Don’t discount the little things.

Let’s face it, in today’s climate it is all too easy to get swept up into believing only large headlines are important and impacting. We can easily be drawn into attention grabbing successful highlights seen on t.v, social media and magazines or in the lives of people we rub shoulders with. Sometimes attention is placed on that which shines brighter and sounds louder coupled with a belief which provides the illusion that amazing happiness will follow once we reach this unreachable dream we are all seemingly searching for?

That until you have the most important job, biggest house or richest bank account and large influential group of friends you have in some ways not made it yet…  How is it that so much of life that shines brighter and sounds louder has been exalted to such a point in which all of the little things can be discounted and unnoticed?

Personally I have nothing against success or highlights, wins or gains!

How many of us have experienced amazing success?

In life we all experience different wins and gains which come wrapped up quite uniquely.

A big win for me came about only a few months ago when I finally got accepted for employment. While it is only a three month contract at this stage I have learnt so much from the job itself. In my job I get to talk to people who are at their worst and often feel very distressed. I talk with people who were like me only a few months ago and are searching for employment. These people are struggling financially and some are facing all sorts of personal challenges. As I sit at my desk each day I witness individuals pouring out their hurts and fears. These people tell me how hard their life is. I hear of tragedies’ and personal deep challenges some are fighting! I hear about their rejections in life and the hopelessness they feel as they keep searching for someone to give them a job. Many of the people I see are highly qualified in their field. I get to sit with the average mum who is looking for a job to the once very successful career high flyer.

Each person that sits at my desk I take notice of.  Each life is valuable. I don’t discount my position in that moment. While my job is not one of bright lights and glamour it is one of the most important roles I have ever had the privilege of working in. Each day as I walk out of the doors to head home I smile as I think about the ways in which I’ve sprinkled a little hope purely by listening, encouraging and supporting.

When was the last time you sat with someone and truly listened to what their heart was saying?

Listening, caring, encouraging, understanding, supporting and empathy are powerful tools we all have in our tool belt. These tools or qualities are not loud or noticeable to the world.  They are all too often forgotten and discounted. Yet when you consider the power these tools have to help someone why are they less utilised?

Think about it for a minute!

What are your fondest memories?

For myself I can remember several occasions throughout my childhood and teenage years in which there were significant people that took the time out to ask me how I was. At the time it meant the world to me. I have never forgotten those people or those memories.

In today’s climate it’s often easy to get shocked when someone genuinely cares about how you are doing?

These ‘little things’ are not little at all.

There are days when I sit at my desk and get frustrated that I can’t do more for people yet the little things that I can do are welcomed more than I could have imagined. In fact I’m regularly taken by surprise after the person I have just spent a little time with genuinely thanks me for believing in them. It is as though they are empty and haven’t heard anything positive for a long time.

A sprinkle of encouragement goes a long way.

Encouragement has the power to make a person’s life brighter and their smile bigger.

People are people despite their status in society. Some I sit with work packing shelves while others are highly educated and have held positions one can only dream about. No matter the status they all appreciate being heard, encouraged, believed in and supported. What is more amazing is that no one has questioned my credentials or experience. It is an industry I have never worked in before and while no credentials are needed to perform my role in this job I take the position seriously and regard each person I have appointments with as someone I have the opportunity to speak hope too!

Most times it is those quiet little things that are more powerful long term then anything that shines bright or sounds loud.

Jobs, relationships, finances, possessions, qualifications, status, friends, health can all change in a moment without warning.

While encouragement, support and genuine care and concern are always available if we choose to use them and are never forgotten by the people we give them too!

Let’s not focus on the shining lights and loud attention grabbing illusions but rather put our energy and efforts into the little things that make life bigger and better for each of us.

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And in the meantime …….

Over the past few months after commencing employment  I have experienced UPs⇑⇑ and downs⇓⇓accompanied by ‘out of my comfort zone’ episodes. Being someone who would rather DO life prepared for how things were going to work out I have had to develop another level of patience and trust. If it hasn’t been enough to deal with everything involved in a marriage breakdown having started a new job in an industry I have never worked in before has stretched me beyond my limits and my wildest of dreams.

