• Stephanie Hammond

A wonderful breakthrough

In the past, I often wished I could see myself as others see me. I could only see myself as an image, like what is reflected in the mirror. I knew me very well from that particular angle. I would recognise me anywhere if that’s how I saw myself in reflection. But if I was to look at myself from the rear, or in unfamiliar clothing or surroundings, I doubted whether I would recognise or know myself. And that’s how it felt when I wanted to know who was I really, underneath the persona I showed to the world? Who was I? What motivated me? What sort of person was I - really? How did others see me?

It became a quest, to know myself. I thought “I can’t see around the corners of me!” I went to counselling, did courses, and asked people’s opinions. And still the quest went on.

When I was in the USA I had already been through a wide range of self development trainings and was feeling reasonably good about where I was at. I wanted more, though. I still wanted to ‘see around the corners’. And I was open to more self knowledge. I’d had a taste of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) here in New Zealand and was so impressed with how quickly one NLP session helped me understand why I did a particular thing that consciously I was not happy about doing.

So when I was introduced to Christopher Howard and his use of NLP through his Breakthrough to Success Weekend Seminar, I didn’t hesitate. Along with about 3,000 other people, I attended.

It amazed me how intimate the learning platform was that weekend. There among the crowd I felt like it was a one on one session. I threw myself into the experience of learning new tools for changing core beliefs that are holding me back. Chris Howard took us through exercises and then taught us how to use the tools for ourselves so we can put them to work by ourselves. I still use these techniques, by the way.

I came to see where my conscious and unconscious minds were out of alignment. Towards the the end of the weekend, I had my biggest breakthrough. Up to that moment, I would have described myself as a happy and optimistic person - a real Pollyanna. I was the one people came to for encouragement, to lend an ear in times of trouble, the one with a solution and advice.

But that afternoon, as my conscious and unconscious minds came into alignment, I had the greatest breakthrough of my life. I could suddenly see around the corner and came face to face with a facet of me that horrified me. I looked around at everyone near me, feeling naked in my self awareness.

Surely they could see - surely everyone who knew me could see. Yet no one had told me; no one had said anything about it. But then, I suspect people don’t have a name for what they saw, or they think kindly of me and don’t want to hurt or upset me. Or perhaps they know my past and forgive this aspect of me because they can see the root cause of it. Perhaps …

But now I was horrified at the depth and breadth of this cloak of self pity I’d been wearing around. I’d been feeling sorry for myself - there it was in my language I used to describe my core beliefs that were not serving me anymore and which I wanted to change. I heard myself the way others heard me.

And where am I now, over 12 years later? Still in the depths of self pity? Happily, no. I’ve spent a good part of the past decade or so polishing this facet that horrified me then, fine tuning my sensitivities to the reality of what is going on in my life. I have choices and it’s how I view and act on these choices that determine whether I feel pity or gratitude for the experiences and outcomes in my life. I choose gratitude.

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