Setbacks<<<

Setbacks can be circumstantial, or a part of a recovery process. When we experience setbacks in our circumstances we can become frustrated. As an example we may be traveling well in our finances satisfied that our savings are on the increase as opposed to decreasing. Then unexpectedly a situation occurs in which those savings must be accessed due to an unforeseen expenditure. Suddenly we feel as though we are going backward as there are no savings left. With every good intention of saving some dollars for the future we are faced with having to start saving again.

Good intentions don’t prevent setbacks.

We may be recovering from something physical such as a broken bone or a debilitating illness. The future is looking bright however another setback occurs!

Setbacks can leave us feeling disappointed or confused. Especially when hopeful that life was looking up, finally…..

Life often resembles one step forward and ten steps back.

Most of humanity would agree that moving forward is always so much better and natural, who likes to take steps backward?

Why would anyone in their right mind want to revisit the past especially when the intention was to move forward, to a better place.

The reality is that we all recover at different speeds.

For broken bones to heal often times surgery is required as the fracture is quite bad and needs extra assistance for recovery.

Then we have our emotions and feelings.

Dependent upon what we have gone through in our life experience, the recovery time can vary.

There are a myriad of situations that can happen to an individual however I’m going to talk about my experience for a moment as I’m speaking from a current, passionate and open heart.

If you have been following my blogs over the past 9 months or so you would have read about some of my own personal struggles in terms of marriage break up and the unhealthy relationship that I struggled through which finally ended.

Unless you have been in an unhealthy emotionally/psychologically damaging relationship it can be quite hard to grasp the impact it has on a person. The impact goes deep and challenges a person on so many levels.

The wrestling that goes on in your mind at times can be overwhelming. The longer you have lived with someone in a relationship in which you were programmed to mistrust others including yourself the harder it is to overcome.

Trusting one’s own judgement or the lack thereof is what keeps a person in an unhealthy emotionally damaging relationship. It took me years to find out that in fact it was NOT NORMAL to be in such a struggle. Having had my eyes opened to the reality that the relationship was in fact unhealthy and was never going to change has moved me on to a brighter future with every good intention of not going through the same experience again.

There is much unraveling to do on my part emotionally speaking. Everything that I learned in order to cope I need to unlearn.

I have to learn that it is OK to speak about my feelings, fears and thoughts. That even though I was in a marriage in which speaking about my feelings usually resulted in world war III that it was not my fault. Every human has a right to talk about their feelings.

My feelings were mostly irrelevant and portrayed as something which was a fault that I carried. I was made to believe my feelings I experienced at various times were something I needed to put a stop too. The trouble was that the other party was always doing or saying things that hurt my feelings.

Unless you are someone with absolutely no feelings at all you cannot expect to stop hurting when someone hurts you. It’s as ridiculous as believing if someone hits you that you are not allowed to hurt!

It is the hurting that lets us know something is in fact wrong!!!

Our bodies are wired that way. Our bodies tell us when we feel pain that something is wrong and that we need to tend to it.

Emotional pain is no different.

On this journey that I have been on I’ve experienced myself overcoming and moving away from the ways in which I previously had to cope. In saying that though there have been times of setback!

I’ve been revisiting various emotions at different stages. Certain situations can trigger me back to those places. Suddenly I may find myself back in that place of mistrust, unsure if my own judgement is correct or whether other people can be trusted. I may find myself scrutinizing situations far more than another person would.

Why? Simply because I’m determined not to go through the same experience I have come away from.

Everything within me wishes that I didn’t need to be so fragile or sensitive.

The trouble is that when you have been hurt to such a depth and treated very poorly for a long time the journey to recovery can be long and require a lot from you.

Situations that look anything similar to what you have come away from can have you shaking in your boots for fear of going through it again. It may be just one word, phrase or body language.

The only way through, is THROUGH!

As scary as it is with all the setbacks and fears the only option to recovery is moving forward despite every battle you face in your mind. The recovery may take longer than anticipated however it will come.

