WELCOME BACK

April 2016: After three years away from this blog I'm back. It was originally started so I could make sense of the madness that ensued after my marriage to a sociopath. Much has changed, grown and been created since then - including reclaiming my full birth name Melanie Pledger.
My voice has become stronger, and so has my mission. I'm here on this earth to share the life-changing magic that developed as a result of my personal journey overcoming abuse, abandonment, manipulation and betrayal. I've learned that many of the rules we've been taught about life are fundamentally wrong. They've been misunderstood by most, misused by some, and deliberately misdirected by the manipulators who live and breathe among us. I've also learned that it's easier and more enjoyable than people think to shift things around...
Now I know there was a reason for it all. So now I'm back to fill in the gaps. To share what I've discovered, and dispel the myths that don't serve us... I look forward to reconnecting with old friends, and discovering new ones.
Thank you for being here.
Mel xxx

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Lovefraud: Guilty Until Proven Innocent


This week finds me well and truly back on my soapbox. Because I am feeling suitably goaded to address the somewhat emotive subject of the lack of support and comprehension offered to victims of abuse. The fact that too many people in various circles (friends and family, law and order and other professionals) simply don’t ‘get’ what it means to be held captive in a manipulative relationship.
I know many of us here in the Lovefraud community have already experienced the indignity of having to convince people of the validity of what we know to be true. I’m of course familiar with the remarks from well-intentioned friends and relatives that go along the lines of “he/she always seemed such a nice person!” “Surely, if what you’re saying is true, you’d have noticed something beforehand?” “You must have got it wrong, all relationships have their ups and downs you know!” “You’re saying he/she is a what…? A psychopath…? Have you completely lost your mind…?”
With the space and wisdom that hindsight offers, I guess those kind of comments are to be understood and even expected from people around us who care, but who simply can’t comprehend that psychopathic individuals live and breathe among us. Caring people who most certainly also struggle with the idea that it was happening so close to home and that, by association, they were duped as well!
To Understand We Must First Un-Learn
To put it in to context, the phrase “we don’t see things as they are, we can only see things as we are” is never so true when explaining a new concept to people. In order to take new ideas on board, the person doing the learning must find ways to understand what they are being taught. Puzzlement, questions and sometimes bewilderment are all perfectly natural responses in the learning cycle. Often, particularly in adulthood, this process involves shifting existing beliefs or long-held opinions – turning the previously ‘unbelievable’ in to something that is appreciated and recognized. That’s all well and good, and it’s perfectly understandable too – goodness knows I’ve been there myself, both as student and teacher. The jury’s out on which role is the most taxing…
The thing is, though, this natural learning process becomes so very much more difficult to accept when the “unbelievable” relates to experiences that are being shared by somebody who has suffered from abuse and manipulation. At that moment in time, all that the ‘victim’ needs is support and understanding. But when the subject in hand involves accounts of deception, gas-lighting, control, loss of self-esteem, and that feared word “psychopathic”… well, then it simply serves to make explaining the horrors that much more galling. That much more painful.
Because it’s hard enough for us to realize the truth ourselves. And even harder to come to terms with the fact we’ve been duped and manipulated. Harder still to then reach out and ask for help! When that request typically comes at our most vulnerable time, and is met by (understandable) disbelief, then those well-intentioned people we’ve chosen to share with end up creating further pain, deeper shame and more excruciating guilt within us – in short, the re-clarifying of what happened become a repeated process of public tarring and feathering.
You know what? I can live with that. I can accept that it’s merely ‘not knowing’ on the part of friends and family who, at the time, caused me to turn the emotional knife once again on myself. At the time I knew no better myself than to respond in that way. Now, with distance, I can understand and empathise – and I’m grateful as well, because it’s highlighted the need to educate more people about the intricacies of this subject. So no, there is no axe for me to grind there. But then, this is only one small part of recovery. This is a part where we can feel confident that any hurts caused are unintentional.
