As I was growing up, my parents did everything they could to ensure I suffered as few disappointments and made as few mistakes as possible. My Dad especially tended to urge me to follow his advice at all times on the grounds of his greater life experience.
When I resisted and did ‘it’ my way I, more often than not, fell flat on my face. He was then quick to point out, “See? I told you so!”
Not surprisingly, this affected any trust in my own judgement I might have had.
Unavoidably, I grew up (though I use this term loosely), came to England, got married and got a job.
Over the next few decades my life looked something like this:
I got up in the morning, got ready for work, went to work, came home, had something to eat, watched the telly and went to bed. Then I did it all over again.
OK, so I’m exaggerating a bit but the point is, my life was as predictable as you can imagine. No surprises and very few new experiences. I became risk-averse and stayed firmly in my comfort zone.
It won’t come as a surprise when I tell you that I had very few insights or learnings or understandings during that time.
Luckily for me, everything changed when, aged 56, I met Alan, the man who became my life coach.
One of the first things he impressed upon me was the need to start noticing – when I asked him what I was supposed to notice he replied, “Everything!”. Close on the heels of his first piece of advice came the second: “Experiment!”, he urged me.
As we all know, experimenting can be risky – it may or may not work out, it may disappoint, show up how stupid we are, dissatisfy or frustrate us. On the other hand it might excite, satisfy or fulfil us. We have no idea at the outset how it will pan out.
And here’s the thing:
The process is by far more important than the result.
Because that’s what allows us to discover who we really are, allows us to develop our capability, our resources, our confidence, our skills and knowledge, our wisdom – all of which allows us to add it all to our store of life experience.
One part of the process is that we will have to cope with more disappointments, setbacks, failure and suffering – all the things my parents tried to shield me from.
Unfortunately, as a result of this over-protection, I was, for the first part of my adult life, unresourceful, indecisive, hesitant in making choices and doubting my own judgement.
But I was lucky.
Although at the time I regarded those disappointments, setbacks, failure and sufferings as low points in my life, I now look at them as gifts life gave me because they enabled me to learn, to grow, to become more resilient, more capable, wiser, more understanding and more compassionate.
So here’s my suggestion to you:
Why not review your own challenges, disappointments, failures and setbacks and see what you learned that made you stronger?
With love and gratitude,
P.S. My third book, ‘Open Your Heart: The 7 Secrets Of Strong And Loving Relationships’ IS NOW ON AMAZON! YAY!
P.P.S. I enable women build strong and loving relationships, first with themselves and then with others. That’s because your relationship with yourself shapes all your other relationships.
If you’d like to find out how you can do that email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE one hour exploratory conversation.