your identity?  Mother?  Brother?  Friend?  Employee?  Retiree?  Sportsperson?  Artist?  Volunteer?  How might these identities begin and end, and how will you manage the transition and new identities?  What changes are welcome, and which are not?  How will you acknowledge and enjoy the good while managing the bad?

What beginnings and endings are happening for you right now?

The Stand for Self-Love

“The Stand for Self-Love” an excellent TEDx talk by Amy Pence-Brown.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 14.45.08Amy discusses her performance-art piece intended to look at self-love, vulnerability, self-acceptance, body positivity and self esteem.

One thing she said which really struck me was “that’s the thing about vulnerability – right when you open up and you start to live with your full hearts… there’s no going back“.  I think that is very true – once we find a way to live fully and reach self-actualisation, we don’t want it any other way.

She describes how we are encouraged to doubt and bully ourselves and offers another way with words of encouragement.  She asks, “what do you stand for?“, which can be a difficult question to answer.  However, you may find that facing the question head-on can lead to rewarding (and maybe surprising) answers from places within yourself that maybe you hadn’t listened to much before.

Do you tell yourself bad things about yourself or knock yourself down?  Do you insult yourself?  If so – would you talk to your best friend that way?  Would you accept it from your best friend?

It’s easy to think, “but everybody does it”.  While it may be true that it is a common thing, it does not have to be that way.

Give it a try.  Listen to your inner voice, the one that needs encouragement and nourishment. Try to stop insulting yourself for a day, a week, a month.

How do you feel?