Freeing myself from my own mental slavery: Interview with Roméo Cournal
Time to Rise – Ask the Author Series
Roméo Cournal is an Intuitive Life Coach based in France, specializing in helping people move on from toxic relationships. His motto is: “I love myself, I approve myself, I prefer myself, and I congratulate myself.”
In his very personal chapter in Time to Rise, Roméo tells his story of finding his way to an authentic life.
If you have ever forced yourself to turn up to a soulless, dead-end job that you loathed, day after day, then this story will resonate with you. That was Roméo’s existence for some time too. The promise of job security led him to stay against his intuition, until severe panic attacks that landed him in the emergency department of the hospital – forced him to reassess his choices.
It took facing death for him to choose himself and to, in the worlds of Bob Marley, emancipate himself from the shackles of mental slavery.
Dr. Andrea – So jumping right into the juicy stuff… I think that one of the most challenging ways that we find ourselves shackled, is when we find ourselves in a toxic relationship. Part of your specialty in your work today is to help people first identify, and confirm, that this is the situation they are in.
Sometimes we can feel like, “maybe it’s just in my head” – So identifying must be an important step in your process?
Roméo – The first step for anyone, I believe, is to accept the full responsibility for what is happening. It is essential.
I think that to be a slave these days is mental. Because of our paradigm, our system and way of thinking – we keep ourselves in a jail. We have been told how to be, how to feel and how to act. I’ve experienced that. So people who are struggling in life that want to get free from anything, from addiction to toxic relationships, have to start to see things differently and take responsibility.
Dr. Andrea – In the book, you talk about your own experience of mental slavery, where you had gotten yourself stuck in a job that you both depended on, but felt trapped by at the same time.
Roméo – I wanted to be successful, and so I was loyal to the job in the way I had been taught to be. First of all things were pretty cool. But one day, my heart was struck by an event that made me question what I was doing. But I reasoned that this feeling was normal. At the time, I didn’t understand that I was being called to change my way of thinking.
Things progressed and I felt worse and worse every day – very bad! One day I had my first anxiety attack at work. So I went to emergency room and was treated. But I reasoned that it was okay, these things happen, and the next day I went back to work.
The week after, I had another anxiety attack, and then another! I wondered what was going on.
Dr. Andrea – So how did you make the connection between the job being wrong for you, and the panic attacks you were having?
Roméo – Years ago I had tried to build a business. But at a certain point things began to feel wrong. I realized I had to make a change – so I went back to that job that I didn’t want. Even though I knew I didn’t really want it, in fact it made me feel really uncomfortable, but I needed to pay my bills!
It was a tough decision as it wasn’t the authentic choice for myself and my values. But having my own business was “jumping into the void” – and I needed security to support my children.
Dr. Andrea – I know that you and I have talked before about “jumping into the void” – and today you’ve done it. So can you tell us about how you found the strength to make that leap?
Roméo – Well now I have done it. But back then, I needed to be in the very worst situation to jump. It took me 6 visits to the emergency room, and two months in hospital to finally accept that my priority had to be myself. I was near death three times in the end.
Then, finally, I knew that life is short. I could die tomorrow – so, before I die, I prefer to live my life my way. Now I have a new confidence, but it took a painful initiation to get there!
Dr. Andrea – Sadly, this is what so many of us do. We wait until we hit rock bottom to start trusting our intuition. It’s like we have to experience the worst pain, and sometimes even face death, before we will finally say, “Okay, I guess I better do this!”
Roméo – This is my purpose now. My job today is to remind people that they are their own priority. They can emancipate themselves from their conditioning and mental slavery. Even if the people around them don’t support their goals.
I know that security is something we may choose over our freedom. But today, personally I choose my freedom.
Dr. Andrea – So let’s talk about toxic relations, as they are your specialism as a coach. How do you help people in those situations?
Roméo – So it’s really important to first recognize if this is the situation you are in. My definition of a toxic relationship is one where I cannot be myself. I cannot act, think or feel as myself.
Dr. Andrea – And to clarify, this would be because the other person is imposing their beliefs or desires on us? Not just because we lack confidence.
Roméo – Absolutely, but I also believe that there is no such thing as a toxic person – only toxic relationships. If I am in a toxic relationship it is because my partner and I are both responsible for what is happening. Perhaps my partner has bad intentions – but a relationship takes two to maintain it. When I’m there in that situation, it is because I don’t prefer and prioritize myself. I don’t love myself.
A big part of my work is to get that level of understanding and responsibility in my clients – acknowledging that both parties have been allowing the situation to continue.
Dr. Andrea – So you are focused very much on helping people to know who they are. To me, this is quite spiritual. Knowing who we really are takes place on many levels and gets very deep. So talk to us about that.
Roméo – The lack of self-awareness we often have is due to conditioning. So the process with my clients is to take them way back to their early years, and to unpack how the lives that they are living today were created. We can easily forget who we really are – so I help my clients to remember.
When you understand how you got to where you are, it becomes easier to be honest with yourself about your current situation.
Dr. Andrea – So, here’s a big question for you. What if a client comes to you for help, and they had an abusive childhood? What if, due to their parents being aggressive, or absent, they felt that they had to work for love? If someone doesn’t feel loveable, then how do they get back to their real, authentic self?
Roméo – This comes down to resilience. I think that when people are in a toxic relationship with abusive parents, you cannot get free without forgiving. And that’s tough, and so it takes resilience.
In this situation, hypnosis can be very helpful to access the subconscious and start hearing their intuition again.
Working on their way of living in the present, I believe it is very important for these clients, and all of us really, to make conscious choices about who we spend time with. It can be the most difficult thing for my clients; to choose who they spend time with out of their friends, family, colleagues.
I think it’s true that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. So it is our responsibility to choose wisely. Sometimes we have to make hard choices, and maybe distance ourselves from family members. It’s the price we have to pay to be responsible, authentic and happy.
Above all, we need to remember that we are free, and act accordingly.
If you would like to learn more about Roméo’s work, you can visit his site here: https://www.romeocournal.com/
Want to watch the video of our interview? Scroll to the bottom of the post and enjoy.
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