I am following a 5 day challenge lead by a life coach called #womenwhoflourish. She asks a question that leads to a thought process or an activity. Yesterday, the question: ‘What kind words can I say to myself?’
My answer yelled at me from a blank page. I could only think of negative, hurtful things to say. And all day, despite taking deep breaths and turning the negatives in to positive, none of it felt true and my page remained blank.
Clearly, self-doubt is at an all-time low. As one layer of the infidelity experience peels away and is dealt with, the next appears. I am sure I have been here before..? But it is this layer again. Somehow even harder to deal with, just like an onion, the closer to the centre you get, the tougher, thicker the layer, more attached to the core it is.
It was right to bring up my thoughts of yesterday in our session. I didn’t get any closer to what I did to trigger the initial actions that caused so much hurt to us all. But it led us down a path of understanding how the relationships and actions of our parents can sometimes, and often lead to thought processes and actions in the future. Locked away memories of childhood sometimes come out to haunt our subconscious mind and enable us to ‘act out’.
If I didn’t learn what I did or didn’t do that lead to a chain of events that found us here in the present moment, I did learn about why I struggle so much with my self esteem currently. Born to a brilliant man in the banking and accounting sector and then marrying in to a family of more accountants, with spreadsheets and abacus, I have always felt that ‘worth’ and ‘value’ always had a pound sign with it and a monetary significance.
When I left my corporate job, moved back into part time consulting, started my own business, I only felt they were any kind of success based on the wage, the daily rate or income I generated. So, when I took the decision to stop going out to work, my self-worth started to falter. But I did learn that working for money didn’t motivate or drive me, in fact it probably made me less successful as I was so miserable. And the conflict started.
I tried to prove this to myself and to others, by volunteering, but it was met with comments that ‘charity started at home’, implying that if I wasn’t bringing money in, I shouldn’t be giving my time away to others for free. Even the amount of petrol I used was called in to question as the family expenditure spreadsheet came out! I fought hard and flounced like a toddler at that one.
AS I began my spiritual journey and understood more about happiness, connection, belonging, self-care, love as energy, the more my conflict on my own success and self-worth raged. I wanted to be the authentic me – volunteer teaching, health coaching, writing, being homemaker but the monetary value attached to those is practically nil. And so I feel worth-less… almost destroying the happiness and joy and authenticity I feel being and doing all those things I love.
Today’s question in the challenge reminded me of those things: ‘What do I love to do?’ My list has never really changed:
- Being with my family
- Being with friends
- Sport / exercise / running
- Working in a team
- Helping others / volunteering
- Cooking for fun
- Learning about food / nutrition, health and spirituality
- Laughing and having fun
In my dark days, I set my own personal challenge to do at least one of the things on my list a day. To bring me some joy. To realise my value in being who I really was.
I have continued to do the same, but maybe focussing on some more than others.
Being with friends needs serious work. I am aware of my significant trust issues with everyone; my naivety yet another thing I grieve the loss of. I know it will take time and for me to step out of my comfort zone, more often than I am ready to do. My nerves and anxiety often blinding and completely crippling me with fear.
And volunteering and helping others also. I agreed to join a committee for a charity carol service which has been wonderful in terms of making some new friends, new connections in the area. But I have realised, I love the connection with children that I had when I volunteered in schools.
So, as all good challenges should do generate, I took inspired action. I know I feel so good when I am lost in the moments of working with young people. I have put my application forward and now I wait with baited breath and fingers crossed. At least this time, the petrol comment is irrelevant as I could cycle there!
My page for kind words for myself remains blank. But I will keep it open.