The fact is all I have ever known for the past 27 years is how to function in the role of wife and mum. Having been uprooted from Brisbane to Canberra some eight months ago as a single mum I’ve been travelling through a process of discovering who I am?

Questions continually bubble to the surface such as;

Have I got what it takes to make it on my own?

Is my life going to look like the typical ‘single mum’ movies in which I am working my arse off to make ends meet?

Will I ever be able to trust another man completely?

How long will it take until I feel whole and free of everything attached to my previous relationship of 27 years?

IF I get the opportunity of being in a relationship in the future will it work out?

OR should I just swallow the painful bullet and stay single for the rest of my life?

These are all valid and important questions.

Everything I knew previously has been uprooted!

I experience moments of uncertainty, fear and plenty of ‘unknowns’….

Most days I appear calm and confident on the outside while often trembling on the inside. The truth is that I had the wife and mum role all sorted out. Regardless of any relationship issues I was familiar with my life and knew how to function without too much thought. Similar to driving the same route every day, there is no need to think about it, you just do it!!!

It becomes AUTOMATIC!

Life was routine and manageable. On the difficult days I had worked out how to ignore the pain. I kept myself occupied and busy with study and housework. I managed to find reasons for being THANKFUL despite the thousands of questions that circulated around in my head like the spin cycle of a washing machine. For so many years my kids kept me sane and filled my life with purpose in the midst of feeling insecure and confused.

Life continued on as the sun went up and the sun went down. Days and months meshed into years’ worth of doing the best I could with what I had. In the meantime I was growing on the inside. I got stronger and wiser. I began to recognise my worth and value. The more I recognised my value the harder everything got in my relationship. I was no longer satisfied with how I felt treated. Eventually I found myself sticking up for myself!

I was able to say enough is enough!

In this new season of life while my heart is healing the sun comes up and the sun goes down. I’m growing in confidence in what I can achieve on my own. So far after eight months I have gotten my own place to live and a job. In the meantime I am growing stronger every day functioning in my new role as single mum. I don’t know what I am doing most of the time so it is a bit of a walk in the dark as I navigate new territory.

At work I often feel like I am in a boxing ring with myself and my doubts. The doubts start beating me into the corner while my determination fights back. I can’t afford for doubts to win.  I’m not used to being in the boxing ring by myself. I do have friends and family who have my back and support me outside the boxing ring yet it’s up to me to keep fighting through all of the challenges as I create a new life for myself and my two boys who live with me.

In the meantime as life continues it is all about going through the daily motions staying hopeful of better days to come. I often remind myself that it doesn’t matter if I don’t have it all together, it doesn’t all need to make sense. I can learn to enjoy the season I am in right now regardless of how it looks or feels.

In this new season I am a novice but soon enough I will have gained experience and confidence in my own decision making. I suppose as a young person I wasn’t very good at making the right decisions which led me to where I am today… Nothing is ever wasted or lost as I pick up the pieces and not only make a new life for myself and my two boys but use my story to encourage others who are in a similar situation.

In the meantime, as you remain hopeful for life to gain clarity and direction enjoy the moment!!! Every moment matters, enjoyment isn’t limited to the loud and exciting highlights we experience.

 

Mixed emotions…..

Are you feeling the pain of loss?

I get it !!!! so im keeping it real...

Mixed emotions can feel like pieces of you have just been cut up and put into a blender to be made into some kind of smoothie. Only this smoothie is bitter and tasteless, it’s one of those drinks you wouldn’t make for your worst enemy.

It sounds like a harsh recipe but life can be harsh sometimes!

When living through an extremely harsh time it can feel like you are slowly sipping that bitter tasteless smoothie by force. You don’t want to drink it but somehow it feels as though you’re being forced too.

While you are drinking this horrible drink you can see others enjoying their chocolate smoothie and you just wish you could swap with someone for just a moment and have a taste of something better instead of bitter.

The mixed emotions start to have a voice and all you can hear are the words “Why me?”

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Unfriendly **Reminders**

Life keeps us busy filling our minds to full capacity. The fuller the mind the more we start scribbling onto our calendars important reminders of events or errands which ensure we are sticking to our commitments. Those of us who are tech savvy like to use our computer calendars! Whichever way we choose to set up our all-important reminders the pressure to REMEMBER is lessened.

