“Live Life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening”

Nelson Mandela.

When we were growing up we had a cat.  She had a beautiful nature: she’d come and find you when you were upset, she never bit or scratched but would walk away when annoyed.

When she got older it was as if she decided that she had to be more serious.  She stopped behaving like a kitten, chasing leaves, feathers and toys around the house.  Except… except when she thought no-one was looking!

Sometimes, when I had been alone and quiet in the house I would hear her going nuts running around the house.  I’d walk into the kitchen and she’d stop and look at me as if to say, “it wasn’t me, honest!”  Other times we would see her in the garden chasing leaves but as soon as we went out she’d stop and walk away disinterested in the leaf.

There were times we would play with her, dancing tin-foil balls on strings.  She would love it and then suddenly realise what she was doing and stop.

The cat loved playing those games and we loved watching her.  However, as she got older it was as if having fun was something you did when no-one was watching.

On another occasion, I remember listening at the door to children playing a game.  They were totally disinhibited.  The sounds were of animated discussion, raucous laughter and serious points of opinion being expressed about how the princesses were to be saved by the knight from the big monster.  They were so engaged, they hadn’t spotted me.  Suddenly, they did.  Their faces blushed and the noise quietened.  I commented that the game they were playing sounded great fun and said that there was no need to stop playing (and by the way, here are biscuits and drinks).  They returned to their game but a little more inhibited it than when they were unaware that someone was listening.

I think that there are lessons to be learned here.  Of course we need to be aware of our surroundings and take them into account in our behaviour and attitudes.  However, there are times we need to just “let our hair down” (for those of us who have hair) and relax, be ourselves.  Perhaps, in doing so, we might even discover more about who we are.

If you feel you would like to explore more about who you are or would like to find out more about whether counselling is right for you, email me at louise@newcastlecounselling.co.uk.

Newcastle Counselling, meeting you wherever you are on your personal journey.