Professionals And The Law
Then there are the other parts. The parts where the professionals step in. Where these qualified, respected, wise pillars of society are expected to at least remain open-minded. In many cases they are also expected to provide accurate useful support and guidance for our next steps – that’s why they’re professionals. Isn’t it? And yet this is the part which has once again prompted me to bring out my soap box. I am deeply concerned and angered by what I see as professional ignorance and ill-informed judgements. Ignorance that, in my opinion, protects the wrong-doers and in doing so continues to force abuse further underground. In this particular instant, I am talking about the law – or perhaps the interpretation of the law.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the idea of the law to protect the innocent, maintain a level of order and keep our society working for us rather than against us? Well, that’s what I’d always thought. I’m finding, though, that increasing focus on political correctness is steadily diminishing the effectiveness of our laws when faced with deliberate deception. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-political correctness per say…. I AM anti the fear-based interpretation of guidelines that result in too much ‘covering of backs’ and losing site of what’s important.
What do I mean?
Well, there have been a couple of episodes over recent times that have rattled my cage. One is a very public news story in the UK about Tina Nash, a young mother who had her eyes gouged out by her psychopathic partner – Shane Jenkins. The sickening attack in her own home lasted 12 hours. She describes it as “silent and prolonged”.  He attacked her while she was sleeping, knocking her unconscious and trying to strangle her, before blinding her in the most horrific way. He was sentenced this month to a minimum of 6 years in jail, and is currently being held in a mental hospital. Yet he has been allowed to tell his story, blaming his victim for prompting the attack, and telling people he’s “not as evil as everyone has made out, I’m actually really chilled”…! The attack happened in April 2011, but Tina says she feels he’s still controlling her, even now that he’s locked away. She says he deliberately chose to tell his story on her birthday just to spite her.
Soap-box And Fury
Surely, that in itself is wrong? How can society allow the twisted delusional bragging of a convicted thug to be printed in our newspapers? What effect will it have on the victim – in this case a 32-year old mother who will never see her children again? That, alone, was enough for me to dust down my soap-box…. But then I read these words that this brave woman had said a few days earlier and my blood started to boil:
“My life has been in limbo as I have not been able to have the treatment and counseling I so desperately needed whilst Shane has had a team of experts, professionals and psychiatrists assessing and ensuring his wellbeing and that he received the treatment that he required…”
WHAT? After surviving everything she endured, she has not been given any treatment or counseling, while her ex-lover (held on remand since the attack) has had a team of professionals ensuring his wellbeing…? My heart bleeds for her. Has the world gone crazy…? Well, I’m saddened to say that I believe in many cases that yes, it has. I believe that we’ve lost our ability to judge what’s important over our need to tick boxes and ‘do the right thing’ to prevent being sued by the wrong-doers.
Is it any wonder that so many victims stay quiet while the bullies continue to get away with it? We’re protecting the wrong-doers, and pushing the truth underground.
My other, very tiny, but very personal gripe is around the on-going shenanigans with the legal eagles finalizing my book. I was going to disguise this part of the story by introducing it as “a friend who is sharing her story”. Then I thought, no, I won’t do that. Because if I do, then I too become one of the faceless crowd who suppress the truth. And that’s not who I am.
Libel
So, my gripe in this instance is to do with some professional opinions detailed in a libel report. This is a document prepared by lawyers for the publishers, checking whether they may be open to any kind of libel claim as a result of the book they are publishing. Fine, I understand that. But what I don’t understand or agree with are many what I believe to be ill-informed comments, most of which I am not at liberty to share for the moment. There is one, though, that is innocuous enough to repeat, but the message behind it burned in to my soul. It is in relation to my ex-guardian. In the book I talk about one particular evening where this person slapped me across the face. This occurred more than 30 years ago, but I am being asked what proof I have that this actually happened – together with the implied a


dvice that if there is no proof then the story should be removed. Why, you may well ask? Because it’s so far fetched? Because these things don’t happen behind closed doors? No. Because it’s possible that the individual concerned might one day read my book and, even though names and places have all been changed in order to comply with privacy laws, this person might take offence and try to sue me or the publishers.
The law, it seems, has become grotesquely skewed, and is now protecting the bullies and questioning the victims. Innocent until proven guilty may well have been the starting mantra…. I fear that in the case of victims of abuse, the mantra has shifted, and guilty until proven innocent is becoming the new reality.
