By Dr Kathy Murray
Education specialist, Author, Public Speaker, Coach and Mentor.
“What about me, it isn’t fair
I’ve had enough now I want my share
Can’t you see I wanna live
But you just take more than you give”
The words of Australian singer Shannon Noll resonate with many of us. I remember thinking this when I found myself without a job, broke after having to sell my house, car, shares, and more. My life had turned upside down – I found myself in desperate financial situation because I trusted someone! That meant I had to sell everything to pay off debt—and some of the debt wasn’t even mine! So, many, many times, I found the lyrics of this song running through my mind: “…it isn’t fair! I’ve had enough now I want my share!”
We humans commonly default to blaming difficult times on the actions of someone else. We believe that it’s all their fault. I wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for them! Then we begin to beat ourselves up over what could or should have been. The self-recrimination tape plays: I should have known better. I should never have trusted him. I’m smarter than this.
Does any of this sound familiar?
There seems to be a common pattern that I’ve noticed in myself and in the process that my friends have gone through when “stuff” happens. It’s almost like a grieving process on our journey to a happier time.
In my experience, it went something like this:
- Disbelief and confusion. How could he have done that? What does this mean for me and my future? How can I support my kids when I can’t support myself? I’m such a failure.
- Anger and betrayal. – A few swear words may or may not have been said! That feeling of getting even came over me. I felt determined to not get beaten. In this stage, I tried to remind myself: I am strong and can deal with anything. I have the whole universe working with me. That helped a little but didn’t change the reality.
- Hurt and tears. I struggled to understand how someone could make such a negative impact on my life when I’m a nice person, and I’d never treat someone like that. I tried to understand his reasoning for the decisions he made and tried to identify my own part in this.
- Realization of the implications of the situation. Ok, get a grip. This is how things are now, so what am I going to do. I need to pick up what I can and move forward. Being angry isn’t helping to get back on my feet. I don’t want to be that angry, bitter, and twisted woman!
- Victim thoughts. This is where the Shannon Noll song came back on repeat: “It isn’t fair” along with the feelings of shame, foolishness, embarrassment, and disappointment for allowing this to happen. If I’m honest, there was probably a bit of self-destruction going on at this point. I couldn’t see that things would ever be better. I was always going to struggle, be poor, never trust anyone, and I never, ever wanted to date or have a partner again— ever! Poor me. It isn’t fair!
- Blaming and shaming. Then I started to throw blame in his direction, allocating him as 90% responsible for where I was in life! I felt as though I’d been taken advantage of and control over my life had been taken from me. Now, I was at the tricky part of my journey. I had to recognize the victim behaviors and the blame mentality that was leading me to think, choose, and make decisions from weakness, not strength. I was living in a deficit mindset, focusing on all that I lacked.
- Knight in shining armour. Because I was in such a down state, I yearned for someone to save me, help me, fix things—it didn’t matter who. Maybe I’ll win some money… someone has to, right? Maybe a friend will sort out the legal issues for me. Subconsciously, I was thinking that if I just ignore this long enough then someone or something will happen and sort it out for me.
- Self-empowerment. Well guess what? No one did, and nothing happened! I didn’t win any money, and all the problems were still there. This realization created a shift inside me. No one is going to fix my life for me. Time to take back my power! Yes!
I’ve always been spiritual, very self reflective, and self-aware. As part of my business, I give talks on these topics, so it’s information I know well. I realized that I had all of the tools within me to deal with this situation and deal with it for the best possible outcome for all concerned. I was reminded of the statistics that our actions are based on 10% of what happens and 90% of how we respond.
I chose to use my brain to work out a solution, even though I was very fearful of how to move forward. I was frozen with fear some days. I had to face some unpleasant tasks, deal with people I’d rather avoid, speak my truth, be assertive, navigate financial and legal issues, and more. None of it was easy or fun.
Slowly, though, I began to see just how strong I was. My women friends became my cheerleaders and sounding boards. I began to go to business networking events and met some amazing people who had also dealt with difficulty and risen above it. I began to do more public speaking gigs with different audiences, customizing the topics so the messages related to them.
I began to see ME! I realized that I quite liked me.
During the past few years, while dealing with a roller coaster of emotions, I hadn’t given myself time to enjoy life. I was too busy surviving, or so I thought, stuck in a victim mentality while I waited for someone to rescue me. When I look back, I think that I was really just hiding from the world and avoiding what I knew I must do to clear this situation. I continued to work and no one would have known about the internal struggles I had with myself, trying to deal with things I just didn’t want to, or didn’t think I should have to.
Falling in Love!
So, I decided to date. I was ready. I wanted to go out into the world. I thought that I still had a reasonable figure, still looked ok, had a lot to offer, enjoyed lots of activities, and I really love people and love to laugh. Unexpectedly, I met this amazing person. We went to the movies, out to dinner, camping, on picnics, and this summer we will go snorkelling and spend a lot of time at the beach. Just like I used to before the rollercoaster ride. The person I met is a lot like me. I feel appreciated, loved, wanted, respected, and I look forward to our dates. I don’t feel alone anymore. It’s wonderful. I’ve found love!
Who have I found? Well… I found ME! I’m dating myself!
I’m showering myself with self love and appreciation. I choose to use positive words when I describe myself. I find the best features of me and focus on that, even though I acknowledge the less than perfect features. We all have them, don’t we? And it’s what makes us real. I tell myself how smart I am. I share my knowledge and skills openly. I give gratitude every day for the little, wonderful things in my life, like the washing machine that washes my clothes, the candle that smells divine, the dog who is always happy to see me, the sun on my face, the coffee in my cup—the simple things. I give myself time, care, and consideration. But most of all, I give gratitude for me. I love me! I’m so glad that I have met me again because I’m pretty awesome!
That childhood game that we have all heard when plucking flower petals from the stalk—“loves me… loves me not?”—doesn’t apply to me anymore. Because I know I love me. The anger has gone. The thoughts and actions of the victim, blamer, and martyr sometimes surface again, but my love for myself generally keeps them under control.
I have found that my change of energy is drawing people to me. Clients seek me out, people smile at me in the street, people want to be around me—and I want to be around me! One day, I might date someone else, but right now I am very happy with my date and constant companion—ME!
Does this self-awakening sound like a journey you also want to take? If you’d like to know more about these and other self-awareness strategies, you might be interested in my workshop “Are you who you think you are?”
Give me a call. I’d love to chat with you.
Where to from here?
If you want to know more strategies and different ways to support your child then I’d love to connect with you! Contact me through my website www.trainingandedservices.com.au OR email [email protected] OR join me on our Facebook page – Training and Education Services with Dr Kathy Murray.
Dr Kathy Murray has worked with children and families for 34 years as a teacher, researcher and university lecturer. Kathy now works casually with preservice teachers at Central Queensland University in Noosa, while supporting parents, early childhood educators, leaders and organizations through her consultancy business, Training and Education Services.