I’m not out of the woods yet.

I’m aware that there will possibly be many moments in the future I will need to face my fears and overcome those mind games that start replaying and repeating previous scenarios I have been through.

Trust the process.

Look for the small wins!

Be kind to yourself and others while you are in the process of healing.

Don’t despair if you find yourself setback for a moment you will eventually move forward regaining more ground and eventually becoming the person you always knew you were.

♥♥

 

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The Wholesome Reality

Quality is everything. How much are we willing to overlook it when impatience has us making quick and hasty decisions?  Life is often about what we can get with no time to wait. Companies have capitalised on this human flaw multiplying $$$ dollars. They market us with cheap products so that we can own it faster. It’s all in the numbers rather than the quality of the product itself.

It’s about fast & quick!

It’s about saving time and making more.

It’s about beating the competition.

It’s about getting in and out as quick as you can.

We are living in a world of numbers and duplication with very little patience. Companies and individuals strive to get $$$ dollars into their bank accounts often overlooking quality and long term consequences.

We do this in relationships.

We rush in without a second thought.

The dream of having that perfect marriage/family/house can have us rushing the process.

As a young person I rushed into marriage without thinking about the consequences. Marriage in itself is not bad by any means, it can be wonderful. It is more about the person you are marrying, who are they? Are they someone of quality? Are they right for you?

My dream was to have a family that owned their home and had built financial security ensuring their children had a good start to life. To be married to a man who was respected in the community/family/friendship groups, a man who was successful on every level in particular a man of good character. I’ve dreamed of having a man that is respected and admired, who loves/protects his family/wife and cares deeply for his children.

This picture I’ve painted sounds achievable and normal to some. Perhaps you are one of the fortunate who can say they have all of that and more.

I’m certain I speak for many who have visualised the same as I have yet reality proves to be the opposite.

IF you can imagine for a moment a house made of bricks. Every brick layered on top of another brick perfectly in line, the brick work giving the house an overall appearance of how a house should look. Windows and doors all measured into place. The house has been built to plan to ensure time frames and budgets are followed.   Tradesmen follow the plan and do their best to put everything where it needs to be. The final product is eventually complete and there you have a house.

For some of us our lives don’t quite work to plan all accurately measured and tidy.

Mine didn’t.

Despite the dreams I held in my heart over the past few decades my life has not been that of a house with perfectly lined bricks with windows and doors in place. My life resembles that of an olden day style house perhaps built with stones. Different sized stones. One stone placed upon another stone. It doesn’t have an appearance of perfection it has an appearance of character and hard work. There are very few smooth edges and a lot of bumps and rough corners. The average house can take up to 6 months to build my life resembles a house which has taken many years and is still incomplete. My life is like that building you drive past which is looking incomplete after many years of construction.

Every stone that has been placed upon another stone in my life has come from all sorts of difficult circumstances. These stones are held in place by tears mixed with loneliness, confusion, pain, hurt, anxiety and even depression at times. Every stone and layer represents wholesome lessons learned and healing from pain. Unlike the straw house depicted in the children’s rhyme with the pig huffing and puffing and blowing that house down, my life having been built by heavy stones has progressively been growing stronger by the day.

Anything of quality takes time and effort with a lot of patience.

How often do we buy into products advertised and sold in large numbers only to be disillusioned once the product breaks down in a short time or once we realise the product doesn’t really do what they claimed it would do!!!

The truth is we often go through the hard stuff to get to the good stuff!

Having been in an unhealthy marriage and a roller coaster ride over the past few decades I appreciate life very differently now.

I love the fact that I can walk into my little unit knowing that I can relax without the fear I used to live with of what was going to happen next week or next month? My life was up and down and insecure, filled with contradictions and instability. I lost trust in the people I should have trusted the most. I even lost trust in myself.

Everything was a big fat question mark?????

