Honesty

communication, Connect, Fear, fear of unknown, Growth, Honesty, Learning, Self development, writing

I wanted to write today about something so important to me and something that is really beginning to have a positive effect on my life. I want to write about being more open and honest. Honest with myself hence honest with others. If a friend or partner said something to me that upset me I would think and say a lot. Numerous thoughts and multiple conversations. The only problem was that these conversations were in my head.

I would never say this to the person involved. What was it that stopped me? Fear! What would they say? What would they do? What would they think of me? What would happen? How would it, could it be resolved? Fear of the unknown would hold me back yet again.

A few years ago I spoke to a friend about our relationship. A huge undertaking. Fear. Anxiety. Exposed. Vulnerability. These words were how I felt. Then I started to speak. As more words came out of my mouth I felt more relaxed. I was finally connecting to my truth, my innermost feelings. I felt more free, empowered and connected.

I began to realise that the only negative in the situation is in keeping your thoughts to yourself. How the other person responds in the communication is not your problem. Speaking calmly, without judgement, with honesty and respect is enough. I felt proud that I could do that.

Honest communication can be effective in growing a relationship and bringing a deeper connection. Sometimes it can reveal what you may already know deep inside, that a relationship has grown apart. I will write about this in more detail in another post. The outcome will show you what to do next, if anything. It will bring an issue to the table.

Being honest is learning a skill. Nerves, anxiety takes over at the start. You can be defensive, your protection to a perceived threat. Your survival instincts kick in. This is normal. For some, this is an extreme reaction. For all, there is a sense of needing protection. You can not be grounded and anxious at the same time as you can not be in two contradictory states at the same time.

If you are not grounded, you are unlikely to speak with assertion and integrity. Your basic need is protection, safety. If you are not self aware, you do not have a healthy sense of self and/or you have yet to practice honesty your response is likely to be defensive and often aggressive in nature. You put on your armour ready to fight. Fire! You let out a barrage of aargh. You blast your emotions everywhere. This is not a calm, honest expression of how you feel. It is a myriad of emotions rolled into one sticky flapjack.

For me, it was sadness, frustration and anger mixed with portions of isolation. Feeling unimportant and sometimes feeling invisible. It was fear mixed with a longing to just express how I was feeling as an open conversation.

A memory comes to mind. I was in a coffee shop last year (yes I know, I love my coffee shops). I had an incident with non other than a lady and a cup of soya milk. The simplest experiences often provide the biggest learning. The gist of the conversation was that the lady was blaming me for wasting coffee when quite simply the drink was just wrong, a few times. My chest was tight, I had uncomfortable feelings throughout my body. Despite this, I was aware there was a difference.

I was not taken over by my feelings. There was a change, a shift and quite a big one. I spoke. I did not react. I was assertive. I was not defensive. I showed confidence in myself and what I knew to be right. I simply explained how I felt. I did not feel bad. I did not raise my voice. I spoke calmly. I felt amazing. I felt empowered. I felt super proud.

I was exercising the ‘power of now’.

This was another pinnacle moment in my honesty with other people. Actually, it is really an honesty with myself. I am not hiding what I am feeling. I am not hiding what I am thinking. If something needs to be said I am more able to say it. This is an ongoing road for me, a relatively new road so I am sure I will not manage it every time. This is ok. I am aware.

The beauty of learning and growing

Sophie Marie

Seeing light at the end of the tunnel

Baby steps, Beauty, Embrace true self, enge, Fear, Follow own path, Good enough, Growth, Interior design, Life, Light, Organisation, Patience, Small steps, Uncategorized, Unique, Write

Hi all, I wanted to write today about the importance and effectiveness of baby steps and slowly chipping away at a job/project. I have been working on our home since we moved in over three years ago. I remember having so many creative ideas, my creative juices were not just flowing they were overflowing. I knew, or thought I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it to be done. I also fell foul to my impatience. A heady mix of enthusiasm, passion and excitement rolled up in a large blanket of impatience. The truth is, we are all impatient at times. Some people decide they want to lose weight and are disillusioned when they don’t lose what they want to by a given time. Others decide to take on a project and wonder what is wrong with them when they don’t achieve certain results in a timely manner. We are all guilty of wanting quick results, a faster turnaround or set ourselves unrealistic goals which all inevitably fail. People like to see what they want and with this they only see the end result and how to get there in the least amount of time. This method, although may work in some areas temporarily, only serve to end in disappointment as it doesn’t have long standing sustainability.

