The Treadmill of Self-Change


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Every time I worked hard to ‘change’ myself, I thought I’d made it to ‘the end’. To a complete state where no further change was ever going to be necessary.

I’d been focusing on ‘changing’ one area of myself. An area that seemed so big, so pervasive and so fundamental in helping me be ‘happy’.

Yet, without fail, and always upsettingly, that fleeting moment of ‘making it’ disappeared. The next thing to ‘work on’ came along.

Then, I’d feel as if I were starting again, back at the beginning. More energy was required, more effort to be expended. I had to gear myself up to begin again.

Yet again, I thought that when I nailed ‘this one’, I would really be ‘there’ and life would be ‘perfect’. I would think that this was the biggie. This was the one that would change everything.

I did it every time, and each time after a moment of elation I felt I was back at the start.

I was on the treadmill of self-change. Always pushing for more, never accepting I was enough.

Then I was forced to change. Forced to stop.

Chronic exhaustion hit, and I had no choice but to listen. It made me come face to face with who I really was and who I will always be. The real me.

Having chronic exhaustion forced me to look myself straight in the eye and see my truth, and my beauty. To see my softness and innocence. And, once and for all, to befriend who I saw.

I realised denying this person and trying to change this person didn’t work. I no longer needed to fight. I just needed to be me.

I needed to be the person who is sensitive as she is. The person who thinks deeply. The one who hears souls whisper. The person who loves deeply. The person who loves dreaming and thinking about the future.

All. Of. It. Me.

It sounds easy. It was not. It was so hard, so painful, so excruciating, not what I wanted and yet so utterly life changing.

I will forever be grateful to my body for flooring me – and for giving me the chance to rise, just as I am.


Michelle McCartan

Is a coach, a writer and leadership consultant. Her deeply compassionate approach to helping others unearth their true self and find their true work has touched the lives of hundreds of clients from all over the world, from CEOs and MDs to new and aspiring thought leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, and new mums. She’s the author of two personal development books, The Journey of Me and Inspiration Quotient (INQ) and the co-founder of Wellineux. She is a certified Leadership Coach and qualified Holistic Health Coach. She brings her extensive professional expertise, her firsthand familiarity with her own personal challenges and journey home, and her flexible, empathic nature to her every engagement and interaction, so that every client she serves feels witnessed, seen, and honoured for who they innately are.