Well this particular ‘victim’ is sick and tired of staying quiet, bottling up emotions, and being a ‘good girl’ in order to keep the peace. So listen up you army of ‘do-gooders’ and ‘politically correct’ professionals who have lost the gumption to stand up for what is right. The tide IS turning… And I will continue to do everything within my power to speak up for true justice.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lovefraud: A Book Is Born


This week it’s a change of subject and a shorter post, because this week I am absolutely delighted to announce that my book “I’m Still Standing” will be published by Mainstream/Random House on 5th July! These are incredibly exciting times, and I am bursting with pride and anticipation that my story is being told. It’s a bit nerve-wracking as well, I must say, as I feel somewhat vulnerable putting my ‘whole self’ out there to the world.
It’s been a fascinating process getting to this stage, and I’m surprised by the number of times I’ve already been asked the question “How long did it take you to write?” Well, the simple response to that is over four decades. Yes, it’s taken a lifetime for the story to unfold – and now that the book is finally being born, I feel that I am starting a whole new lifetime.  A life that’s filled with joy and optimism. A life where I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that love does exist even when it seems there is none, and that hope – no matter how frail – is a blessing that can provide strength when the going seems just too tough to continue.
It’s Within Us All
Through the process I’ve learned that all the good stuff in life is already within us. It always has been and it always will be, because it’s the essence of who we truly are. And I’m deeply grateful for the gifts that came from each and every battle I faced – the gifts may have been heavily disguised most of the time, but they were always there. Nudging me forward. Coaxing me on. Encouraging me to take just one more step forward, moving out of the darkness and in to the light.
I don’t know what the birth of the book is going to mean to me. I hope, though, that by sharing my story, not only will it help me to grow as a human being, but it will also encourage others who may be facing similar challenges in their life. It may reach many and it may reach just a few… but you know what? If somehow it manages to improve the life of just one other person, well, then it makes everything worthwhile.
We’ve just finished editing the book, and now we’re heading to the typesetting phase of the project. I am a publishing virgin, and I’m enthralled and fascinated by each step of the journey. I remember whooping for joy when I was shown the book cover, and leaping around my kitchen when my friend Matt phoned to alert me that it was already available for pre-order on Amazon. Each new endorsement would create a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye as I read the kind words people had written about my work. And each time I would pinch myself to check that this was real, that I wasn’t dreaming. Of course it was real – it IS real – and my dreams are just starting to come true.
Battle Scars
As we get closer to the publication date, I find I’m still susceptible to thoughts of doubt and worry “I hope it’s written well enough. What if people don’t like it? What if they don’t like me?” but then the thoughts subside again as I gently remind myself what it took for me to get here in the first place. I remember the battles I’ve fought and won, and look fondly on each scar as I recall how each one served to let me know who I really am. And I realize that, even if people don’t like the way I write or the subject of my story, the fact is I’ve pushed through my fears and created the platform through which to speak out and share. In doing so I have exorcised my demons and learned the exquisite beauty of surrender.
Bottom line? It doesn’t actually matter what other people think of me. What matters is how I think of myself – and the more I learn to love and accept myself, well, it seems the more I am able to give love and acceptance to others. Whatever they may say, whatever they may think and whatever they may do. Because they cannot hurt me any more. I’m still standing, and now I’m free – and nothing and nobody can ever take that away from me.
Thank you to everyone here for supporting me in my journey. I don’t know where my path is leading me. But something I absolutely know for sure…. This is just the beginning.
With love and blessings to all my fellow travelers on this extraordinary voyage of discovery and healing.
Original link on Lovefraud here

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Lovefraud: Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates



Funny, don’t you think, how every now and again life seems to work in perfect synchronicity? For the past couple of weeks I’ve written about my experiences of thoughts creating reality – and I’ve loved reading all your follow-up comments, thank you. It seems this has been/remains a weighty subject for many of us here! I had been wondering how to continue the exploration – and as if by magic, the solution appeared all by itself. Here’s what happened…
Last Friday was probably the most important day in my son’s life so far. It was the day he was due to interview for a place at his chosen university in Bordeaux, about two hours drive from where we live. His meeting was booked for 8am, so in the end we had decided that the best and most relaxing option would be to drive down on Thursday evening, stay in a hotel, and get to the university bright and breezy the next morning. He also had a friend who was interviewing in the afternoon, so I agreed to take them both down together and stay in Bordeaux for the day until they’d both finished, then drive them back home. Good plan. Sensible option. Logical planning…. Right?
