Thoughts for Friday – 16th May 2014

Natalie Goldberg

I’ll be honest with you all and admit that this edition of ‘Thoughts for Friday’ nearly didn’t make it to the publishing stage this week.

As some of you may know, I am in the process of moving into a new home and rather stupidly only allowed myself one day to actually move all of my stuff from one place to another. With the faffing that comes with moving one’s things in such a short space of time, my free time for writing this week has been seriously curtailed.

Perhaps this is why Natalie Goldberg’s words spoke to me so clearly this week.

Not wishing to wax lyrical about myself, but for many years I have been making choices in life that have suited others better than they have myself, and it has been through many hours of painstaking therapy that I have come to realize that my compulsion to please others before myself has seriously limited my options and provided me with a rather myopic view of life.

My childhood was not an easy one, and this neither the time or the place to explain why, except to say that I was given a rather skewed view of myself and my worth as a human being by someone who should have nurtured me and helped me grow into a well-adjusted adult. Having not received the guidance I should have, I have had to take it upon myself to learn the concept of loving and caring for myself as an adult.

There is no truer adage than the old saying ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ How true this is for an adult attempting to reverse the psychological trauma of an unhappy childhood. It really isn’t that easy to forget decades of misinformed beliefs about yourself and the world around you, to do so takes time, effort, and a lot of soul searching.

Over the course of the last year I have embarked on a quest to leave the bitterness of my past behind and to move on and make some sort of life for myself. I will admit to you now that the process has often been traumatic and upsetting, one which I would compare to opening an old wound time and again. We all have an inbuilt need to protect ourselves from pain and we often choose to retreat in order to keep ourselves from harm, undertaking intensive therapy requires a lot of inner strength and the courage to face the kinds of things that one has spent much of their life running away from.

My therapist has been pushing me to stop doing what might be best for others and to do something for myself for once. This was a difficult concept for me to get my head around and finally resulted in me taking the massive step of deciding to move out on my own and cut a different path in life. The process of uprooting from one place in order to settle in another has not been without its difficulties, but I am looking forward to embarking on an adventure of a lifetime, seeing more of the world around me than I ever have before.

Goldberg’s words give me the added incentive of knowing that life doesn’t last forever and that if we don’t make the most of what we have now that we will never get that lost time back. Thirty years from now, saying that I lived my life for other people will be of little comfort to me, I am responsible for the life I lead and the choices I make. I need to live for now and for me before I let my life slip away before my own eyes.

Branching out on my own with no safety net to fall back on is a terrifying thought, but it is something I must do. Life is for living for yourself (while still being mindful of others) You have one life to live. Live it.



Filed under Thoughts for Friday

18 responses to “Thoughts for Friday – 16th May 2014

  1. Deb

    I am in the same place as you are but not by choice. My life change came due to my husband of 43 years death a few weeks ago. So now, I must learn to live life all over again. Never have had ANY self-esteem or felt any worth…and this is not exactly easy. Good luck to you tho on your adventures!

    • I am so sorry to hear of your loss, please accept my sincerest sympathies for your situation. Perhaps we can both find a little self esteem and worth together in this journey?

      Heather xxx ❤

      • Deb

        That would be nice. Right now the thought of a journey just sounds like another hard trip to take. Know what I mean?
        Deb xxoo

      • I understand. Know that you have people around who will support you though ❤

      • Deb

        Sometimes I wish my blog friends were closer so we could have coffee or just chat in person. Since they have been reading my thoughts and feelings not expressed to family and what few friends I do have, they would already know how I feel. Sound corny?

      • Not at all, I know exactly what you mean. Some of the people closest to me live in places far away from where I am. I agree that sometimes you just yearn for a hug or chat over a cup of coffee with those people and it hurts because you can’t do that.

        Hang in there and take each day at a time, ok? ❤

  2. I couldn’t agree more, Heather. I read something likening it to what they tell you a plane, that is.. put your own life jacket on before trying to help others. You can’t really help anybody else until you’re sorted yourself. Wishing you every happiness in your new home 🙂

    • Thanks Cathy 🙂

      Even though it has taken me all my life to recognise it, I need to make sure that I look after myself to a certain extent so that I can continue to help others who may need support. I can’t give aid to others if I’m drowning in my own mire at the same time.

      I spent my first night in my new home last night and really enjoyed it. It’ll be much more comfortable when all the large furniture is moved in! 😆

  3. A very true and motivating post! Life is for living 😀

  4. Good for you Heather. I think that your story is much like the story of so many, unfortunately. As a Christian, I read the Bible. And even in the Bible it says, “To love your neighbor as you love yourself”. You can’t really love another, until you love yourself first. So you go girl. Love on yourself and live your life.

    • Thanks Staci ❤

      I did wonder if I revealed a bit too much of myself in this post but I was drawn by a need to be open and honest about some of the issues that I face. I try to maintain a happy demeanour but it is not always that easy when your heart is breaking and you're in a significant amount of emotional pain.

      I need to take this opportunity to live my life for me (to a certain extent) so that I can be the pillar of strength that my loved ones need in times of trouble.

      Please accept my apologies for not commenting on your recent blog posts yet, I am woefully behind with the move and everything, i promise to catch up soon though! 🙂

      • Hi Heather. Oh, no need to apologize. I totally understand. I have been crazy busy myself. In fact this weekend, I ended up doing nothing. Saturday afternoon I was exhausted and ended up sleeping it away.

        I’m glad to see that you opened up and shared. We really need to that at times. I believe it’s a healthy thing to do. And as you take good care of yourself, you will have strength to be there for your loved ones in their time of need.

        Hope you’re enjoying your new place. Very exciting time.


      • Hi Staci,

        I am having fun in my new place and it has been of great benefit to me already to be able to have my own little space that is mine in the world, you know?

        I can already feel myself just feeling better about things, better than I have done in months in fact. The only small cloud on the horizon is that all of the physical stress of moving has led to me to catch a cold and I find myself coming down with a sore throat and the sniffles.

        I shall persevere though! 🙂

  5. An honest, heart-felt post that took courage to write. An excellent quote to support it, too. ❤

    • Thanks Kate, you know that your thoughts and comments always mean a lot to me ❤

      This quote really struck me during what has been a tumultuous few weeks. I think I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now 🙂

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