Events and errands chop and change from one week to the next yet the yearly all important dates we have celebrated every year are generally not put on the calendar as a reminder but rather a HIGHLIGHT of that day which builds anticipation. Families get together and celebrate birthdays!!! While couples take time out to remember anniversaries.

Having experienced a marriage breakup some seven and a half months ago I thought I would share about a confronting reminder that pops up particularly in the first year. Clearly the first year is the hardest for any difficult situation, whether a break up or a death in the family, both situations share in common GRIEF.

When a good or bad relationship falls apart significant reminders within that first year can be very confronting stirring up unwanted and painful emotions.

Not too many weekends ago it would have been our 28th Wedding Anniversary. During the week leading up to that day I experienced moments in which sadness overwhelmed me for short periods of time. It happened at work sitting in front of the computer while focused on doing my job. Background music in the office penetrated through my work focused brain and reminded me that my marriage was over! Sitting at the usual coffee spot for a bite of quick lunch a few days later set me off into fighting back tears of sadness, the tears lost their fight as I tried hard to compose myself in order to make my way back into the office.

The night before that dreaded DAY I spent a fun evening with my sisters. Waking up on the first broken anniversary I felt positive, I was convinced that the day was not going to get to me.  After all I had spent some tears already the week prior.

The day turned out beautifully as we visited a lovely country café with my gorgeous parents. The anniversary topic surfaced on several occasions that day, it seemed that I was doing well and I felt some relief thinking there was not going to be any emotional torrents of sadness anymore.

Despite all of my positivity a sudden flow of unexpected tears erupted later on in the afternoon as a large wave of sadness hit me, washing me over once again with GRIEF.

What would have been our anniversary was one of those REMINDERS that my marriage was finished. I felt similar emotions as we experienced our first Christmas after the break up.

It seems all the FIRSTS of special occasions pop up as reminders of what once was….

The intensity and frequency of grief changes, in the beginning it is as though you are out at sea helpless amidst natural forces as sadness and anger are relentless.  As time moves on the intensity softens as does the frequency. Daily sadness shifts into random moments often weeks apart.

Letting go of what once was can be one of the hardest experiences we face in life. When we have spent decades with someone whether it was good times or bad it’s impossible to simply move on instantly as though that person never existed. I often hear people say that dealing with the loss of a loved one who has passed is far easier to handle than a break up. People that have passed are physically gone forever. A partner no longer in a relationship with you is still out there living life. If you have kids with them the opportunities of having to interact are increased. In my situation while I have five children to my previous partner four of them are grown up adults living their own lives. While I do have a 9 year old to look after unfortunately his dad hasn’t been interested in keeping contact.  In some ways I can count myself lucky that I haven’t had to see my previous partner as I’m still under one year of break up and unable to comprehend having to see him any time soon.

I’m more than happy for additional time to pass before I need to cross that bridge. My hope is that  for whatever reason I have to face him one day down the track my heart will have healed enough that it won’t affect me anything like it would at this time.

That is possibly one of the worst parts about our break up story. The unhealthy marriage was dragged out for far too long which meant that the break up was extremely intense and painful. There was no adult discussion or mutual agreements.

Life is going to bring us unfriendly reminders. Breakups are painful. Anything that reminds us of pain is what we all want to avoid particularly in that first year! I’m more hopeful than I have been in a long time. The more my life moves on the less last year’s break up affects me.

Pain and hurt start falling behind like a competitor competing in a race only to find themselves coming last while your LIFE moves on and starts WINNING!!!

 

 

The Gift of Time …

Whether you wear a wrist watch or have several clocks around the house or better still carry your mobile phone on you at all times, you will have noticed that time doesn’t stop for anyone. Even if we were to turn off our clocks we don’t possess the power to turn off time….

Time began the minute the world existed.

From the moment you were born into this world you had in common with every other person “TIME”.

By now most of us are already shaking our heads at how fast 2017 has taken off! It is approaching the end of February.

Traveling through 2016 felt as though it were on slow speed like a bad internet connection. So much pain and heart break filled the last half of that year for me and my kids. On so many occasions it truly felt like life was being incredibly unkind and cruel.