Well, yes, in theory…. In practice, though, as Forrest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. And he’s right – because I sure wasn’t expecting what happened next! There we all were, driving happily along the motorway, chatting and singing along to the music, just a few kilometres out of Bordeaux, when all of a sudden the car lost power…. Completely. Pushing on the accelerator pedal, there was nothing happening – we just started going slower and slower, as cars whizzed past us, flashing and beeping because we were causing a blockage.
Breakdown
With hazard lights blinking, I managed to pull the car over to the side, and asked Dylan to call my local garage straight away and let them know what had happened. The garage is run by a lovely man who is extremely helpful – and who has had to arrange to pick me up once before when the same car refused to start. This time, though, we were miles away… and I knew that nothing could be done until the next day.
“This is serious, but it’s ok” I said to my two passengers “We’ll stay calm and find a way through” Both of them nodded, totally unfazed by what was going on.
While Dylan was still on the phone, I restarted the car and it seemed to work again. Kicking back in to action, we pulled off the hard shoulder and back in to the stream of traffic. All seemed well, but then it happened again…. This time there were even more cars around us – but there was also a slip road coming up. I pulled over again and stopped the engine.
“Right, we’re heading for that turn-off” I said “Can you guys keep your eyes peeled and help guide me?” They nodded, and I prayed that I’d be able to start the car again. Yup… thank goodness, she started straight away, and the three of us willed her to keep going.
We managed to pull off, and, as luck would have it, the road took us straight to a park and ride, where you can leave your car and take the tram in to town. I smiled to myself – and then laughed out loud as I noticed that the name of the road we were parked in was LaVergne… my best friend’s new surname after she got married last month.
Nowhere To Stay
All seemed well, until we called the apartment to let them know we’d be late. It was just gone 8pm, but their reception had closed 5 minutes before we rang. I’d prepaid for the room, but with no way of contacting the owners we knew it made no sense to traipse over to an empty apartment, because we wouldn’t be able to get in. So now we were car-less and hotel-less in a town that none of us knew.
And this, I believe, is a perfect example to show that what we choose to think can make an experience better or worse. I’m not saying that positive thinking will change the situation – but I am saying whole-heartedly that choosing supportive thoughts can affect the way we respond. And, therefore, increase the likelihood of keeping our options open, staying focused and finding a helpful solution.
So, having locked up the car and arranged to meet the tow-truck the next morning, the three of us picked up our overnight bags and headed towards the tram station.
“Well, this isn’t what we planned is it eh?” I said to Dylan and his friend Claire, consciously keeping a smile on my face to reassure them.
“It’s ok, it’s an adventure!” piped up Claire, by this time echoing the words I’d used earlier on. The three of us got on to the tram and headed in to town to find a room for the night.
Now, the point here is this. Imagine how different the mood might have been had any of us decided to panic or become frightened? Instead, we stayed together, kept smiling, and just knew we’d find a solution.
Until we suddenly realised that Dylan had left his bag at the tram station. His bag contained his passport and all the papers he needed for his meeting – without these he would not be allowed to take part and would automatically forfeit his chance to interview. Adrenalin pumping, we all jumped off at the next stop. Taking Dylan’s other bag from him, Claire and I headed back towards the tram station while Dylan sprinted for all he was worth. We still managed to keep a cool head – despite what was going on around us. Not knowing whether or not the bag would still be there, Claire and I started exploring options around what we could do in the worst-case scenario.
Looking On The Bright Side
Luckily his bag was still there – and once again we started counting all the good things about what was happening. The fact that we’d managed to get off the motorway. That we knew a garage who could come and help. That we’d managed to park right near a tram station. That we’d found the bag. That, if push came to shove we could even sleep in the car… we only focused on our ‘luck’ in what was, quite frankly, a pretty grim situation.
The situation got worse, because every hotel we visited or called was fully booked. It was 11pm before we eventually found a place to stay – the room was costly, but it didn’t matter. At least we’d be able to rest and wash for the morning! None of us had eaten, so we headed straight out to find the only place that might possibly still be open – a MacDonald’s.  Tired and hungry, we were delighted to find that the lights were still on – but as we got nearer, realised that they were just shutting up.