People are lazy. I don’t mean to sound harsh but it is true. People like instant gratification. When it doesn’t happen the result is blame. We blame ourselves and judge ourselves harshly or we blame someone else for our lack of progress. The truth is, long lasting results can only be achieved with a long standing method. Sounds simple. In theory yes so why do so many people still do it. Why do we set ourselves up for a fall. Why do we think getting something quick is the best way, a good way. Do we think we are more intelligent if we do it quicker or are we trying to prove something to someone else. If we get there before others, does this mean we are better, more worthy. No. If you want to be quicker, there will always be someone before you that has already done it quicker. It follows the same lines of there will always be someone smarter, thinner, taller, than you. If you think of it in this context you will never win. In this way, there is always someone else involved and when we try and compete, be better we are basically saying that we alone are not good enough. I am not saying do not have goals or strive to be more, just use yourself as the goal and build your own scale of progress.

Despite living in the same world, we were born with unique skills and capabilities. We need to use these and learn to understand that life was not created to follow a path. You were given life. You are unique and as such you need to learn that your life is also unique. Society tells us that we go to school then college, university, get a great job, get married, have a child and all in that order. When life doesn’t go exactly this way people wonder what is wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with you. You may be just following the wrong path. Your path may not go in that order or even have those aspects within it. People like to know what they are doing and where they are going. They do not like the unknown. People fear the unknown, it creates uncomfortable feelings which people want to run from. Anything unknown will always have an element of fear this is natural. The only way to get past this is to try. Once you have done it once fear loses its power as it is no longer an unknown. Each time you do it becomes less of an unknown and more of a known. This is when you have the power. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, we need fear to guide us and to challenge us in our thinking and doing. As scary as this may sound to some, there is no plan or rule book to life and what you have heard is from fairytales or from black and white thinking. The world is not black and white. The world is full of colour, accents, shades and tones and the only way to see the amazing variations in colour is to start looking at yourself and understanding that you have a unique path which only you know. It is up to you to start looking at what feels right to you, what fits with you and how that can fit into your life/path. There is no life path, only your path.

Sophie Marie

When you start to do this, you learn to understand the beauty in small steps. When I started decorating and designing our home I decided in my head that I would complete the whole house in a few months. As I write this now I laugh. My creativity was there, my passion and excitement however what I failed to do was to look at achievability. Was this achievable? I was passionate, would this not help? I was capable, did this not count for something? Yes, of course these all help to achieve but were my goals achievable? No, of course not. I thought I could because it is what I wanted. Pure and simple. I wanted it done quick and I thought that was enough. How funny. Quite ridiculous to write and read this. We all do it. It doesn’t make us bad people or stupid, it makes us human. What is so powerful is when you learn the beauty in seeing your own progress.

I regularly have to stop and reflect on how different our home is compared to how it was when we bought it. I sometimes get impatient and beat myself up for not yet having a finished home. This is when I have to stop and look around. Simply look at the beautiful, opulent colour on our walls. The stunning lamp that sits beautifully in an alcove next to a yellow photo frame. This is one of my favourite areas and I created it. It was bare, then I painted it. I then spent time looking for the perfect piece (perfect to me) and patiently waited until the right piece presented itself to me. I did it. It took time, there was no quick process and I was very patient at times.

I am not interested in buying for the sake of it or doing a rush buy. I am only interested in buying what is right for our home. All the pieces match my personality which is paramount to me. We live in our home, not a home. There is a huge difference. A friend came to mine Saturday and I was able to show her a few new things that we have invested in since she was last here. It gave me another chance to show the progress and for my friend to see where the house is now. They also get a chance to share in the beauty of my process. Saturday was a big day for me as it was the first day in a while that I could see the accumulation of all my/our hard work. I am including my daughter here as she does help me and spends time helping to organise her bedroom so that she knows where everything is and all her belongings have a place. She puts up with me when impatience kicks in and I get overexcited and embarrassing about storage.

It is hard to explain how it felt. It was a deep feeling, one that hit me hard in a nice way. I was in the kitchen and it just came over me. I realised how most places in the house are organised now. All the baby steps have taken form. Each drawer I tidied out, each item I found a home for and countless bags I gave to charity. The baby steps are the beauty steps. You can not always see the benefit of each small task however it is the accumulation of tiny steps that has led me here. Led me to this warm, touching feeling. This feeling of immense pride and shock. Shock that I can see what a difference there is. It feels like it has just happened but it hasn’t. The baby steps have added up and there is now a massive clearing. The overriding feeling has stayed with me, I can feel it strongly as I write. It feels light. It feels clear, ethereal. It is a beautiful feeling. The beauty of light.