When you hurt it is only normal to feel that way.

Is it true that TIME heals all wounds?

I obviously can’t speak for everyone however I can speak for myself… Last year felt as though time for me was an enemy I was fighting.

I felt sad, angry and hurt for much of the last part of 2016.

It has taken everything for me to keep my head up and continue moving forward,

as what other choice do you have in these situations.

When life turns upside down and you are left with nothing (financially speaking) you must start again. No amount of time analysing the WHY’s of how unfair it was being left with nothing was going to help me.

My journey began in the Centrelink office asking for financial assistance as a single mum. They were surprisingly helpful on that first day I walked in empty on all levels. As helpful as they have been the money is only just enough to get by. There is no shopping till your dropping!

I’ve had to be very patient in terms of getting everything that I need. My family and friends have all been there in so many wonderful ways providing furniture to fridges in order for me to start again. My heart is filled with gratitude every time I think about what has been given to me.

Six and a half months have since passed from the first moment I drove myself back into Canberra not comprehending what had just happened to my life. Despite the ups and downs it has been TIME which has been consistent throughout.

In this New Year TIME has been moving me forward in various positive ways. Determination and patience has now provided me with a job. The location and hours are so ideal that it is as though someone tailored the job perfectly for me. While it is only a 3 month contract there is the hope that it gets extended.

Life is looking up!!!

The TIME which has filled up the past few months has been a gift of progressive healing. All of the vulnerabilities and pain have been turning into confidence and happiness. Time itself has shown me the deep cracks that were in my life, the ones I wasn’t aware of.

I was broken in my marriage.

Anything broken is vulnerable and weak.

I was weak!

Time is giving me the opportunity of becoming whole again. As I see more clearly how impacted I  was in the situation I was stuck in for so long, it has helped me to recognise that while I am not perfect, no one deserves to be treated as rubbish.

Time has a way of showing the truth! When you are in the middle of messes it can be hard to get clarity. Having been away from the mess has shown me the difference of abnormal living to normal living. The best word to describe abnormal living would be the word “toxic”.

I’ve had TIME to begin figuring out who I am all over again.

The real me!

The real me was always pushed down and treated with very little value and respect. There may have been occasions in which the ‘real me’ made an appearance yet it was always short lived.

Let TIME be your friend.

If you’re a young person looking to get married take all the TIME you need to make sure you are choosing someone who is going to treat you with respect and value. Don’t be in such a rush that you ignore the most important parts which keep a relationship healthy and most importantly is healthy for YOU.

Whether a relationship was not all that bad or a relationship was toxic there is still a process to journey through once there is a break up.

This week I’ve experienced the raw emotions returning on a few occasions with deep cries that were hard to stop.

It took me by surprise!

One may think that the worst is over however the emotions and heart are in need of time to grieve and heal. While our routines are changed and we no longer live with that person our emotions and heart are still the same. There are no quick 5 minute microwave fixes in restoring those wounds.

As frustrating as time can be depending upon the situation you find yourself in, time itself can be an enemy or a friend.

We need to get through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff!

Break ups often appear to happen instantly yet it takes a lot of time to get to that point. In much the same way we can expect a lot of time in order to recover from the break up.

I’ve yet to discover whether there is ever a full and complete healing. Does one ever truly get over a broken marriage 100%?

Life can Hurt so I’m keeping it Real…..

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The need to Escape (hide or run)

Every now and then the need to escape life’s challenges can have us digging deep trenches for disappearing or may provide us with speedy athletic legs to help us make a run for it. Challenges often create powerful emotions which are often difficult to handle so we go searching for an escape method. To escape from powerful emotions we may be tempted to stuff our faces with chocolate, cake and cookies while we hide in our homemade trench.  The trench happens to be opposite the t.v. which plays our favourite movies over and over again filled with fake storylines providing temporary relief from our own reality.

When I was just a young kindergartener I remember walking into the classroom on my very first day of school unable to understand the English language as I had been bought up speaking Finnish. It was overwhelming to be amongst an army of kids that I could not understand nor communicate with. The moment the challenge of the language barrier became too overwhelming I made a run for it out of the school grounds all the way back home. The school was conveniently within a good walking distance of our family home.  I escaped school on many occasions!!!