Still we didn’t give up. We noticed that this particular restaurant also had a drive in – and realised that it was still open! We didn’t have a car, of course, but decided that was no problem. We’d ask them at the counter, and if that didn’t work then we’d ask one of the driving customers to place an order for us. It worked. They agreed to serve us, and we sat outside greedily devouring our burgers – I usually don’t go anywhere near fast food like that, but let me tell you, right then it tasted like manna from heaven!
Looking at the two young people who were sitting with me, I felt exceptionally proud to be with them both. Despite the difficult situation, and the possible threat to their big day tomorrow, they’d both kept calm, focused and light-hearted throughout the ordeal. We were all tired, but we all still had smiles on our faces and continued to joke about the evening’s shenanigans.
“We’re really lucky you know, mum” said Dylan, stuffing the last few chips into his mouth “things could have been a lot worse if you think about it. Thank goodness we decided to come down today – we’d never have made it if we’d gone with our original plan to leave early tomorrow morning!”
That, for me, sums it all up. It doesn’t matter what happens to us – there will always be things that are out of our control, some good and some bad…. Some very bad in actual fact. But no matter what happens, we always,always have a choice about the way we choose to think about it and the way in which we respond. So in that way, we are always free. Forever.
By the way, both of them had brilliant interviews and caught the train back together, while I got home in the tow-truck. All’s well that ends well, eh? And, in my experience, it always does end well in some way, shape or form.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Lovefraud: Being, Accepting And Letting Go


After much contemplation, I decided I’d like to continue along the theme of last week’s post since the sense of ‘thoughts becoming things’ seems to be becoming even more important to me at the moment. And from the energetic conversation threads from last week it appears to be quite an emotive subject for people here as well!
The picture I’ve chosen this week is the classic “Hag or Beautiful Young Woman” illustration that shows there can be two very different sides to the same situation, depending on our perception. I often use it to remind myself, when I’m having a “Hag” of a day, to change my perspective and seek out the “Beautiful Young Woman”…. She’s always there somewhere… ;-)
I’d like to start off by saying that I do not purport to have all the answers – far from it in actual fact. It occurs to me that the old saying “the older you get the less you know” actually holds a great deal of truth…  because these days, even though it stands to reason that I have more knowledge and experience than ever before; it’s equally true to say that I have even more questions in my quest to really know the answers. Still, I guess you could say that’s what keeps us curious to grow and learn eh? Even though, it must be said, there are times when I manage to drive even myself mad with my sometimes-obsessive drive to understand!
Positive Thinking
So I’d like to explain a little about my pathway – and why this quest is so important to me. The very first self-help I ever picked up was Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power Of Positive Thinking” – first published back in 1952, decades before the concept of positive thinking was in our regular vocabulary, and a lifetime before the emergence of mainstream New Age! I can have been no more than 19 years old when I picked it up for the first time, and I remember being somewhat sceptical about the messages contained in it. I remember feeling pretty annoyed at times – angry even – when it occured to me that if what the author was saying was in any way true, then it implied that I was to blame for my personal circumstances. At that time, both parents were already dead, and my little sister and I had recently been evicted from our guardian’s home. So life was pretty grim.
“And this idiot here is trying to say it’s all been my fault? Who on earth does he think he is? He has no idea whatsoever about me or what’s happened to me!” I would fume, slamming the book shut and stomping off to find a coffee or cigarette – my two regular crutches in those days. The fury and indignance passed, however, once I began to get a glimpse of the real message. It suddenly dawned on me that this book and its ideas were offering me a new way of approaching things. A new way that gave me the promise that I really could change my life for the better. A glimmer of hope in what for me had become a dark and dreary existence full of hopelessness and pain.
That’s where it all began, all those years ago. Since then I’ve devoured hundreds of books and cassettes (yes, way before the time of CDs or downloads!) and attended a myriad of workshops. I’ve also trained in various therapies including Louise L Hay, NLP, Coaching, Reiki, Hypnosis, Breathwork and Firewalking. And so far as I can see, the underlying message is basically the same – that the more we become aware of and flex our thoughts, feelings and behaviour, the more we can determine the quality of our life. Also, the more we can honestly assess what kind of experiences are showing up in our life, the more we can identify where our thoughts and beliefs are sitting, so we can then check whether or not we’re on the right track.
