As anyone who reads my blog regularly will know, I have been engaged in some fairly intensive soul searching during my time in Hong Kong - trying to define what will give me the direction and purpose I feel I have lost somewhere along the way. Over the past month I have been seeing a cognitive behavioural therapist who has been helping to guide me through the process of finding calm, peace, acceptance and to rediscover my bearings. I know for many of us 'stiff upper lip' Brits, the concept of airing our dirty laundry to anyone - let alone a stranger - is very un-British and we would rather sweep our issues under the carpet and drown them in alcohol. For me, it was a case of desperate times call for desperate measures, plus drowning my issues in alcohol was only exacerbating the problem!
I was introduced to a number of techniques and ideas that have really helped me to get to where I am today - content, calm and back on track. Besides keeping a thought diary to help me change my negative thought patterns, and meditation to calm my overactive mind, my therapist suggested that I may find it useful to write down my feelings. I don't think she anticipated I would share those feelings and publish them for anyone to see on my blog - neither did I for that matter. However this has proven to be the most cathartic and productive part of the process and I want to thank all of you who have 'liked' my blogs, posted supportive comments and directly emailed me. You have all played a fundamental role in this mending process.
One of the hardest blogs to write was 'Finding my Baby' as it was so deeply personal and revealing and I had to muster up considerable courage to press the 'publish' button. From the staggering response I received in my inbox, it is evident that many of us feel that life has not dealt us the hand we had hoped for and some element is missing. As one of my friends wrote “It is a bugger that human nature makes us focus on what we do not have instead of the joy of what we have”. Revealing my heartbreak and vulnerability helped me discover that I am not alone. This has provided me with an overwhelming sense of relief, as well as faith that I can start to move on.
I have recently watched Brene Brown's TED Talk on 'The Power of Vulnerability' which discusses her extensive research into courage, shame and vulnerability. Her research has revealed that connection is what brings meaning to people's lives. In order to connect we have to fully embrace our vulnerabilities, have the courage to reveal our imperfections, let go of who we think we should be and accept who we are. Her words resonate with me - I have had the courage to tell my story on my blog with my whole heart and am reaping the rewards.
Before I left the UK, I announced to my friends that I was starting a blog when I moved to Hong Kong. My friend Carly, author of the blog Covet.Collect.Connect, was very encouraging, pointing out that I never knew what writing a blog could lead to. In Carly's case her blog has led to the opening of her own shop - an extension of her Covet.Collect.Connect brand. Never ever would I have thought my blog could help me get through a very difficult period in my life and allow me to connect so deeply with so many people - but it has.