It is never easy when circumstances are opposing. Even as an adult you can’t help but wonder whether you have been put on ‘Santa’s naughty list’ for the whole entire year.

The mind can begin believing that since bad things are happening I must be a bad person.

That theory gets thrown out the window as soon as you take a good hard look at yourself and recognise that despite your imperfections in general you are not a bad person, therefore why all these difficult scenarios?

So it seems that opposition or challenges happen to good people and bad people. No person is safe from life’s incredible challenges. Everyone is going to have a trying time at some stage.

Opposition is resistance.

It may be a person in your life who is opposing you! Stopping you from moving forward, they may be in such an advantageous position that the obstacles they are throwing on your path have a major effect on your life. It’s often baffling as to how a person can have so much time and energy into making life difficult.

We may sense the resistance circumstantially. It could be the challenge of trying to find a job, which is one of my current challenges.  After applying for jobs left, right and centre you start feeling as though the world has gone silent on you. All you want is an employer’s attention and time so as you have the possibility of getting employment.

Once you are dealing with unforgiving resistance in your circumstances whether it is with employment or with people the resistance often snowballs.

For me it snowballs into my thinking!

Then I am coming against resistance in my mind. The doubts start playing space invaders with a galaxy full of fears. The mind becomes another battle ground. All of the possible reasoning’s I come up with for why life is being so difficult is enough to provide material to write a script for a new movie.

When opposition or resistance is at its best circumstantially or in our minds the need to escape fragile emotions triggers all sorts of reactions.

For myself it shows up in eating sugary treats to becoming so overwhelmed within myself that I struggle to make the most of my day. The day sort of turns into a dud like a blank bullet, the shell exists yet there is no power in it.

Resistance builds strength!

Personally resistance is not my best friend. If I can avoid it, I will. However, it seems there are times in which resistance is unavoidable. Most of us have heard the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”!!! As much as I am aware that hard times do make you stronger it doesn’t make it any easier getting through it.

I may not react as much to this current circumstance as I would have years ago yet it doesn’t make it less painful.

As a first time single mum the resistance is felt that much more. When in a marriage or relationship any resistance can be split between the two of you. It gives you that extra support to make it. I’m learning how much more I need to grow in strength as this new life of mine has changed my responsibilities as it is up to me to get things accomplished!

On certain days I just escape into my bedroom, my safe haven…. Just long enough to give those emotions permission to feel. A good cry never killed anyone. If you need to cry then cry, why try and push it down and pretend that you are OK when you know that you are not.

The good news is that powerful emotions are not turned on permanently! Opposition and resistance might continue to be present for some time yet the negative affect it has on you wears out over time compared to how strong it is in the beginning. Which fits in nicely with the saying: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

We do grow stronger with resistance…

The way that I would have responded to challenges as a young person is quite different to how I respond now. I have grown stronger over time. I overcame the language barrier and kept going to school until I finished. I had other challenges that took over once I could speak the language.

As we venture through life it helps to look back long enough to remember the challenges you have already overcome! You made it and you are still breathing….

This past six months for those of you who have followed my journey would have gotten a tiny picture of the challenges I have been faced with, perhaps you can also relate them to your challenges. I’m looking forward to the day I can write about these challenges turning into triumphs!

It will come, I know it….

Be inspired and most of all remember to keep SMILING 😀

Break the mold before it bre/aks you.

Have you ever heard people say, “you’ve been cut from the same mold?”.  In other words you are almost a copy of someone significant in your life usually a parent. That’s only expected as members of families’ share the same genes’ and have grown up together developing similar habits and patterns throughout their upbringing. This sets families apart from others; it gives you an identity of belonging somewhere closely knitted amongst a big spacious world.

There comes a time in any family in which children grow up and begin to make their own journey discovering who they are on their own two feet. Deciding for themselves which parts of what they have learned means something to them. Whether it be carrying on a Christmas Tradition or other type of celebration that has given a family their own signature.

It is wonderful to appreciate our heritage and where we come from as a person. It gives us our own uniqueness in a world that doesn’t always appreciate the differences in people.