Opportunity Instead Of Blame
I am NOT saying that we deliberately invited sociopathic individuals in to our lives. I am NOT saying that it’s our ‘fault’. That we must have been thinking ‘wrong’ thoughts, or giving praise to the ‘wrong deity’ or following the ‘wrong’ leadership. Far from it. What I AM saying is that from my own experiences, having recognised – truly recognised – what had been happening to me, I have found ways to move through the experience and find a deeper sense of peace and joy as a result. It’s not about blame… it’s about opportunity. Grabbing the chance to create something different.
And from where I am right now, I’ve realised that there are far more levels to all of this than I could possibly have comprehended at the time. I know in my heart and soul that I have lived and breathed coaching and motivation for more years than I care to consider – and that the techniques I learned and fine-tuned along the way have helped me to create a fulfilling life. I also know that I’ve been lucky enough to make a positive difference in the lives of many hundreds of people.
I’m also holding my hand up right now to admit “I didn’t fully understand it all then… and I still don’t now” – and still I know I did some great work. But I DO acknowledge that I am ‘getting it’ more and more as time passes – particularly since the relationship with my ex.
For example, last week I wrote about ‘loving myself the way I am’ – and at the same time not expressing frustrations. My reason for doing that makes perfect sense. If thoughts become things, then let’s change ‘bad’ things in to good – then all that can ever happen is good. Right?
Wrong. The trick I believe I missed was to accept whatever emotions or frustrations that were happening at the time. Thinking about them and accepting them was never going to make them any stronger or pose any threat! Far from it. By acknowledging my natural ‘humanness’ and just allowing myself to ‘be’ then I can accept every single aspect – everything – without criticism or blame. And I can then just let it go. Let the angry, worried, frightened (whatever the ‘bad’ stuff happened to be) emotions wash through and past me – while I waved them “Bon Voyage”.
No Regrets
People often ask me whether I think I actively invited a sociopathic personality in to my life. Whether on some level I ‘deserved’ the cruel treatment I received – from my ex as well as from the people in my past. My honest response is this. It doesn’t matter to me where the pain comes from. Who delivers it. Why they’re here. Or what I did to ‘invite’ or ‘allow’ it to happen to me. Rather than dwell too much on the bad situations or people that turn up, or try to label them ‘sociopathic’ ‘abuser’ ‘narcissist’ or any other name, I choose instead to focus on what I can now do about my circumstances. Just like accepting my humanness, I will acknowledge and accept that what happened was wrong and hurtful… and then I’ll do my very best to let it go. And that process may well take some time. Good. I can take all the time I like, because it’s important to honour and accept what happened and how I felt, so that I can move through and past it freely and with joy. While doing that, I also reflect back and do my very best to find the ‘gift’ in the experience – so that I can be certain to recognise and deal with it should a similar person or situation appear again.
But it’s taken me a long time to reach this level of understanding. It’s been a harrowing journey at many times. And, as I said right at the beginning… I’m not saying I have all the answers. Heck, it may well turn out that I don’t have any answers at all – I may be totally wrong in what I’m thinking and believing at the moment! But….
You know what, though? When I look outside at my life that’s surrounding me right now, and compare it to what it’s been…. Even running a mental check right back through the years to my childhood…. I can honestly say that I feel happier, more settled, and more content than I can ever remember before. And I know, I absolutelyknow in my heart of hearts that this is just the beginning.
As Louise Hay says “Our thoughts create our reality, and a thought can be changed in a moment”. Every day is a new day, and right now it’s the most fulfilling adventure I’ve ever experienced!
Love and blessings to all – even more than you’ve imagined before :-)
PS – if anyone fancies experiencing a giggle about the typically good old-fashioned British humour that I grew up with, here’s a link to Morecombe and Wise singing about “Positive Thinking” from their 1976 Christmas special… it always makes me smile http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKN7aWTUrIU

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Lovefraud: Learning To Trust Again


Well – what a week it’s been! Last Wednesday I received the all-clear from my biopsy, and what a massive relief it was… So massive that I hadn’t fully understood how much I had been stressing over the whole episode. Yes, I know, it’s only natural to feel anxious over the potential of discovering a life-threatening illness, but I hadn’t appreciated just how much I’d been holding in, boxing off, pushing away so that I could deal with life on a day-to-day basis.