I was always reliant on my ex-husband. I believed most things he told me even though the facts in front of me showed otherwise. In order to survive living in the relationship I had to push down my own values and what I held dear. To leave the relationship was unthinkable although I had thought about it on several occasions. The trouble was that I had the fear that God was going to smite me if I left.

That’s another topic right there!

Spiritual control was equally as strong in the relationship as was the emotional control.

As quick as we can be at buying those products which are lacking quality we can be equally as quick at settling for a partner that lacks wholesome character. A person can say all of the right things yet who they really are is shown in what they do.

I was sold on what I was hearing and led to believe.

The battle always began when actions were opposite to what I was told. Any questions I had were diffused with convincing sets of answers. Often my questions were turned back onto me. In psychology they call this ‘gas lighting’ in which the victim is always questioning their own reality.

Essentially what I am saying is don’t settle for anything less than good quality.

Be patient!

Don’t rush it!

As every decision we make will have consequences for the rest of our lives. Of course we can’t live in a bubble and think we will avoid every problem in life however we certainly can minimise the difficulties if we just consider our decisions that little bit longer.

Know-How develops with experience

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!!!!

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.

 

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…..

Continue reading →

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…

Is the Price too High?

Call me a penny pincher if you must but I’ve always been a person that doesn’t like wasting money on something I want or need to buy. I’m the sort of person that likes to investigate the options available with the hope that I can purchase an item for much less elsewhere.

This Christmas my shopping was minimal due to my peanut budget and life change, I held back on buying an item for my nine year old as I wasn’t satisfied with the cost. Waiting and sweating it out saved me some money which was exactly what I was hoping for. I happened to walk into the store on an unexpected ‘one day sale’. My patience paid off as I managed to buy my sons main Christmas present for less.

How much of what we see in shops is overpriced?

Assuming for a moment that I lived with more than a peanut budget, I don’t think it would change how I feel about wasting money. For me it is a matter of principle, I just can’t bring myself to pay more than I should. I know full well it won’t be long until a particular item I looked at buying will eventually be marked down. When I can buy something that has been marked down a sense of satisfaction leaves me feeling content as it results in saving some money. My bank account isn’t emptied nor do I need to sit at home regretting my decision.

In reality clothes are clothes, shoes are shoes, toys are toys and so on…. The differences between the cost of clothes for instance is determined by where you are looking to buy them. Designer clothes are going to cost you more than the clothes you buy from a department store. Most people are satisfied that designer wear will cost them more. They are willing to spend on the quality of the material and its design as it’s not merely an item that has been stitched together only to last for a few weeks. That being said I’ve never bought designer wear! I can see the sense in spending more on quality I’ve just never had the money to do that.

Where am I going with this you might be wondering?

As I was thinking about the idea for this blog I thought about how much I have paid in my relationships over the years. By relationships I refer to any type of one, whether it is a marriage, girlfriend/boyfriend, friend, sibling, parents or associates.

In terms of relationships I’ve always found it more difficult to recognise how much I am willing to pay. There is always a cost in terms of your time, energy and other resources we all have access to. Relationships require an investment from you. It isn’t about money but rather a giving of yourself to someone. Depending on the type of relationship determines how much you give or invest into the other person.

Often times though it doesn’t matter how much we invest into someone the other person may not be as invested into us. It could be a friendship in which the other person is only thinking about what they can get from you.

It reminds me of a time years ago when I lived in Sydney. I had a friend that used to ring me pretty much every day. She often called me and spoke for hours. I had young children and plenty of chores to do throughout the day yet somehow I was willing to give hours of my time to this person. I thought I was doing the right thing? However over time I began realising that she was only focused on herself and draining me in the process. I got to a point in which I had nothing left for my own children. I was oblivious to the fact that she was constantly taking from me everything that I had. She wasn’t satisfied with her life and found it hard to make the necessary changes for things to change! Her life was going around in circles and while I had good intentions I was also going around in circles with her.  I needed to jump off that ride!

I was exhausted on every level; emotionally, mentally and physically…..