How about the molds people put us in?

As parents we may put expectations on our children which restrict them to be themselves. We may place our vision of the future onto them expecting that they follow a path we have chosen. We think we know best! The child may feel unable to wander into a direction that is not in line with what you as the parent have been dreaming of. Of course as parents we have every good intention for our children. We want what is best for them. We ourselves have traveled through life making mistakes hoping to prevent those same mistakes from being repeated.

Perhaps you are your own worst enemy?

We don’t always need people to place restrictions upon us. We can quite easily manage that for ourselves when we keep holding onto the things that didn’t work out. Our failures can keep us believing we will always fail. Our disappointments and hurts keep us stuck in the same place perhaps for years.

We are after all creatures of habit? Settling all too easily into patterns of thinking and behaving which keep us comfortable. We all like comfort. That place of familiarity and comfort can be dangerous. Especially if it involves a relationship with someone who repeatedly breaks you down until you turn into a person you were never intended to be!

If it isn’t enough to deal with our own negatives voices in our head we often have other people’s voices guiding our next move. If you have ever been in a long term relationship with someone who causes you emotional harm and has managed to manipulate your life you would be familiar with what I am talking about. It’s quite frightening to stand on your own two feet breaking out of the mold of manipulation. Your own sense of knowing has been lost along the way, as you’ve been made to feel like you don’t know what you are doing. The ocean of doubts can be deafening.

Now that I am six months into this journey of single mum no longer in a damaging marriage relationship I’m discovering on a regular basis all of the restrictions that have kept me from being myself. At times it may feel like you’re never going to relax and have the freedom of knowing who you truly are. It takes tonnes of courage to do things you may have never done before for fear of it not working. Almost like an animal that has been locked up in a cage for years and when set free the animal chooses to go back in the cage as it feels comfortable and safe.

This is precisely why unhealthy relationships can be so damaging to a person. It isn’t something to joke about or make light of as it is so much more serious than one can ever imagine. It is very difficult for a person who has been so broken to bounce back again, as they have to fight through every imaginable lie and fear to get to the other side of where freedom is waiting for them. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve had to battle with all sorts of thoughts and fears.

I can however encourage you by saying that as you just keep moving through each fear one by one they start to lose power. Yes it is frightening! Yes it is very uncomfortable! And YES it may or may not work out as there are never any guarantees in life. Yet you have the choice to risk it and step out of that place of doubt and failure testing the waters for something opposite to what you have ever experienced.

We often believe we deserve the same as what we have always had. It gives us an excuse to stay the same and keep holding onto our fears. Until we decide to do things afraid we will stay where we are and never move forward. As much as I could so easily settle and remain the same in my comfort zone I know it will continue restricting me. I may still carry hurt that needs healing however I’ve discovered that the more I choose to break out of the mold of manipulation and emotional hurt from my previous long term relationship the more I am experiencing healing.

If I choose to stay where I am perhaps the healing will have no opportunity to present itself?

What does healing look like?

Well for me healing is noticeable as I become aware that I am smiling a lot more often rather than feeling anxious and stressed out. I’m learning to trust people and myself again. All those dreams in my life that got squashed for some time are slowly bubbling to the surface reminding me that there is still hope to fulfill the purpose I was created for. Confidence is returning, confidence in my choices and decisions.

In times past I would have lost momentum and motivation in a heartbeat as my life circumstance taught me that while something might be going well for a week it won’t last as drama is only around the corner. It was a constant cycle of ups and down’s. I could have sat in a field of flowers picking petals one by one repeating the phrase “life is normal, no it’s not, life is normal, not it’s not”…..

What’s trying to break you?

Embrace who YOU are…

Today’s internet gives us access to information from all sorts of places. From the personal blog page (like mine) to the more professional websites providing advice to individuals everywhere about topics such as; being your true self. When I was younger I don’t recall hearing about the topic of being your true self very often, if at all. It was perhaps the biggest issue that I struggled with from a very young age.

OK so not everyone is struggling to be themselves… There are those that have no second thoughts about living life to the full and enjoying who they are. These people have less holding them back as they are not concerned of what other people think. They are focused on their goals and continue pushing through with or without resistance. It would be safe to say they are comfortable with who they are so people’s opinions don’t really concern them so much.

