Enlightenment comes from examining with the benefit of hindsight. A celebration of who we all are and where we all come from. Why choosing to be seen not to be hidden is an act of courage and conviction. Recollections may vary; however the body never lies.
In this candid final episode of season 1, Dr Rachel speaks about her greatest fears, why it is important to voice them, how we can all empower ourselves through fear, and why ‘Stuart: A Life Backwards’ is probably one of the most thought-provoking films Tom Hardy has made. In true end of season and celebrating the enlightenment of the previous episodes find out why it is good for us all to consider a life lived backwards.
This show is dedicated to everyone who has dared to put their head above any kind of parapet, who dares to be different, who celebrates their uniqueness and who is truly (UN)Broken – especially when they have to pull up their big pants, take a big breath and feel all the fear to do so.
Key Insights From This Episode:
- So today’s podcast episode is actually UnBroken: A Podcast Backwards, in reference to one of the most thought-provoking real-life depictions in film.
- What you didn’t know is the absolute agony of myself in allowing these things to go and air. And this is where we have to examine sort of a life backwards, where we’ve come from, our influences.
- There’s always going to be that little voice of doubt. That little reminder of this is where you came from, and it’s important that we reframe that everything that we are who we are, what we do today is because of the influences of our past.
- What can’t be brushed under the carpet is the impact of those memories on our body, on our emotional world, on how we feel, on how our nervous system responds when we have trigger events which are similar.
- Nothing that is inflicted on a child at any time can ever be blamed on that child.
- We are all born with a spectrum of different behavioural pathways, however, things like anxiety, things like fear, response, things like withdrawal, detachment, they are all learned behaviours because of things that we experience.
- The body gives us so much information, it can tell us everything that has gone on. It can tell us everything that we’re capable of, and we never even realise that.
- What this episode really was is about the truth. My truth in particular. The realisation that I have been fearful about allowing my voice to be heard by people.
- I consider that all the time and effort and fear that has gone into making the UnBroken Podcast has been worth it.
- Let’s build up our UnBroken tribe, because the more that are of us being authentic and true and having a voice, then the better life will become not just for us, but for everybody that resides within it.
About Our Host
Dr Rachel Taylor
Dr Rachel Taylor is a neuroscientist with decades of experience exploring, discovering and solving everyday challenges faced by many, as well as listening to and telling the stories of people she comes across in her endeavour to show difference is good, trauma is endemic and joy is connection. She started UnBroken as she wanted to highlight that the system is broken not people and uses the UnBroken podcast to share her learnings, honest conversations and words of wisdom with the UnBroken Tribe of listener.
UnBroken is founded upon the belief that the environment in which we were born, grew in, live in, work in, play in and rest in has a huge impact on how well we believe we are and how well we perform. Wellbeing and optimal human performance are not simply about the absence of disease, they are about the ability to live purposefully, intentionally, joyfully and freely.
UnBroken provides a range of supportive online resources including a podcast, blog, apothecary and monthly online membership for people who dare to be different, are open to possibilities and want a different pathway to their own version of success.
Dr Rachel: Welcome everybody to the UnBroken podcast.
Today’s episode is rather special. We have reached the end of season one, which is spectacular for us here at Unbroken, and it’s even more spectacular because on thinking about what would be an appropriate final episode, I had lots of ideas, I discussed them with podcast experts, and one was going to do something really fancy, really ear catching and have something orally and aurally spectacular.
However, what I thought was even more important was actually to share with you something which is really personal, which is really quite deep and which for me, depicts why UnBroken is so important, not just as a movement but as something that people can relate to. So today’s podcast episode is actually UnBroken: A Podcast Backwards, in reference to one of the most thought-provoking real-life depictions in film. If you’ve not seen this film, I really suggest that you go and find it and watch it.
So the film I’m talking about is Stuart: A Life Backwards. Not only does it have Tom Hardy in it, who is one of my favourite actors to watch, it’s based on a true story. And I think that everybody in life has a story, but really importantly to this, UnBroken has a story. So in the manner of Stuart: A Life Backwards, using this, we’re going to look at UnBroken, A Podcast Backwards.
Looking where we are now, we’re in the end of season one, there’s been a flurry of activity. There’s been lots of planning, lots of insights, some amazing episodes from some fantastically, wonderful, interesting insightful people I’ve shared with you, a lot of my musings, some enlightenment that have come from people that I’ve worked with, research that I have done, and that’s where we are now.