Go and take your first baby step. Where will it take you?

With hope and love

Sophie Marie

Chocolate for memory and revisiting the past (Part 1)

Alone, Anger, Angry, Cancer, Diagnosis, Fear, Forgetfulness, Helplessness, Hospital, Memory issues, Revisiting the past, Triggered by trauma, Unfairness

Well it has turned into a funny week. No major events, slightly quieter business wise this week but nothing else specific. I have had a few (apologies) gynaecological issues again which have repeated a pattern from last year where I ended up having a myriad of tests, scans, examinations, ultrasounds and an endometrial biopsy. It was a very upsetting, stressful time for me resulting in having general anaesthesia to remove a fibroid and polyps from my uterus. My memory, or more like lack of it is rubbish. I am having one of those weeks that for me are usually affected by a stressful event or of doing too much. Neither of these are happening however I am forgetting things a lot more. I literally just drove to the wrong village. Luckily only five minutes between them however I was like “Sophie, where are you going?”. This is a new one for me as I have never written (in public) about medical issues. I am being so much more open and honest with how I am feeling, very honest in fact. Its a new feeling but it feels nice. It feels safe. It feels real so I am just going with it.

I had different bloods done yesterday and my doctor has referred me for an ultrasound to check all is working as it should. When it comes to checks and doctors, nothing of interest however when you throw in further tests and ultrasounds I have often been triggered into a mass of emotion and at times sheer panic. I don’t feel any panic as I do not feel there is anything sinister happening in my body (I really believe that) however it obviously does bring some things up or I guess I would not be sat here writing about this. About thirteen years ago following a lot of different tests, xrays and scans I went to a hospital appointment and was told there and then that they thought I had cancer. They told me that they thought I had Hodgkins Lyphoma and that although cancer, it was supposed to be one of the better cancers to have. I don’t think the latter part entered my mind, all I heard was cancer.

I received a myriad of information and within no time I was signing a consent form to be put to sleep for a biopsy in a few days. I was in shock and I was on my own. I rang my then husband crying my eyes out saying “they think Ive got cancer”. I didn’t really know what to do right then and there and we went to my mum and dads where my mum and brother were. We told them what the hospital had said, they obviously freaked out and my husband left me and went back to work. This latter point I will talk about in more detail in another blog as it is very relevant in how I view the world and the people that I now need by my side in the world.

Everything happened so quickly and I think within a few days I arrived at Blackburn Royal Hospital for my biopsy. I remember the early morning arrival like it was yesterday. We went into the tv room to wait, Everybody Loves Raymond was on tv. A gentleman asked me what I was in for. When I told him I was having a biopsy, he said something like “they don’t think you have cancer do they?” and I said yes. This man who I had never met was visibly upset. He did not cry however I could see the emotion in his eyes. I felt in that moment that this stranger really cared about me and it was nice and scary at the same time as it just emphasised the seriousness of the day.

I remember being in the operating room and a few doctors feeling around the lump I had near my clavicle and saying that he thought it was probably just my thyroid. He sounded like he was minimising. I don’t know if it was intentional to try and calm me however the next minute I was under. When I awoke, my then husband and brother were together standing next to my bed. They were talking and laughing, perhaps trying to make me laugh. I did not laugh. I know they were obviously doing what they needed to do to keep it together however hearing laughing and joking did not go down well with me and I shouted and got upset. I just had a potential piece of cancer cut out of me. Laughter made me angry. Laughing was the last thing that I wanted to do. I probably had cancer. I think I probably knew I had cancer. This was just the official diagnosis, the double check.

Within one week, we were in the hospital waiting room. I was so scared. I went through many scenarios in my mind. “Surely he wouldn’t leave me out here waiting all this time if I did have cancer”. “He knows I have cancer and he is scared to tell me”. Understandably I was not living in the moment waiting for what will be. I was overthinking. I was making up scenarios. I was going through everything that he was thinking. I was terrified.

We were told that I did indeed have what they suspected. I had Hodgkins Lyphoma. A cancer within the lymphatic system, sometimes described as a blood cancer. I had cancer. Me. We got outside the building and we hugged, a lot and I said “it’s not fair”. I don’t remember much else at that moment. Life changed. My life stopped in that moment. Everything happened so quick. My life changed from then on……..