It took a good couple of days for the good news to sink in, and since then I’ve felt more ‘alive’ and full of beans than I have done for a long time. It’s only now that I’m feeling lighter and brighter, that I realize just how tense and low I had allowed myself to become. I guess there’s a whole lot of truth in that old sayings “we don’t know what we don’t know” – and let me tell you, now that I do know how much better I’m feeling, I am ready to grasp life with both hands. I’m enjoying a newfound and sense of liberty and excitement, and I notice that I have a huge smile most of the time now – inside and out. I also have a new level of calmness and confidence that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced before.
Minor Irritations
Funnily enough, I’m also experiencing a number of ‘hiccups’ that I’m finding quite irritating – businesses closing just when I need to make an appointment, people not returning calls, my car breaking down, electrical equipment playing up. In previous times, I would likely have reacted one of two ways. Either I would have let it wash over me as if nothing had happened, or perhaps I would have scrunched up my face and clenched my teeth – but still not let anything ‘bad’ escape my lips. Now though, and this last week in particular, I have certainly been expressing my frustrations! I don’t think I’ve ever really done that before – well, certainly not in the way I have been cussing and stamping my feet over recent days. And you know what? It’s actually been feeling pretty darned good!
Previously, you see, I’d learned and believed that the more I chose to focus on something, the more I would bring similar experiences in to my life. The fact is I still believe that to be true. What I believe I hadn’t fully appreciated in the process before though, was that I can still focus on the ‘good stuff’ while also honoring very real sensations of irritation or frustration. Instead of doing that, however, I’d succeeded in pushing aside anything and everything that I’d deemed remotely ‘negative’ within my experience, which simply resulted in me ignoring myself. In doing so, I believe I also succeeded in shutting down my own intuition. After all, if I wasn’t respecting the niggling feelings because I’d judged them to be in some way harmful, then surely it stands to reason that I’d been equally incapable of accepting the good emotions as well…?
Thoughts Create Experiences
So here’s the irony. Many years ago I studied and worked as a Louise Hay trainer, where the whole ethos is all about loving and accepting ourselves – exactly as we already are. It’s also about the notion that thoughts become things. That changing our thinking radically changes our experiences and, therefore, our lives. That negative or unconstructive thoughts will naturally create negative experiences – right? Yes, all of that makes sense (and I still hold true to that perception of the world) and yet at the same time I was consciously choosing my thoughts, I now believe that I was subconsciously squashing myself. Despite myself, therefore, I had been living against the principal of loving myself – exactly as I already am!
How on earth could I trust my intuition if I couldn’t acknowledge and accept every response and emotion that was true for me? How on earth could I expect myself to know – to truly know – the difference between what was good or bad for me, if I steadfastly ignored the signs to say that something is wrong?  Yes, I could (and still can) choose my thoughts and create a more positive reality for myself – but in the process I couldn’t possibly fully know and accept myself within that positive reality.
Bottom line is, I wasn’t trusting myself. At least, that’s the way I see it now.
Now I’m really learning to trust myself – more so than ever before. And for me, that means allowing myself to feel, accept and express all manner of emotions. While I’m sure it may sometimes mean that a few of my responses may appear to be a little heavy handed while I get used to acknowledging the annoyances, I do believe that with practice I’ll find a level ground. And I also believe, that as I continue to recognize these little (or large) frustrations and express them honestly, that I’ll have less and less need for nuisances in my life. By which I mean, that the more I accept these ‘not so positive’ emotions as they arise – without judgment, labels or blame – then surely the more and more I am trusting and accepting myself?
Surely that therefore means that I can expect – and accept – an even more fulfilling life than I am currently enjoying…?
So, I am grateful for all the annoyances that have been showing themselves this week. And, rather than think that perhaps my thinking is somehow flawed for such things to be turning up in my life, I’m choosing instead to know that these are all more opportunities to express myself with more authenticity.
I guess the one thing to be aware of, though, is to make sure I don’t start enjoying showing my fierce or annoyed self too much – otherwise I could turn in to a perpetually grouchy person! Note to self – frowning will create a whole new batch of wrinkles. Much better to just make sure the smiley lines become more deeply engrained :-)