The important thing that I want to get across is that actually you’re listening to this final episode after presumably listening to the other episodes and everything is in chronological order, you’ve probably learned something you might have related to something, you might have felt empathy, sympathy. You may have laughed. There will have been something, hopefully throughout all of the different episodes that I’ve given you in you an aha moment or maybe helped you into understanding yourself a bit more or brought something into awareness.
What you didn’t know is the absolute agony of myself in allowing these things to go and air. And this is where we have to examine sort of a life backwards, where we’ve come from, our influences. No matter how many times people have said that they love listening to me, they enjoy reading my writing and that just in conversation I can help people, probably without even realising it.
Now at the essence of all of that, when we look at where we have arrived to, we have to examine the journey that we have been on. And for me, some of that journey has been taken up with reconciling events of the past, traumatic experiences, a life that has been possibly harder than it was meant to be at times, sort of understanding who I was and how I arrived there and in parts seeking out validation and understanding. And even at times just sort of checking that what I had experienced other people had observed, and they could validate that, yes, that really did happen to me. Or yes, that was how they remembered it.
And this is really interesting from my perspective. Certainly, in the past ten or so years, I have worked really hard on developing aspects of myself, growing, trying to constantly improve my openness flexibility, development. All of these things, a day doesn’t go by without an opportunity for learning, an opportunity for being different, an opportunity for reinventing myself. Before all of that, unfortunately, I had experiences that maybe didn’t support that growth, didn’t support that development, didn’t allow me to be my true self, and certainly a lot of gaslighting, a lot of treatment from others that perhaps wasn’t the best of treatment. The influences of others that didn’t help me to understand where I was in the world, how much value I held, how much worth I had.
And in all of this, it becomes really apparent that even when we have done all the work, when we are striving to be successful in our own definition of the word success, that they’ll always be part of us that actually is that memory, those recollections, that impostor within us that is people know what you’re really like. I just laugh as I lower my voice. It’s like it’s like a secret to us, isn’t it?
We’re not good at what we do. We’re just pretending we are. And then somebody someday will eventually hold their head above the parapet and say, yeah, she’s not like that, really. Or he’s not like that really.
So you will not realise that the procrastination, the share faith in others, the inability to hear my podcast episodes back for my fear of hearing myself, for being unable to revisit any of this. It’s a really difficult and complicated and intrinsic thing. And no matter what good you do, no matter how different you are, no matter how much growth you have, there’s still a part of you, still a part of me that remembers being told nobody will ever want you. Remembers seeing violence, having violence inflicted on them. Remembers every time when they have just given all of themselves to people who do not deserve it, because then at least there is some semblance of control that in giving you are in control of that and that nobody’s taking from you. So you give it, even though people do not deserve it.
There’s always going to be that part that remembers that. Always going to be that little voice of doubt. That little reminder of this is where you came from, and it’s important that we reframe that everything that we are, who we are, what we do today is because of the influences of our past and we may not be in control of what has happened to us. We may not have had any bearing on the impact of what others did to us. We may not be able to take responsibility for it. Certainly, in my experience, nothing that is inflicted on a child at any time can ever be blamed on that child. And yet this happens every single day. This is not unique to the minority. This is a commonality. No child is responsible for what another adult does to them. That is a choice point that adults make, and we need to remember that. And we need to accept that. We need to remember that what has happened to us does not need to affect us beyond us getting awareness of that, it doesn’t need to define us in a negative way. It needs to define us as in who we are because of it. What we have decided to do because of that experience.
This first season of The UnBroken Podcast, instead of starting off from this is why I thought that it would be really interesting to finish on this is the why. I, from both a professional and a lived experience, a personal experience point of view have been told that my body is broken. My mind is broken, my personality is broken. I am not okay. I do not fit in. I am too different. I am a nightmare. Everything is my fault. I’m ugly, I’m fat. I don’t remember things properly. That was a key thing, and I’m going to borrow from the Queen, this is an amazing phrase, ‘recollections may vary’. Well, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has distinct memories where recollections may vary a lot, but where the recollections may vary, what we shouldn’t be under estimating and what can’t be brushed under the carpet is the impact of those memories on our body, on our emotional world, on how we feel, on how our nervous system responds when we have trigger events which are similar. Of how our anxiety, our early warning system is literally on fire. The hypervigilance of it warning us of what potentially could harm us. All of these things cannot be made up. A person cannot experience all of those things without there having been some prior learned behaviour to go with it.
