- Surrinder Johal
My Transformation Journey - It All Changed When I Turned 50
I never thought about myself or the thought that I needed help after my husband died, I simply continued day to day, keeping myself busy, numbing out any emotions with extra work. I was angry, frustrated and full of rage at my husband, for taking his own life. I didn't know what to do, so I decided to get counselling for the first time in my life.
It was a strange concept but I was desperate, and l didn’t have the tools or anyone around me who I could talk to about how l felt or who would understand me and what I was going through.
Stage 1 - One to One Counselling
For the first time in my life, I opened up to someone about my story, my journey of grief and loss. The conversation mainly regarded my late husband and the sexual, emotional and financial abuse. I felt a heavy weight being lifted as l spoke in detail about my married life. As a South Asian Woman l had been told that from a cultural perspective, l should not talk about the ordeals of married life but just “accept it”.
“Suck it up”.
“Don’t bring shame on your parents”.
But it felt good unloading and processing what I had been through, and my pain being validated by another individual was priceless for my healing journey. It was a confidential space so l could be totally honest and there was no judgement. It was at my pace and I only discussed what l felt comfortable sharing. I gained the perspective I needed to start looking at things differently. I had always lived with a script that had been passed down to me. Now I had to figure things out for myself and how l was going to navigate my life without a map; but l felt l still didn't have all the tools to help me.
Having counselling and sharing my story was the first part of my healing journey. After my first experience of counselling I decided to study and become a counsellor myself. This was the first time in my life l decided to do something solely for myself, learn more about myself and help other South Asian Women.
Stage 2 - My Transformation
Gaining qualifications to understand myself
I went on an academic journey for a few years whilst l qualified to become a counsellor and hypnotherapist. I learned the importance of holding space for clients whilst they processed their emotions, using hypnosis to:
Remove the negative labels we give ourselves
Overcome unhealthy habits like overworking, eating and drinking
Connect to your inner child
Having completed these courses l felt I needed a deeper understanding of myself so I could use this knowledge to support my clients. I gained even further training in other modalities for additional tools like EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy), more commonly known as tapping, which can be used to release emotions and calm the nervous system.
Understanding the generational trauma in my story
I blamed my parents for the 27 years I endured in my marriage, which they had arranged for me. I was expected to stay in the marriage regardless of how l was treated, being told that I would bring dishonour and shame to my family if I were to leave.
A big part of my healing journey was to understand my own parents and grandparents and what they had been through; the hardships that they had endured. My parents had been through struggles in India but had never spoken about them. I only knew that my Dad always said he would never return. Leaving everything they knew, to provide a better life for my siblings and I. My parents would have experienced traumas by moving countries, not knowing anyone, and then experiencing hardship, sexism, and racism. This would have taken its toll on them and they remained in survival mode their whole lives without realising it. Their mission in England was to work hard so that they could afford to educate their children and provide them with a marriage - which they achieved.
Looking back at my marriage l also stayed in survival mode, I kept pushing myself into believing the same belief system as my parents, without thinking of the consequences or having the tools to be different. Understanding my parent's story helped me to forgive them for how l was treated but at the same time it doesn't make it OK or take all the pain away of how it impacted my own children.
We follow the patterns of our parents without thinking about how we should raise our own children, and how we shape their beliefs around money, issues and relationships.
l continued the same patterns until l was made aware of them. But they were my parent's beliefs and l had the power to change. Through my training and support from life coaches, I was able to change my beliefs, behaviours and life patterns.
Practising Self Care - With support from a life coach
All my life l had been a people pleaser, which meant I had continually put myself at the bottom of the list of importance. I believed it was selfish to think any other way but I was wrong. In life, you have to be your own biggest cheerleader. Through self care and love, you are able to look after your family and be present for them.
Unfortunately, l was unable to motivate myself to move forward and I felt drained.
I sought help from different coaches because I wanted to change the negative mindset that l still carried, and the belief that I wasn’t good enough. Instead I needed to start loving myself as my inner battery was depleted.
The support of life coaches and mentors helped me to figure out a new version of myself, determine what I wanted to achieve, and motivate me when l had meltdowns.
Accountability played a big part in keeping me on track.
l learnt the importance of daily routines, l started practising gratitude, walking outside in nature to ground myself, practising affirmations, meditating and journaling the life that I wanted to create for myself. These rituals helped me to turn my life around and feel better about myself rather than seeking validation from others.
I now believe that l am good enough and it's never too late to heal and turn your life around. You can start a new chapter and create a life that you are excited about, full of possibilities, honouring your wants and dreams.
If you would like to work with me on your transformation contact me:
Email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Text on 07940238855