Unlike these types of people who can keep going with or without resistance since I was younger I always cared about what people thought of me. The minute someone let me know they didn’t like me my reaction was to hide similar to a turtle going back into its shell. The idea of someone ‘not liking’ me sent me deeper into my thought life. My thoughts were consumed with trying to understand what made me unlikeable! I often wondered how anyone could say they didn’t like me when they didn’t even really know me.

How often do we make judgments about someone based on their appearance or personality and assume what that person is like? We are all guilty of not taking the time to get to know people before we all too quickly judge them as not worth knowing. It would be better to give people an opportunity to show who they are, as not everyone can be themselves in an instant. For some people it takes time to warm up to others before they feel safe and uncomfortable to be truly themselves.

Taking time to warm up to someone was how I eventually expressed more of my true self to people. I hid behind my insecurities and vulnerabilities. I needed to know that I was safe to be myself before I could allow others to see me for who I was. Naturally my personality is more on the introverted side, although some people have told me they believe I am actually an extrovert in hiding.

Either way I do take my time to show people the real me, the real me that expresses herself with laughter on many occasions. My words may be few in conversation yet I do take thought into what I say and like it to mean something. I’m a deep thinker and I feel everything. I’m often found analysing people and wondering what it is that makes them tick. I watch their moods and consider whether something may be going on that is troubling them?

My nature is sensitive, caring and compassionate. It bothers me to see people upset or hurt. This is the reason why I took up studying psychology in the first place. My heart is to help and support others in whichever way I can. Usually I simply listen. I don’t always have much to say. I listen and do my best to hear what people are saying. I put myself in their shoes to try and understand what life is like according to their experiences.

Being such a sensitive and emotionally in tune person wasn’t always something that I embraced. There have been many occasions in which I had wished I were less sensitive & louder. Why louder you may ask? Throughout so much of my childhood and adulthood I was often described as the quiet one!!! When I was working in a homewares store several years ago they had an end of year Christmas Party. All of the employees got a small gift that described the type of person they were seen as. Naturally in theme of being thought of as ‘quiet’ I got a tiny little mouse which was to sit on the dashboard of my car. I was handed the gift in amusement by the boss stating “this is for you Anu, you’re always so quiet, so we thought we’d get you this tiny mouse”.

AHHH once again, quiet Anu!!!!

To try and get rid of that identity was never going to happen. In much the same way as actors who have started their careers when young try to convince their audience years later that they have  grown up.

The downside to my personality is that I don’t find it easy to confront people when needed. Although this part of me has grown over the years. I can all too easily let very important issues slide. While I know the issues are there and they bother me for fear of confrontation I can turn a blind eye for far too long. This obviously worked against me in my failed marriage. Had I been able to stand my ground at the very beginning of my marriage perhaps things might have been different?

It is through all of my painful mistakes or failures that I have learnt more about embracing myself for who I am. No longer does it bother me so much that I am sensitive or compassionate. I love being sensitive and compassionate. It allows me to be there for people in so many different circumstances. I don’t just listen, I hear!

Having been in a very difficult marriage has taught me to stand up for myself. I have learnt that I do have a say and my thoughts are important. If a partner isn’t going to value me for me then why keep painfully hanging around hoping for change when change never happens.

Please hear me out!

I’m not talking about the normal marriage issues relationships have, I’m talking about the damaging unhealthy patterns, the ones that involve psychological or emotional abuse, or for some sadly physical abuse.

As we start out in life we have strengths and weaknesses within us that make us who we are. Throughout life these strengths and weaknesses become sharpened. We learn from our experiences and become better at putting these parts of us to good use. It is almost as if life starts to balance us out as we get older.

To be our true selves I don’t think give us a licence to run over people. I don’t think it means we do whatever we want, whenever we want it. That speaks of selfishness. Living life to please oneself alone is unsatisfying. In much the same way I don’t think it gives us the freedom to tell people what we think whenever we get the urge. Everything needs to be done in the right way with the right heart.

If in embracing your true self involves disrespecting people or treating others as ‘nothing’ then I would say that there is something wrong which needs to be looked into.