There is nothing wrong with being there for a friend however you need to consider at what cost? Sometimes people only want to hear what they want to hear!

In a marriage relationship you are invested completely. All of who you are is shared with another person. For a marriage to be successful both partners need to invest completely. It isn’t enough for one partner to invest emotionally when the other may be holding back. Eventually the one giving emotionally will start feeling empty.

We often hear people say that you need to keep yourself happy. Yes that is true however if you are in a relationship with someone and your significant other is not providing anything back the relationship will lose connection and intimacy. For a relationship to work it requires both partners to take the time by investing into each other. Putting in zero investment equals zero return!

Money is important and we should take measures to manage it as best we can but what about the other resources such as; our emotions, heart, physical and mental state.

Do we continue investing into a relationship until we are so empty that we can’t even take care of ourselves anymore?

I do believe in loyalty and commitment in a relationship. I’m also aware that in many circumstances and in different seasons you will often find yourself investing more into a relationship than perhaps you are getting back and vice versa.  However there comes a time when you need to take a good look at things if you are falling apart and unraveling into a nervous wreck. ….

Not every relationship needs to fall apart.

Some do and some don’t.

Mine did unfortunately!

I can however live with myself knowing that I did everything possible for far too long in trying to make something work that was never going to move beyond certain foundational issues. These issues were damaging and unhealthy. The amount of times that I personally experienced high levels of anxiety and stress due to the relationship should have been enough to wake me up. I was so determined to “do the right thing” that I overlooked areas I should not have ignored. It got so bad towards the end that I had what I believe to be a nervous breakdown the night before exiting the marriage. I had well and truly reached the limits of what I could take.  There was nothing left in me, I was completely empty. My heart had closed off and I was aware that there was absolutely nothing that I could do to repair the damage that had been done. The price that I had already paid up until that point was enormous.

I appreciate the difficultly in coming to terms with a partner not being as invested into a relationship with you as much as you might want them to be. Consider how much you are willing to pay in order to keep trying. If the cost sends you bankrupt with no hope of recovery it’s time to pay attention to what is going on. The longer you ignore the issues the more damage occurs.

Perhaps when issues are sorted earlier rather than later there is more hope in restoration?

Again that depends if both parties are willing and wanting to have a great relationship. In my case I went above and beyond for many years with no success.

The results speak for themselves today!

It isn’t hard to accept that quality items are going to cost more financially as much as quality relationships are built on both partners investing everything of themselves.

The question is whether the relationship is one of quality? Is it a genuine and healthy relationship? Or a strained unhealthy damaging relationship?

Wisdom in the Ordinary

If you were to grab a set of scales and measure how many ordinary days exist compared to the extraordinary what would you find? I have no doubt after spending over four decades on planet earth that the scales measuring the ordinary days would far outweigh some of the extraordinary times of our lives.

Life is jam-packed with ordinary moments. Grocery shopping is but one of them.  A lot of people I talk to express a certain dislike towards shopping, especially for the groceries.  We all have to do it, unless of course you have escaped it with the convenience of online shopping. Grocery shopping is one of the most ordinary weekly tasks we accomplish. Not too much thought is given for this vital and ordinary chore and until recently I hadn’t thought too much of it myself.

If you have been following my blogs in the recent months you would be aware of how much my life has changed. I live in a different state with my nine year old son as a single mum. All of my adult children live approximately 16 hour’s drive away. Given this huge adjustment everything about what my life previously was no longer exists. No longer can I simply hang out with my adult children. No longer can I pop over to my favourite shopping mall to do the groceries. No longer do I go to the same church. No longer do I go out for coffees with my daughter and have laughing fits enough to provide a serious abdomen workout.

A few days ago I saw a t.v. commercial which reminded me of the vegetable and fruit shop I used to go to. The ordinary suddenly held meaning!!!  All of a sudden I was transported to that particular shop in my thoughts and began picturing all the aisles filled with fruit and vegetables. I could picture the checkout that I would stand at to pay for my groceries. I remembered life as a complete family and re lived a moment as I carefully choose all the ingredients to cook a meal for dinner. My attachment to that fruit and vegetable shop is from a time when we were a complete family.

