My Life in Words
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My Life in Words
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If you follow my Facebook page you’ll have seen my husband’s heroic efforts in succeeding to run Hadrian’s Wall, UK, 86 miles in 3 days all in support of Dementia UK.
He did it alone (well apart from me as his right hand woman, coach and amateur masseuse! We both stank of Arnica by the end of it. LOL.) and he did it in all conditions. Wind, rain, hot sun, clouds. The terrain was flat, road, field, hills, country, city.
On the first day there were several detours that added 3 miles so he ran 32 miles instead of 29!! On the second day in scorching sun, 27 miles of hills, his knee gave in. On the third day he romped home and 29 miles later was still smiling…
The challenges were piled high. However, his incredible attitude and his fortitude throughout got him safely to the end.
I asked him what lessons he’d learnt from setting and achieving such an amazing goal.
Here’s his reply:
The Solution Focused sisterhood is my membership club. Filled with some of the most giving and incredible women I know, the lovely Marije, writer, mother and our all round solution focused thinker from Holland has been kind enough (and brave enough) to share her story of Burnout. Big events in our lives can simply be the tipping point and help us to come out the other side victorious, with more strength. All good in hind sight of course. Marije is passionate to share her story to help other women to see that Burnout can be an opportunity and that you can avoid it IF you listen to the action signals your body sends you before you do hit the wall. Read on to find out how Marije learnt from one of the hardest experiences of her life. Getting clear on this has been the key to her recent happiness and it can be the same for you too. Read on .....
aahh that honeymoon period. The time in your relationship when all you can see is a sparkly, loved up version of your mate. You view them from an emotional distance that doesn’t allow you to pick at their flaws and see their weaknesses.
They are gods (or goddesses). They are heroes (or heroines). They are knights (or…?? What’s the female equivalent? You know what I mean!) Everything is carefree. Sans responsibilities or duties or routines. You make an effort with your clothes; your activities; your time together.
Christmas can be a time of great joy and happiness. It can bring out the best in people and bring people together. On the other hand, Christmas can feel very lonely. It can feel lonely if you aren’t in a relationship. It can feel lonely in a relationship, if you aren’t getting on, or if there is a disconnection in your relationship. It can feel lonely if you have lost someone close to you or if someone is ill.
I remember one Christmas in my late 20s when I was on the verge of a burnout. I had been with my partner (now husband) for about 6 years and I felt completely lonely. However, it wasn’t his fault. He was loving, kind, appreciative and I was keeping him at an emotional arm’s length.
‘Yes, I’m fine.’ I would say if he asked how I was. I’d say this even if I felt I was feeling hollow inside. I didn’t want to admit to him, or myself, how wretched I felt in the profession I had chosen to be in for the rest of my life!! (Or so I thought.) Christmas felt lonely. I wasn’t enjoying anyone’s company, not really. I was going through the motions and all I could think about, constantly, was the work I ‘should’ have been doing, in the moments when I wasn’t doing it. I felt a failure. I felt lonely. So, if you are having a hard time this Christmas and you are feeling lonely here’s what I have learned from the experience, coupled with a couple of coaching tools to help you take a step forward to connection.
Say, 'I am lonely.'
No blaming. No attacking. No shaming. Simple vulnerability. Chances are they are feeling it too. By stating it you open up the possibility of change; of reconnecting; of intimacy.
If you are not in a relationship (or you are and the loneliness comes from outside of the relationship) but have found a distance between you and your family/friends, find the one person you love and trust the most and do the same. State how you feel.
2. Ask yourself what you have been giving to the relationship?
Be honest with yourself. I felt lonely in my relationship, but I had created the chasm between us myself. I hadn’t allowed myself to communicate how I was feeling honestly with my partner or my friends. I felt a failure so I kept it in and distanced myself instead.
I wasn’t giving anything to the relationships around me and it was a vicious cycle of escaping into the very work that was making me feel lonely, despite being surrounded by people 24/7.So, how are you communicating? Who are you making connections with?
3. Gain a solution focused approach
Once you’ve been honest with yourself, it’s time to take responsibility for that which you can control?
Get solution focused questions that inspire action and manage expectations.
What will I do to connect with someone I love today?
Where can I find likeminded people who lift me up?
How can I enjoy a conversation with someone today?
What will I do to give the love of my life some joy today?
Who might be lonelier than I am and how can I help them?
You are not alone. There is always someone to connect with. Go and find them and make a life (not just a Christmas) filled with love.
If you want to gain a solution focused approach on a daily basis, and be surrounded by some of the most giving women I know, give yourself the gift of a monthly subscription to my sisterhood (You can cancel at any time so there is no risk). Click here to join
Do you have any tips you'd like to share in the comments?
When I was about 9 or 10 something changed in my relationship with my little sister. (My little sister that's just less than a year younger than me.) We went from being inseparable and loving to fighting and arguing in the blink of an eye. Having girls of my own now, who are prone to the occasional wrestle, I don't know how my mum stayed sane. All of sudden we went from begging each other to sleep in each others' beds, (Me, because I am always cold and she was the main source of central heating in the days when not everyone had central heating. Her, because she was scared of the dark and the mere mention of Dracula would have her jumping her lovely, hot body into my bed.) to not being able to stand in the same room with each other. Maybe it's because we shared a room and we were getting to the age where you want your own space, or maybe it was pre-teen hormones kicking in, whatever it was we started to be seriously mean to each other.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I'll tell you.
I'm not proud of it, and I've subsequently apologised to my gorgeous sister, who I love dearly, but we started to call each other horrible names and continued to do so right into our teens. Now, there was a 'no swearing from the kids' policy in our house that was strictly adhered to, but we would try to get away with it by calling each other a 'cow'. (This actually annoyed my mum as much as swearing would, but it was a fine line.)
This cow would be prefixed with something.
For me, my sister would usually go for, "You ugly cow. You sad cow. You pathetic cow." My wounding arrows of choice would be, "You stupid cow. You thick cow. You annoying cow." Lovely!! I know.
And as siblings do, we knew we had found the weak spot and we repeated it and repeated it. As much as mum stopped us, we'd whisper it quietly after she'd left the room. It seeped into our subconscious beliefs.
And eventually often, I did feel ugly and sad next to my long legged, blonde, bubbly, gorgeous sister. And eventually she felt stupid next to her hard working, conscientious, studious sister. We'd conditioned each other with these little labels to believe that they were true.
My sister and I in our adult years have spoken about this and forgiven each other for what we said all those years ago as young girls. We didn't mean what we were saying, we just wanted to hurt the other person when we were annoyed by each other. Today we try to be cheerleaders to each other and love each other dearly.
But how interesting as I started to look at the inner critic voice, and I wanted to give it less power in my mind after my near miss of a second burnout, that I should call it "Mean Little Cow." It's only as I launched my book this weekend did I even consider the significance in this. Calling someone a cow in my eyes is a real insult. (Poor cows, as a veggie I really do love them and don't know why we picked on them all those years ago. LOL)
So how do we undo that conditioning? How do we quieten down that inner critic that takes from references buried in our sub-conscious? How do we show it what it is saying isn't true? Or is a warped version of the truth at best?
Well, depending where you live if you go to Bounce Back from Burnout UK, Bounce Back from Burnout US or Bounce Back from Burnout EU there's a great little exercise in Chapter Seven to help you to retrain that 'Mean Little Cow' voice once and for all.
I'd love to hear if you have a name for that negative, inner critic in the comments and how to manage to make her, or him, pipe down.