The first thing that probably comes to your mind when asking this question is someone dressed
in leathers with piercings and tattoos everywhere. Although this is what society might see as a
rebel in a generalising way - surprisingly it is more prevalent than you may think in more
It became a joke with my partner, that when I was told to do something - or even told myself that
I had to do something, I would do it in a different way, even slightly.
Naturally, I knew that I may have still have some rebel streaks within me from my teenage years
when I would wag school and have a cigarette down at the back of the school.
I didn’t realise though how much it was still affecting me later in life in more covert ways.
Whenever I ask a healing client if they are a rebel a slight smile comes to their face - there is
certainly a cheeky energy behind it and our ego can be somewhat proud of this label, despite it
being against our goals and creating negative consequences in our lives.
The day I realised that I still had this trait from my younger years, and realised its importance
and implications was in a somewhat innocent setting!
I was going to one of my favourite places in the world, my local garden store to pick out some plants for our healing centre.
As they were going to have in indoor environment - naturally I headed for the indoor plant section. After looking through all the beautiful indoor plants, I found myself automatically and perhaps unconsciously wandering over to the outdoor section.
As I was looking around the outdoor section, a voice in my head says loudly, “who cares if they say outdoor, I’ll get them and put them indoors anyway”.
In this moment, the words hit me like a slap in the face! Luckily, through mindfulness training, I am somewhat aware of my thoughts and it was certainly very loud.
I had a realisation in that moment that I didn’t want to be like that anymore!
I was proud of being a rebel, but this moment made it clear to me that it serves no purpose in my life anymore.
With the recognition of this, and the decision to change I started introspectively going within the
issues and implications that it causes in my life. Worked on it and did several healings around it.
What I learnt from that is actually a common theme among many people. At some point when
we were younger, and still dependant on our parent/s, we may have had times that we felt
uncared for, abandoned and alone. This can often be unintentional by our caregivers as they
can be going through something difficult or don’t have the awareness or empathy of our innate
A need to be independent arises in us, perhaps too young, out of need or belief of unfairness from authority figures in our lives.
We lost respect for those who were meant to be taking care of us (parents, teachers, older family members and police).
The thing about belief systems that we go over and over with clients in treatment for mental
health and addictions is that they stay with us for life, even if created as young as being an
infant. This affects us later in life as adults by still rebelling and perhaps not trusting people that
are trying to help us and/or rebelling against ourselves.
It is like there is still an angry and reluctant child within us, who when we want to do something
positive for ourselves and our lives as an adult - will be sabotaged by this inner child. This
creates frustration and it is important to be discovered and healed so we can start to make
better and more congruent decisions that are in line with what we want.
Written by Melissa Hiemann. Co-Founder and Therapist at The Melbourne Centre of Healing.