There is so much of Australia I’ve not had the privilege of experiencing.  I grew up in Canberra, had four of my children here and then lived interstate for over 20 years. Having done full circle in two decades I’m living in Canberra once again enjoying my first autumn after many years.

Autumn in Canberra is spectacular.

Different shades of reds, orange and yellow colours make for quite a display in the suburbs. It’s as though someone has come along and opened the big wide doors to nature’s own art gallery.

The temperature is quietly getting colder week by week.

Every now and then the smell of wood burning catches my attention immediately taking me back to childhood and simplicity. So many memories and moments have filled up time and space creating my story and unique experiences crafting me into the person I am today.

Some decades ago as a toddler I took my first steps (although I have no memory of that) those first steps would have been taken with caution and new found excitement!!! A whole new world opens up to a toddler once they start walking. Everything out of reach becomes a possibility. Every step taken accomplishes new ground and builds strength and balance. A walking toddler begins a season of learning and discovery.

As children we begin life inexperienced, relying on significant people in our lives to teach us the basics. School educates us to read and write while socialising and being a part of families and society teaches us basic life skills.

Everyone begins with a clean slate, no experience, until we step through each stage in life. Whether we get through those stages successfully or not there will always be lessons learned. These crucial lessons are ones in which you would never be able to grasp simply by reading a textbook!

Do we always get it right?

NO!!! heck no….

Life is somewhat trial and error.

Most of us begin each stage of life with a positive outlook. At times we experience apprehension and nerves while occasionally bursting with wild excitement at the anticipation of what we have to look forward to.

The fear of the unknown is something I have grappled with all of my life. When something is foreign or unknown to me I can get nervous. I much prefer to be prepared. I am not one for too many surprises and unexpected situations.

TRUE FACT ABOUT ME:  If caught up in the scene of a critical emergency such as witnessing a bad car accident I instantly FREEZE. My brain might scream at me to DO something, anything YET my body won’t cooperate. I’m completely useless as I stand there unable to flinch a muscle horrified and shocked to the core.

In much the same way if a person approaches me with an expected harsh tone of voice & words I will more likely freeze on the inside. When unprepared for a conflict or simply someone’s rudeness my response is one of surprise and shock. I’m certainly not quick with come backs in those types of situations.

I’m more likely analysing the situation picking it to pieces attempting to find out what just happened?

What did I miss?

What is this person’s problem?

As a young person unexpected tones and words had potential to trigger me into myself. I would behave as a turtle and attempt to hide out of harm’s way.

I was inexperienced.

I had no confidence or healthy self-esteem.

A person’s reaction or behaviour was always about me!

It had to be me I would reason.

My self-worth and value was always measured by other people. If they seemed to dislike me then I believed the problem was me, most times!

It didn’t occur to me that it may have had NOTHING to do with me. Perhaps the other person was having a bad day, a bad week or a bad life.

OR

Perhaps this other person had issues of their own that were triggered whenever I was around. Quite possibly the person didn’t like me, my worst nightmare. I always wanted people to like me.

It has taken decades to detach or separate my self-worth or value from another person’s treatment of me. I’ve been learning that despite how a person chooses to treat me it isn’t my fault. If I had nothing to do with it then I had nothing to do with it.

Simple…..

Having lived life for over four decades experiencing a countless number of scenarios in circumstances and relationships I have developed and matured as a person. In many of those scenarios I was inexperienced lacking confidence and direction. I was easily led by others, sometimes led into the wrong direction contrary to the values I held.

The inexperience made me vulnerable; at times I trusted too much ignoring the contradictions which were set off like a warning bell. I fought against those contradictions over and over again. I talked myself into believing my own thoughts and values didn’t matter. Decades of burying and ignoring what was important to me started taking its toll.

I lost myself….

No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that my thoughts, feelings, values and ideas were not that important, I gradually became aware of how much I was missing out on being the person I was designed to be. Once the awareness started I could no longer ignore what was important to me.

Awareness took place over denial…..

Life is a journey of discovery! Every new stage presents unknowns as we step through inexperienced. We have the potential to make mistakes and “NEWS FLASH “we do make mistakes….

One more fact about me: I can be known for being a bit of a perfectionist! Making mistakes is something I do my best to avoid. My best intentions can’t stop mistakes. The more experiences I have walked through the less I have held onto the idea of perfection!

I’m far less concerned about what people think of me now than when I was younger.

Last July 2016 as my marriage of 27 years literally toppled over in one night I had moments in which I was angry with myself for being married soooo long in an unhealthy relationship.

HOWEVER,

After some nine months or more I’m no longer angry with myself. I see the failed marriage as experience that I could have never gained from a text book. The experience will continue on with me for the rest of my life of which I can share my learning with others who may be in a similar situation.

As tempting as it might be don’t beat yourself up for mistakes made remember we are all inexperienced as we begin life.

NO ONE is an expert!

Don’t allow your past mistakes to prevent you from moving forward in life. The truth is if you sit still in order to remain safe you risk missing out on something wonderful.

Don’t stay frozen!!!!

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