Yesterday was an emotional day. Yesterday Stephen (life coach) asked me who my Role Model was. This took me a while to answer.
He wanted me to give him the name of the woman I most admired and would like to model my life on. And actually this turned out to be my Mum.
My mother was an amazing woman. She gave us a very loving, caring and supportive childhood. Always encouraging us to achieve our greatest potential without ever being over pushy, always listening, setting standards and teaching us to deal with issues – never to run. She made a decision early on that we would have a different childhood from her own. That she wouldn’t inflict on us the childhood she’d had.
Her parents had divorced when she was about 10 (in an era when divorce turned her into a pariah at school as divorce was so rare and so treated with social stigma), leaving her and her younger sister with her mother. Her sister died of TB/meningitis at the age of 15. Her father then spent the rest of his life resenting his remaining daughter and she went through vast periods in her life where her father refused to have any contact with her. Her mother became very ‘clingy’ and tried to stop her getting married.
Out of this background blossomed a woman who was incredibly wise, funny, feminine, girly and vulnerable. She supported my father totally, always encouraging him in his businesses and hobbies. People used to seek her advice on their problems and usually take it. She encouraged everyone to ‘stand tall’, be proud of who they were and to give to others. She was an amazingly giving person.
My mother-in-law couldn’t have been more different. And I now see that in my desire to fit in to my husband’s family I changed. Subtly over the 17 years of my marriage I stopped being me. I stopped ‘standing tall’. I started to stoop. To lower my horizons. I gave and gave and encouraged Alex to be who I believed he wanted to be. The trouble is I didn’t get much genuine encouragement back. Yes he would, from time to time, suggest I took up flying again or learn to paint. But I always felt as if the encouragement was pushing me away from him rather than being supportive and loving.
So – hard as it is to have to admit this – our marriage lacked growth because half of the partnership was taking and not giving – and I allowed that to happen.
So who is your role model? And Why? And are you sure – to the very bottom of your heart – that he/she is the right role model to have. If you have modelled your life, or your recent past, – consciously or sub-consciously – on this person and now find things aren’t the way you feel they should be then perhaps now is the time to have a re-think!
Yesterday I re-introduced myself to my true role model. Yesterday afternoon I cried a great deal. Yesterday turned out to be a very important day! Yesterday I remembered how to stand tall.