I Am a Real Person

Stephan Gardner
6 min readJan 30, 2023

I’ve recently had an experience with a client where something got exposed that I think could help many more people than just him. So let’s explore a question: Do you need to be special?

One of my coaching clients is a Chiropractor turned Life Coach and is currently training to be coaching on team Tony Robbins. He’s run a Chiropractic business in Montreal for 15 years and has been training in psychology models to help his clients virtually and move into the ‘laptop lifestyle.’

His problem is that he’s chronically indecisive about whether he can do it independently, so he attaches to mentors and guides who he can work with as a team player. This works for a while, but ultimately, he is devastated when he finds out that those who lead him are in it for themselves and that he’s just a team player. Not the team captain.

I’ve been recently training people in my proprietary psychology applications, and he joined up to become a facilitator. During my training, I often have sessions with my students to help them integrate what I’m offering, but also I want to understand them and how to help them grow. As such, what has revealed in our session was a bipolar ness that profoundly impacted his ability to have self-confidence and was also running his life into the ground — meanwhile, it was something he praised.

My client believed he needed to be special.

The idea of ‘just being a normal person’ nearly made him throw up.

Normal wasn’t ok. He had to be a warrior! A Greek God! Someone WORTHY of worship. Being just another human being was repulsive — not good enough. Being a normal person, like everyone else apparently, was following the herd, and that somehow meant that if he did, he’d be less of a man or human being. The problem is — that’s exactly who he is.

I’ve always found that being conscious of what’s really happening is vital in reaching and maintaining sanity and connection. The reality is that life is full of potential torment. It’s exceedingly easy to dissociate and escape into fantasy, delusion, and addiction to your expectations of how you think life should be. Sometimes the hardest thing for you to do is accept the way things are because it often means embodying your natural reaction to a moment or a lifestyle of suffering and pain.

To my client, being normal was an unacceptable consequence. Unfortunately for him, it’s exactly what he needed to accept to grow. Here’s why — it’s all about positioning.

If you need to be special, you’re automatically casting a prejudice on everyone else to be greater or lesser than your ‘specialness.’ This means you’ve created a ‘specialness hierarchy’ where you chronically perceive others to be above you and others to be below you. This causes you to run judgment games where you might expect other people to be special like you — and want to run a coaching business to that aim — and also expect yourself to be special like those you’re putting on a pedestal.

So now, effectively, in the attachment to being special, you’ve put certain humans into a God-like status which infuriates you — and so you’ll inject their values into your life and attempt to be someone you’re not to take down your Gods — meanwhile actually living your actual life which immediately isn’t good enough in comparison. Meanwhile, having to live and be around the ‘normal humans’ is equally as disgusting, so you now seek to be a hero for them and show them the error of their ways by trying to outsmart them as a coach.

All that creates is self and other judgments that you’re now having to ‘work on with personal development techniques’ to try and return yourself to some NORMAL and loving appreciation for yourself and others. Welcome to the coach's dilemma — the innate competition birthed out of inauthenticity where we play ‘who’s the smartest transformational artist’ instead of sitting with our natural gifts and talents and sharing those to help and maybe coach others along their natural path.

My client was caught in a lie. A lie about himself that he needed to create to survive some circumstances in his life from his past, but now, it was destroying his capacity to be present with himself and his life. Chronically playing video games to ‘be the hero’ instead of being the Father his son most needs and the Man his wife needs him to be.

I noticed in our session that he was chronically dissociating. He wasn’t present in feeling his real feelings. He’s grown attached to floating above everything, praying that everything will work out because that’s how it has to be if he’s special. He couldn’t possibly be a victim of the normal things that happen to everyone else. In fact, how could he possibly respect anything that is happening to any ‘normal’ person?

Hence his fear and anxiety about being a coach aren’t about coaching — it’s an unconscious fear of facing a client with a real circumstance who’s on the defensive, of which there are many, where he might have to be humbled by the tragedy and chaos of most people’s lives, and have to help someone instead of trying to maintain his hero-victim hierarchy.

He was trapped in his mind. He can’t be normal, but he also can’t be okay with being a hero. This is a child’s trap. It sounds like this:

“If I’m normal, I’m like my parents, and my parents fight or are miserable, so I have to be more than that. I can’t be like that because them being like that hurts me or hurts them. But if I’m better than them, they don’t love me. Every time I accomplish something like a hero, they judge me and tear me down. Is anything ever going to be enough?”

This client was stuck. He was stuck in the mud of personal development and psychopathology, trying to maintain a state of being instead of just being who he is. So how do you heal this?

Accept being normal.

What does my client need? A simple affirmation.

“I am a person, and I am ok.”

Try that on for yourself. Take a moment right now and affirm that reality. Feel what happens. Observe what you think about immediately after. Is it painful? Is it horrifying? Or is it calm and relieving?

One of the things that I do in my practice is discover what’s happening inside their self-image and what they might be dodging with it. My client had a false self-image that was playing games with his life and his ability to take action on meaningful goals. So to counter his exaggerated self-image, we worked with this affirmation.

Now, it’s not always going to go well off the start. The affirmation ‘I am a person’ nearly made him throw up. The affirmation ‘I am ok’ immediately triggered unworthiness and not good enough. So I had to negotiate with his programmed self-image to help him realize that being a person is pretty impressive, and it’s ok just to be that.

This simple acknowledgment helped my client go from being completely and chronically disassociated to opening his heart to himself and his life for quite possibly the first time. The happiness and gratitude that emerged on his face and body after a few rounds of affirmation and negotiating brought tears to us both.

My client was able to heal by returning to normal. Accepting what is instead of judging it for what it’s not.

Maybe this story can do that for you too.

P.S. If this resonated with you or you saw yourself in this, feel free to reach out and visit my website https://beyondpersonaldevelopment.com/



Stephan Gardner

I’m a videographer, musician, mindset analyst for people wanting to find more emotional presence, courage, and certainty in their lifestyle.