If we are genuinely embracing who we are,

we automatically embrace others respectably.

Afraid to Feel ….

When life has hit you with a massive blow leaving your feelings scattered on what feels like a hot and dry desert it is difficult to phantom ever to pick those scattered pieces back up again. Feelings that have been left out in a desert to dry up and be forgotten like a ghost town in an olden day cowboy movie leaves you walking around as an empty shell. All of the equipment to keep you functioning is still present however those ‘feelings’ you once held close have settled back in time where everything  went wrong.

To feel makes you human! We have been created to experience emotions from devastated to ecstatic. Usually experiencing more of the in between of both extremes. Whether it be a moment in life that left you devastated or an ongoing battle that leaves you exhausted, those feelings or emotions seem to be in what I can only describe as ‘protection mode’. To feel gives you the potential of being hurt. When you have been hurt enough you start to NOT want to feel.

It is almost like an automated version of yourself keeps doing everything necessary from day to day yet holding back from allowing to ‘feel’. You may struggle to let yourself feel happy, positive, excited and adventurous.

Regular disappointment has a way of scaring you into a corner, reminding you that if you allow yourself to be happy you may get disappointed all over again. Once you have experienced enough letdowns in life it is difficult to believe for anything to change? You become accustomed to life not working out for you. You begin to believe that life only works for other people.

Nearly six months has passed now from personally experiencing a devastating blow to every part of what makes me…. ME! As I sit here thinking about the past six months and every moment that has come and gone such as Christmas and New Year I recognise that it’s all a bit of a blur. While I know that I have in fact been going through all of the motions to get by, I’m also aware that my feelings have been on holiday in that dry desert back there in 2016.

Those pieces of myself that are still back in 2016 are waiting for me to go back at some point to pick them up.

How long that will take I have no idea?

I may experience tiny glimmers of happy feelings now and then yet I know that the most part of me is still back where the hurtful event took place.  A couple of months ago I told my counsellor that I find it hard to believe I could ever be happy in the future. She went on to say that when someone has experienced A LOT of disappointment in their lives or relationships it is only normal to feel as though it is impossible to ever experience HAPPY! She continued by telling me I should just dip my toe into different situations and allow myself to feel happy.

It is scary to consider the possibility of being happy. It is so much easier to sit back here where the feelings are protected from any further devastation.

Perhaps as more time passes those long lost feelings once held close, the ones that make you, YOU, have the courage to come back. Once those feelings return do we have the courage to hold on to them or do we send them back to where they were for so long?

It is good and healthy to guard our emotions, to not allow for them to be misused or misplaced in the same way. From my perspective having experienced such hurt and betrayal has left me wondering if it will ever be possible to trust again.

When significant people in our lives have left us hurt and broken it is only understandable to remain guarded for some time. The time it takes to bring those guards down who knows? There are no rules for how long it takes to heal. We are each unique in our personalities and experiences so what may take someone six months to heal could take another twelve months.

While I had thought most of my sadness had disappeared I’ve been surprised at how unexpectedly the tears can invade any given moment of my day. The important part to this is that we allow ourselves to experience those moments of sadness. Tears themselves are healing.

It’s OK to cry.

It’s OK to admit that you can’t do it on your own.

It’s OK to have a lapse along the way.

It’s OK to not feel OK.

Of course we are going to hurt when devastating situations happen in our lives. To not hurt would mean we have no feelings to begin with. Everyone has some experiences in life which impact our sense of self. We feel trapped in the fear that it may happen again. Somewhere along the way though comes a time in which we must accept that to live life to the full we need to take risks. These risks don’t need to be huge ones simply tiny ones to begin with.

With every tiny step (risk) you can rebuild those areas that have been lost such as; trusting in others again. We have to believe that not everyone out there is going to hurt us the way someone else has. It’s wise to take it slow in any sort of relationship whether it is a new friendship or potential partner.

There is still good people out there!

Good people will be supportive of your journey and appreciate the fears you may have in trusting again.

You may feel as though you have lost yourself, despite that reality continue to interact with others as they may help you to find YOU!

Life can hurt so I’m keeping it REAL…