Believe in yourself! a little story about being brave….or not!

This is a little story about a little boy (but it could be anyone) and about how we often choose to listen to other people rather than listening to ourselves.

Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived in a deep and dark wood. The wood grew so high and was so dense that the boy could only see the wood. The wood told him he would be safe and secure there and as he did not know any different he believed the wood. The wood provided for him and the boy knew only what the wood told him. He wandered through the immensity of the wood, usually to the same places but always came back to the same spot in the centre every time.

One day the boy thought ‘I wonder what it would be like if I went in a new direction?’ The wood told him he did not need to do that, there was nothing there for him and he would be safer if he did not stray from paths he already knew.

But the little boy was curious and for once decided to wander in a different direction. The wood whispered to him all the time, ‘don’t go that way, it is not safe, come back to the centre’. But the boy’s curiosity got the better of him, and as he wandered further away he got glimpses of something else. He had never seen anything like this and this made him even more curious.

The wood had now enlisted the help of its friend the wind, and the wind started to whisper to the boy ‘that way is not for you, little boys like you are safer in the centre of the dark wood’. But the boy walked on.

This strange thing started to become brighter and brighter and as it did the wood started to thin out so the boy could see a path weaving between the trees to the brightness. He carried on and saw the wood ended and the path carried on away from the wood.

By now the wood and the wind were whispering fiercely in his ears, and the trees seemed to be trying to force him off the path but the little boy carried on.

He came to the edge of the trees and looked at the brightness. He took a small tentative step out and then another and another.

He looked up into the brightness and saw a bright glowing orb, full of warmth. It seemed to be glowing down just on him and the boy felt happy.

‘Hello, my boy’ said the sun. ‘Why have you stayed in the dark in the wood for so long? Come into the light, feel the warmth, feel my love, experience all this and more’.

The boy took another small step, but because he was unused to the brightness put his hands up to shade his eyes. As he did so he could hear the wood behind him whisper to him ‘Didn’t we tell you, you are so much safer in the shade, in the safety of the dark wood; you don’t need all this brightness, it is not you’.

And because the boy had always believed the wood and it had always made sure he was fed and clothed he believed it. Still shading his eyes from the brightness, he turned away and in a few steps was back in the safety of the deep dark wood.

The sun watched on, and as the little boy disappeared back into the wood, the sun cried!

I see many clients for whom this might be their story. They have spent so long believing what everyone else has told them that this becomes who they are, or who they believe they are. They spend their lives living a life based on other peoples opinions rather than listening to that deep voice within them which tells them what they really want to do, who they really are but they never choose to listen to it.

If that life they have built based on other people’s opinions starts to crumble, for whatever reason, they find it difficult to know how to go forwards, a real existential moment for many, in simple terms ‘Who am I?’ Doubts creep in and these can lead to anxiety, stress, depression and worse, affecting every part of what they thought was their life.

This is something I often see, and counselling can help here, to uncover that real person deep down, in the story above to find out who the little boy really is, and to give him the confidence to take that step out into the sunlight and into a future he really can make for himself. Taking that first step is often the hardest one, but one which can lead to a better awareness of who we all are, and a life of fulfillment rather than a life of regret and a life based upon what everyone tells us we should be doing, ought to be doing or worst of all, this is all you are capable of!

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