The Susan Watson Story of Resilience
“Your past does not predict your future and you can find new ways to move on and cope with what life throws at you.” Susan Watson
The signs of anxiety, stress, low confidence and low self-esteem are all around us. You might feel the symptoms yourself, or perhaps you know someone close by who suffers.
That’s why Susan Watson is sharing her story of resilience with you, to help and encourage people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by this awful pain.
A difficult childhood
Today, Susan is a successful, fully qualified hypnotherapist based in Edinburgh, but she didn’t have the best start to life.
In fact, from a very early age she found herself living in a children’s home, where she stayed for over two years.
While a home should have been for her safety and care, the experiences here cast a shadow over poor Susan for the rest of her life.
Susan parents did their very best for her, unfortunately their own life challenges at this time were just too much for them.
Yes, it’s true that her mother loved her. However, through no fault of her own, she suffered from a variety of mental health problems that made it impossible to offer the family home that she would as a mother have wished to offer.
Susan's father although having a dependency on alcohol tried his best to stay the loving caring father, was trying to survive himself.
By the time Susan was 16, she believed she had all the life skills a woman would need to make it on her own. She decided she was ready to move away from home.
A decision, however, that would affect Susan’s life in a radical turn for the worse.
Susan fast realised she didn’t know as much as she thought. With no-one to turn to and no possible income, she slept in a bunch of rough places from a dirty shared squat to the floor of Edinburgh railway station, her pride still telling her she had all the life experience needed to get by.
A family of my own and a huge change!
By the time Susan was 23, her path in life had changed completely.
Even though she had almost no education and no income, Susan was all alone raising her three children, all under the age of 3 years old.
Her husband, the main earner in the household, had left her destitute, seeking a way to support these children as best she could.
Susan describes this time as "survival mode".
Something had to be done provide for her children so they wouldn’t experience life in a home like she did. Each and every day was a struggle to find ways to simply get by.
She now recalls this time and sees that, rather than enjoying her children and her life, she was only fixated on and driven to just get through each day as it came.
Susan had to raise three children alone
under the age of 3 when her husband left....
“We all have it within us to cope come what may.
It may change us, but we have the ability to cope.” – Susan Watson
Poor relationship choices was a theme that would follow Susan throughout her life.
Abusive partners, stalkers, men with issues of control who’d neglect her needs and those of her children. Each of these knocks would chip away and leave her wondering “why me?”
After some time, Susan learned that the main reason these relationships gravitated towards her, was that she simply didn’t love herself.
If you don’t love yourself, then how can you expect someone else to love you back?
She was tired of her victim mindset…
"As we develop and emotionally mature, we are able to look back and appreciate the experiences we’ve had in life, which gives us strength to move on.
“Susan, the fact you’re now giving back is amazing. I’m going to congratulate you on that. It’s important we affirm when we’re able to do something which is beyond what some people might consider to be impossible. That is worthwhile celebrating." - Beverley Anderson
It was time to make a change; Susan was tired of always feeling like the victim.
"I realised that the most important thing I had to change was the truth that I didn’t love myself."
In a moment of clarity, Susan ceased to maintain her ”why me” mindset and looked for the best route to move herself forward. She chose to learn to love and value herself.
“I made a pact, I would have no relationships for a few years, that I would live with myself and become more knowledgeable about me! Tune into what was going on in my head and body and learn to live alone.
“If I was in a relationship in the future, it would be for the right reasons. I wanted to feel worthy on my own.
Susan realised that a lot of her self worth was, in her mind, based on the relationships she was in. This toxic thinking was just a way to avoid facing her true self.
It was time to care for herself and discover the person she’d been hiding inside.
I realised I needed self-compassion. I don’t have to be perfect, it’s okay to make mistakes. I learned to speak to myself and listen to the things I might say to a good friend: ‘you’re doing okay.’ These are the things I learned to say to myself
“Hardships often prepare people
for an extraordinary destiny" - C.S Lewis
“The basis really came from my mother, who did encourage me to go to church. Even though I decided church wasn’t for me, I do believe in a greater power.
I don’t know what that is, but I believe in it.” – Susan Watson
There’s a relationship we all have with something greater than ourselves.
You might see it as your way of giving back to the community or charity, it might be the health and wellbeing of a stranger, or your faith and your relationship with God.
By knowing that Susan’s part of a greater power means she had the power to keep building her strength, so that she can share it with the lives she touches.
Like strengthening a muscle, Susan would first set her goals, then work towards it in small, but impactful bites.
“I used to say, ‘where do I want to be, what do I want my life to be like?’ I would put lots of mini steps in-between it, as the end goal was overwhelming. So I would put lots of mini steps and I thought, if I get that one, then I can move on a bit.
“I was very big on encouraging myself and putting myself in situations that really scared me. I was very anxious and didn’t like talking to people. I’d never had a proper interview for a job, so at that point at 39 I went to my first interview.”
At 39 this was a huge undertaking for Susan, who was anxious to talk to people she didn’t know. What she did know was that her comfort zone was no place to stay if she was going to make the massive changes in her life that she needed.
“I prepared by going online and looking at tools. It was a huge boost when I got a job in a call centre, that was my first step: get a job. The second was to get over some of my fears. Even talking to people I would shake and sweat and be all nervous. Life was a multitude of challenges, but I would tell myself ‘you can do this, and it won’t ever be as hard in reality as it feels here’. I was my own cheerleader.” – Susan Watson
Susan found herself work at 39 and set out to improve her own life, rather than allow her past to shape her future.
"I’d never had a proper interview for a job.. so at that point at 39 I went to my first interview, and I got it."
Susan went on to learn about cognitive behavioral therapy. Studying this subject in her own time, she was able to embark on a career path as a life coach and created Perfect Solutions Coaching, showing others how they can turn their own lives around, turning the negative influences into something wholly more positive.
Susan finally turned her own life around, taking charge of her own happiness and following her very own path.
My life has given me a lesson that things which are most precious in life, you can’t touch. My happiness is inside with my relationships with people, my values, my beliefs…these things you can’t buy.
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