What changed my way of thinking?

 

One incredible moment in time became the catalyst for my new life. I realised a woman’s total package goes way beyond anything I had ever dreamt. Beyond the physical, it stretches to embrace the emotional, spiritual and shadow sides.

confidence, self esteem, spiritual, emotional

 

If I have learned one thing from my quietly confident self, it is to follow my heart. If something does not feel right then it probably isn’t and an avalanche of emotions can leave you wanting to hide, to run, to seek safety when in fact the learning’s are within you waiting to be released – yet you are blind to it at  times of intense challenge.

There I was sitting with friends in the dappled sunlight on the verandah of a hospital room. It was September 4th 2002. The conversation flittered from subject to subject. We all knew why we were there.  The warm and fuzzy I was getting from their presence was shattered by an earth shattering scream of ‘Dianne -come quick’.

 Three paces took me to my husband’s bedside and 3 minutes later he was gone. Three things hit me – I was alone, I was scared and I did not want to accept it. The love of my life, the man who showed me unconditional love and the man who had adored me for 31 years lay lifeless before me.

Little did I know that this was to be a pivotal experience that would lead to a changed outlook on my life. That it would help me to release the shackles of my past and allow me to make a difference in the lives of other women.

How I would love to say, I picked up, pushed on and positively shone from my every pore. No, no, no! It was however time, time for me to be catapulted into the life of a widow. How that term grated on me as I groped and clawed my way forward. Today, looking back I scarcely recognise that woman.

 

confidence, fears, low confidence, low self esteem

 

My coping mechanism was to work harder, faster and longer  than I ever had before. I was totally involved in anything and everything. I cleaned and fussed and pushed, pushed and pushed harder. I have never liked eating alone – so I stopped eating. It was not a conscious decision to lose weight it just seemed natural to my confused brain.

12 kgs fell from an already tall, slim frame. One morning I just could not do anything. My body had come to a screaming halt and I knew I needed help. The flurry began to Dr’s, psychologists and my self help journey began and gradually gained momentum.

It was a huge challenge for me to take that first step. Dealing with my grief sent me back to face significant early childhood challenges. In brief I had a violent alcoholic father who told me I was stupid, useless and worthless. Mental abuse was the order of the day, physical violence was directed at my mother with the implication that I was next. I spent a lonely, frightened and unhappy childhood. As a young teenager I had absolutely no self confidence, no self esteem and no self belief. At the age of 15 I went looking for love and rape found me – pack rape.  A pregnancy and an adoption resulted. The welfare workers in the 1960′s were controlling, overbearing and lacked compassion. Their words rang in my ears – ‘you are a disgrace to yourself, your family, Nambour, Queensland, Australia, the Universe and everything in between. No decent man will ever want you – go nursing and get out of society’s way’.

So I did, I became officious and efficient. Every TV show you ever saw with a bitch Matron, I was it, that was my persona.  Life was tough, discipline was tougher and it was there that I developed the resilience and tenacity that would serve me well throughout my life.  I met and married a man with 4 children ages 10-16 and I was 24. We added our own son to the mix, life was full, busy, challenging and we loved it.  I was safe,  loved and cherished.

 Then suddenly, life as I knew it was gone.

 

 5 things that supported me through my years of change were:

  1. Acknowledging and accepting that I was responsible for my own life and what happens to me. This was not always easy. We are meant to enjoy life and be filled with health, vitality and confidence.
  2. Developing and honing my confidence and my resilience by continually embracing the changes in my new life. To seek joy, happiness and enjoy all the little things that make me smile. It is possible to have moments of enjoyment even in the midst of chaos.
  3. Journaling daily, it constantly re-programs my mind for what I want to bring into my life. It is from that place that I attract and receive. That has now extended to blogging for mature women.
  4. Learning and practicing techniques and processes that I use to this day help me to continue to grow as a person.
  5. Developing the art of forgiveness and gratitude. Part of my journey was writing and self publishing my story, called ‘Beyond Abuse’. In order to be able to write that book I needed to come to a point of forgiveness and show gratitude to Dad and the rapists. I could never have written it otherwise. That message has flowed through then, now and into my future. Forgiveness is not a destination it is a process, it does not happen in a heartbeat. Learning to be patient with my process was a learning curve.

As a result I have become richer in life experience, calmer and more compassionate. Today I chose to work with mature women who have been through life changing challenges. I believe that when we face significant  life stressors we need a hand just like I did. A phrase that I have found useful ‘A helping hand does not stop at the wrist it extends to the heart’.

 

love, gratitude, forgiveness, conmfidence, compassion

If you or someone you know has had a similar experience and is starting over I would love to hear from you. You can reach out to me here in a comment or at di@diriddell.com. I offer one on one coaching and also a 21 day online Confidence Challenge.

 

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>