Questions I would have liked to have been asked
February 11th, 2013 - By Sue Plumtree
I’ve recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Woman’s Hour, The Daily Mail and The Telegraph.
It is impossible, in the brief time, to cover more than the absolute minimum. But it left me wishing we’d had more time and print space to examine the things that, in my opinion, are really important: how did I get from feeling as if I were invisible in my marriage to today, where, now well into my sixties, I’m continually attracting loving and supportive relationships, and working as the Life Enhancing Coach which is deeply rewarding.
Having had my own life coach by my side made a huge difference. I have no doubt I would not have been able to do this all on my own, even with the support of loving friends. I’m deeply aware that a coaching relationship is like no other. But, at the end of the day, he didn’t do it for me. That journey, every step of the way, was my own. What were those steps? I describe my journey in my autobiography ‘Dancing with the Mask: learning to love and be loved’. If you want to know more please click here
The process was one of taking baby steps, one at the time. In the beginning I blamed my ex and everybody else for my own unhappiness. I gradually came to realise that blame kept me in victim-mode, helpless and unable to change anything.
Beginning to take responsibility – by which I mean that acknowledging how I contributed to the quality of my life, my marriage and my relationships – was a profoundly liberating experience. It empowered me and allowed me to change the areas of my life that were not working for me. Most importantly, I identified habits, especially habits of thought as well as behaviour and limiting beliefs that had kept me small and stuck, feeling helpless and unable to make any significant changes. You can’t change if you don’t know what it is that needs changing.
One of my strategies used to be pretending everything was fine and trying to ignore my deep unhappiness. It took a long time before I was able to admit the truth to myself. Learning to tell the truth took on a whole new meaning: what were really my needs and wants? What really mattered to me? How did I want to be treated? How was I treating myself that kept me small, oppressed and unable to stand up for myself, believe in myself, know myself to be worthy of the good things in life? Why did other people treat me carelessly, take me for granted, ignore me? More importantly, why did I allow it? It was a huge revelation for me when I sat down and made a list of how people treated me that left me feeling hurt, angry, upset, resentful or taken for granted. Then, listing how I really wanted to be treated allowed me to articulate feelings I had barely acknowledged, especially to myself.
What shocked me was seeing that I acted towards myself in the same careless way I allowed others to treat me. I was appalled when I finally allowed myself to see how I kept ignoring my own needs, my habit of pretending I felt OK when I clearly didn’t, and all the many ways I kept deceiving, sabotaging and letting myself down.
There was clearly a lot of work I needed to do to become the woman I wanted to be. I finally reached the point where the pain of living my life I was living it was worse than the courage I needed to surrender to the possibility that I’d got it wrong. That was the moment when I realised that there was indeed another way.
My long-suffering life coach had been hitting his head against the brick wall of my defensiveness and resistances for a long time (despite my protestations of wanting to change) but now all that changed. I finally admitted to myself that I was the one who needed to change if I wanted my life to be different.
I won’t lie to you. It wasn’t easy which is why I feel so grateful that I had him in my life to hold my dream when I faltered. But the fact that today I’m enjoying the results, that my sixties are turning out to be the best decade of my life, has made it all worth it.
When my life changed I looked back to see how I had done it and I identified a series of principles that are powerful and fundamental. I consolidated my insights into a model I call ‘The 10 Life Enhancing Principles’™ that now inform my life, my coaching and my writing.
If you are ready to make a commitment to yourself, if you’re ready to create a life that is rich and rewarding click here to contact me to arrange a free consultation. I would love to hear from you.Tags: blame, change, choice, coaching, courage, empowered, empowerment, happiness, needs and wants, options, partner, relationships, resentment, responsibility, unhappiness