Children and babies are not born with hyper vigilance intact. We are all born with a spectrum of different behavioural pathways, however, things like anxiety, things like fear, response, things like withdrawal, detachment, they are all learned behaviours because of things that we experience. We are all born with the innate knowledge that we should be cared for. We should be loved, we should be protected, we should have shelter, we should have food, we shouldn’t be hydrated. And it’s only when those things are not attended to and we find out what happens when they’re not, do our bodies and our brains, our nervous system respond differently. So despite what somebody may tell us is or is not the truth, our bodies never lie. And this is a really important thing for everybody to understand is that the brain may not be our friend. We may not have vivid memories. We may not have clarity of memories. We may not remember something, but have a reaction to something that we don’t even understand why we have a reaction to it. Our brain often isn’t our friend, but our body is. The body never tells lies. The body gives us so much information, it can tell us everything that has gone on. It can tell us everything that we’re capable of, and we never even realise that.
So when we’re being hypercritical of selves, when we’re looking to shoulder more responsibility for everything in life, when we are tending to be a little bit egocentric, we need to remember to look at our life backwards, to remember who we are, why we respond the way we do, why this is important for us to remember. We are not our behaviour. We are much more than that. I may have been many things. You may be many things, and we might perceive those as being good. We might perceive those as being bad. It’s all context dependent. There is no good. There is no bad. It just is. And we need to start viewing ourselves objectively, not with the subjective glasses of somebody else’s filter. Somebody else who may be seeking to make us at fault for their own shortcomings.
I had a very serious conversation with my eldest daughter, who is very supportive of all of this. And who in my mind is amazing because she can do things like coding. She’s training to be an engineer. That is a miracle in itself. I do argue with her at times. She says that I’m not a scientist. I said she’s not a scientist because she’s an engineering. Yet we agreed to disagree on many things, but having spoken to her and got her take on my fears, my greatest fears, I realised it was important to share them with you.
My greatest fear is that somebody will make themselves known and point their finger and say, “but people don’t really know who you really are. I knew you when you was two. I knew you was four. I knew you when you were 12, 13”. Whatever the number may be, it’s important to remember that if any person does that, they don’t know who you are. Because of their own pain, their own challenges, their own issues they want to place you in a box, and you are useful to be in that box because it detracts from their own need to look at themselves.
And that’s the purpose of today’s podcast really. Inviting yourselves to look at your life backwards. Look at where you are now. Look at how you got there. What were some of your most challenging moments? What were some of the most joyful moments. What patterns are existent? What things do you use as indulgences? What people are there to be toxic? What people are there to care and nurture? What do you do every day to help you grow? How forgiving of yourself are you? What can you let go of? What is no longer serving you? And what do you intend to do with your future now you have all of this information?
So this last episode, it didn’t really tick any of the heavily produced bells and whistles, “Oh, isn’t this exciting?” let’s build up the tension, which was one of the options. What this episode really was is about the truth. My truth in particular. The realisation that I have been fearful about allowing my voice to be heard by people. I’m reliably informed that the episodes that you have been listening to before are entertaining, informative, what people need to hear, what people want to listen to. So I’m presuming there will be some people who are listening to the UnBroken Podcast, and that was what it was for. It’s an antidote to life, as is now. It’s a rallying cry. You are not broken. The environment is. Let’s get together. Let’s do good things. Let’s realise that we can make changes to our environment. Some of them have to be drastic changes. Some of them need to be smaller changes. But we can do all of that if we choose to. This is what UnBroken is about. And this is how I want UnBroken to be known for. That we may not know what is going to happen in the future. We may not know in the next hour, but because of who we are and where we’ve come from and how we respond to that, and because we have honesty, integrity and intention, we know we’re going in the right direction. We can do all of this.
So I want to thank you. Thank all of you for listening to The UnBroken podcast. I truly hope that there has been something in this first season that has tickled your fancy, that has made you sit up. It might even have made you squirm a little bit. You might have been uncomfortable listening.
There might have been something that really touched you deep down, deep down in your soul, something that you have never admitted even to yourself. All of these things. If just one of those has happened, then I’m glad. And I consider that all the time and effort and fear that has gone into making the UnBroken Podcast has been worth it. And I really hope that you will all tune in to the next season where we want to do more of the same, and we want to do more truth telling. And we want to connect with real people who make a real difference to themselves and to others. And they’re on the real quest to be Unbroken.
So that’s all for now. Thank you for everything. And as always, the call to action because we want to grow organically. The ethics is huge for me. Call for action. Tell two people that you know would benefit from UnBroken the most. Just two. That’s all you need to do. Give a five star recommendation. Comment, subscribe. Let’s have the fans. Let’s have the followers. Let’s build up our UnBroken tribe, because the more that are of us being authentic and true and having a voice, then the better life will become not just for us, but for everybody that resides within it. So thank you.