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Once upon a time, there was a kind, selfless, intelligent & capable lady called Jane who was always friendly to everyone. 
Every day, she liked to make others happy, so she smiled, kept busy and put others before herself however unbeknownst to everyone she hid a big secret. Jane didn’t like herself, she felt deep down there was something wrong with her and that no matter what she did she would never be good enough and feared being alone. So, she tried and tried every day to be as kind, helpful, agreeable and people-pleasing as possible and hid any of her weariness, frustrations or resentments so everyone would like her. 
One day, however, after a particularly demanding time putting others first for a special occasion, she noticed everyone around her looking so happy and joyful in sharp contrast to how she felt - alone, low and empty behind her fixed smile. She considered all the years she had wasted feeling unhappy & not enjoying her life. 
She caught sight of herself in a mirror and didn’t feel she knew the person who looked back at her and she hated wearing her mask and felt such a fake. It was in that moment that she felt so worthless that she wondered if it would be better for all if she took her own life and if so, how she might go about it…. but then she felt guilt at the thought of hurting her family and that jerked her back into the present. 
Because of that, she realised if she was to carry on she would need professional help and booked counselling sessions with Sarah Cunliffe, Emotional Therapeutic Counsellor. In the process of counselling, she learned about the emotional wounds, limiting beliefs and fears she had developed as a child and how these had led her emotionally developing but powerless child self to develop survival techniques like people-pleasing and hiding her painful feelings behind a smiley mask. She learned how to express and release her painful suppressed feelings safely and privately and how to connect with her true self that had been hidden and frozen in time years before. 
Because of that, she learned to love and value herself, stopped her self sabotaging behaviour, found the confidence to express her needs and feelings as an adult, broadened her life by exploring different pastimes, hobbies and her style. 
So, what happened? 
Until finally she felt confident enough to show everyone her true self, safe in the knowledge that if anyone should reject her or not like her tastes that she would still feel secure and happy in her skin. 
She learned that the most important relationship you will ever have in your life is between you and yourself. 
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