The fruit and vegetable shop is only one example of many ordinary moments that have recently invaded my thoughts. It isn’t easy to let go. Despite all of the hurt that I have been through in my marriage it amazes me how my mind can wander to everything that once was! It is difficult to let go of a family that once lived together sharing special moments. I loved being a mum to my children and I still do.

It seems that regardless of the hurt or pain of the recent past I often remember the ordinary. Little did I know that my usual grocery shopping would not only change location but would be downsized for feeding two? All of the ordinary moments hold extra meaning for me today. Perhaps remembering the previous ordinary moments helps me to adjust to the loss I have experienced providing a moment of connection to my adult children whom I miss a lot.

It seems that the ordinary days are just as important as the extra ordinary. In any given day the common thread connecting Monday to Sunday are people! People hold value, which is why it hurts so much when a relationship breaks down. I don’t think anyone intentionally sets out to ruin a relationship. Unfortunately life happens! People make choices. Those choices have consequences whether good or bad. It is the bad consequences which are very difficult to un~do.

The ordinary days provide opportunities to build trust and connection with the people in our lives. Often people forget or don’t realise there is consequences to what they do in the ordinary moments of a relationship. Consequences have a way of sticking around no matter how much you want them to disappear.

TRUST is a big one!

When a person’s trust has been broken too many times there is no magical super glue to put it back together. If I am in a relationship with someone who continually breaks my trust it won’t matter how desperately I try to trust them again, the consequence is broken trust. There will be reservation on my end. I will not open myself up to the other person completely. A relationship without trust is a disaster waiting to happen. It creates distance.

Relationships need trust, respect, honesty, support, love, care, appreciation, value and forgiveness. In the ordinary moments relationships are built on these qualities. Families fall apart when in the ordinary moments the essential values are neglected.

A healthy relationship or family need more than vegetables and fruit to thrive. Each person in the relationship must provide the qualities needed to keep it thriving. A relationship takes two people. Let’s face it we have more ordinary days than extra ordinary! What we do every day either builds or tears down. When one person in a relationship puts in and receives nothing but emptiness and hurt in return it is only a matter of time before a break up completes the struggle.

Wisdom tells us that since there are more ordinary days than extra ordinary we shouldn’t take them for granted. Ordinary days are the building blocks for the extra ordinary. What we do or say today will matter tomorrow. We need to take the time to consider what we want our tomorrow to look like?

Time is precious and we don’t get another practise run. People should be the focus of our ordinary days. Our relationships and families need to be on top of the list. While we can’t do anything about how others prioritise the most important people in their lives we can choose to do something about our own choices and priorities. Occasionally it can mean losing someone from your life. It’s never easy losing someone yet if there is anything positive that can come from it, is finding out what you do or don’t want in a relationship. In my young days I was broken and hasty! Now that I have lived life a little I’ve finally realised what it is that I do need. What I need is to live a life that doesn’t move away from trust, respect, honesty, support, love, care, appreciation, value and forgiveness.

When you finally figure out what you need then it’s time to hold onto those values tightly. Don’t let them go or be trampled on by anyone. There is nothing more painful than being in a relationship with someone who holds different values.

Choose wisely in the ordinary moments.

Sifting through ‘muddled messes’…

By nature I am a person that likes things tidy and organised. Complete messes just mess with me. It throws off my mood and general sense of enjoyment. Having had four children under the age of four decades ago I spent morning to night dealing with messes. It was mostly all the practical stuff. Messes spread from room to room while mealtimes consisted of cute little faces wearing food as fast as it was being eaten.  Having mess is unavoidable.  Cleaning up the messes involved some organisation and staging. It seems to work better when we prioritise messes from extremely urgent to ‘this mess can wait’, especially when you are multitasking between young children with different ages requiring different levels of attention.

