‘You’re too much.’
‘You’re trying too hard.’
When I was 14, the girls I’d been hanging around with dropped me from their group. I was in a new school, in a new city. And a piece of my soul died.
Until that point, I’d been the kid people would describe as ‘spirited.’ My mum had promised me a pound if I could keep quiet for one whole minute so many times….I never managed it. I was boisterous and loved the centre of attention. I loved acting and singing, and applied for Sylvia Young’s Theatre School. I got banned from my childminder’s house because I was too hyperactive. I remember my playfulness and my love of taking up space – no time for shyness. But with those few sentences, uttered in the hallway of my school’s building, that all changed.
Fast forward 23 years to the me you’ve come to know.
If we’ve met in a private setting, I was maybe a little reserved, maybe a little aloof on first impressions. And if we met through my yoga classes then you’ll know me as being someone smily, warm and friendly but not exactly an extrovert. As for that loud girl who jumped around all over the place, who was the life and soul of the party…she comes out very, very rarely. I found it hard to make close female friends, having to first let them somehow prove themselves to me before I’d open up. The extrovert in me became introverted as I let myself become the person who hangs back, who waits to be spoken to before saying anything. Feelings of isolation were very real, and thereve been times when I’ve seen friends of mine doing things without me and felt distinctly left out. I was scared of, and yearned for, close female friendship, and all because of that day in 1997, somewhere between the geography and latin rooms at King Egbert’s school. Of course, I found new friends with the offbeat indie kids and a little while later, those girls who threw me out came back around and we became friends again. One of them even became my BFF until school ended. This is maybe the nature of teenage life, and it was a remark that they probably can’t even remember saying. But it’s an experience that has shaped my entire adult life and has taken a lot of (ongoing) work with deep self-love, self-enquiry and self-empowerment to move on from.
The thing is, that the words we say carry an immense amount of power – to ourselves and the people around us.
If you’re constantly told as a child you can be anything, your life is probably going to look a lot different than if you’ were told you’re worthless. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me is a well known saying but for most of us, it’s simply not true. Arguments with lovers and friends, lies, betrayals – they’re all things that can kill off a tiny piece of the Self. They can make us play small, taking up less space and ultimately end up in us not living up to our full potential.
What’s important to remember is that YOU have the power to rewrite that story, to put those words where they truly belong and claim that power back for yourself. The process of self-enquiry, of asking ‘what do I think?’ and ‘where does this feeling come from?’ can be such an amazing way to start doing that.
You are an amazing, uniquely perfect individual. As am I. We all are.
Never forget, how powerful you are.
Hello, lovely. I’m Nat.
I’m a yoga teacher and bestselling author with a passion for self-development and self-empowerment, based in Bavaria, Germany. You can find out more on my about page or get in touch via social media.