To let the day go with the flow would not have been as effective. Those types of days happen occasionally, however forward thinking or planning ahead can remove unnecessary stress and save time.

As a young mum in those days I had to be fairly fast with decisions and good at organising. It is no easy job to be a mum of four under four. At various stages I was also pregnant while looking after toddlers. So not only was I dealing with messes I was dealing with pregnancy and everything that came along with that. Naps were necessary and general care of myself was highly crucial. With pregnancy come the sensitive emotions riding alongside your hormones. No matter my emotional state I had to consider what the practical needs of the day were and stick to completing them. There were no options of staying in bed feeling overwhelmed with emotion as young children needed me to take care of them. We all know that young children don’t give you a day off.

No matter what season we find ourselves in there are messes to clean up in life.

Where there are people there will be mess.

In the same way that messes are unavoidable in daily living within a household, emotional mess can build up on the inside too!

Given the past three months or so of my recent journey I have been faced with plenty of mess. If it isn’t my own emotions swinging from one tree to another the challenge of my circumstances can sort of pile up on top of each other and leave me feeling overwhelmed. It is challenging to sift through messy emotions and messy circumstances all at the same time. Unlike Tarzan who loves swinging between trees I can’t say that it is really a skill that I have.

Until you find yourself in a situation such as a 27 year marriage breakdown it is difficult to comprehend all the various aspects one must deal with. There are the concerns you can’t help but feel for your children who are also struggling to deal with the situation somehow. There are the endless questions that pop into your mind which keep you up at night or hold you captive during the day.

In this particular season my four children who were under four decades ago are now adults. I only have my 9 year old with me. In some ways my adult children are now faced with sifting through their own emotional backlog of hurt and pain. I can’t do it for them no matter how desperately I wish I could take it all away and put a big smile on their cute little faces.

As I sift through these muddled messes I consider which areas are the most important right now. The minute I try and deal with everything at once I get extremely overwhelmed. It is essential for myself and my youngest that I do some forward planning and consider which areas are of most importance. While the needs are enormous practically and emotionally I have been learning to pace myself daily in order to accomplish some form of problem solving.

The problem solving is now on my shoulders!

I take my hat off to all the single mums out there who are in the same boat.

When questions or overwhelming emotions start cluttering my mind  I can only resort to looking at the situation by pure facts. It is the facts of this situation that speak clearer to me than my emotions can. Emotions can lead me astray. When I put those messy emotions aside for a moment I remind myself about the reality of what has taken place. Some of those realities or facts tell me that there is nothing I could have done to change anything. There are some messes in life that are out of my hands to clean up or fix. They are messes someone else has chosen to create and therefore it is out of my control.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog I am the sort of person who needs organisation, I can’t handle too much mess. Being in this current circumstance has been challenging as there has been plenty of mess to sift through. Trying to make sense of the mess is impossible. Trying to clean up all of the mess is also impossible. It simply is not in my power to do so.

The position that I can take in this muddled mess is one of prioritising, recognising the facts that can’t be changed and constantly reminding myself that I have no control over other people’s choices or decisions. I do have the power right now to move forward with little steps. To not expect that I can somehow problem solve everything in a day.

That no matter what has happened to me or my kids it is crucial to not let any further mess into my hurting heart. Having boundaries was never really a strength of mine when I was younger and perhaps that has caused me more grief than I can imagine. Having had such little value for myself opened the door to letting other people take control, almost like being tossed around at sea with no anchor of my own.

Whether you find yourself in a muddled mess or feel as though you are being tossed around out at sea I hope that what I have written reminds you to take a look at the facts. Don’t let emotions be your leader. Don’t give all your control to someone else, set boundaries and keep an anchor handy for those moments when you need to stop being tossed around out at sea.

An anchor can be your friends or your family. As a Christian a great anchor is the bible, church and prayer. All of these things are good for keeping you from being tossed around, feeling helpless in your circumstances.

Most of all no matter the mess,

you matter ♥