Sunday, February 6, 2011

Does My Life Need a Coach?

I am generally a happy person. I laugh and smile and joke and tease a lot. Even during the happiest days of my life, there are always down moments, but they were generally short-lived. So, I was unpleasantly surprised when I found myself not happy for several months. From about August until just after Christmas, I was sad, angry, frustrated, and impatient.

Why I felt that way was situational, as I've mentioned in previous blogs. Basically, two women I had thought were tried-and-true, friends-for-life grew into people I didn't like anymore. I felt confused and disappointed that they were no longer who I expected them to be. I've also changed as well, and now I don't put up with conduct that I feel is dishonourable, selfish or unkind. So that meant, for these two women, that I had to stop all contact.

But it seemed to really trigger something in me. Those women have genuinely changed, and who they are now is disappointing, with values and conduct that I find weak and vain. Yet, although I found this whole experience distasteful, I was surprised that I found it so upsetting. That's why I felt it was a trigger of some sort. After all, I have 'lost' friends before, but it was never so bitter or unpleasant. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't so... painful.

People come and go in our lives, and people change. I expect that. I don't always like it, but I expect it. So for these two to change, and make their noisy exit, well, it's sad in some ways, but it's also an expected part of life. So what was so upsetting for me??

I couldn't figure it out. Part of it is definitely that I felt taken advantage of, that my kindness and generosity was accepted, but not my friendship. A little bit like in my dating days, if I was out with a new fella and knew it was not going to progress beyond dinner... I always paid for myself. I just never thought it was fair to let a man pay my way if I was just getting a free dinner out of it. If it was part of the getting-to-know-each-other process, part of developing a relationship, or part of an ongoing relationship, sure. But if I realized I was in it only for the meal, I would never let someone pay for dinner when I can pay for myself. So in a way, I guess I feel that I was that poor guy, thinking he's in a relationship and paying for his girl, when the girl is thinking, you better be paying, sucker, and I'm ordering five courses!

And the more I thought about that, the more I realized that I have become more and more someone who is caring towards others, but less and less someone that puts myself first. I love to be caring. I love to help people if I can. I don't want to lose that. But man, I gotta put myself first. I want to learn how to see my own needs more clearly, and to go out and take care of them.

So my MIL suggested I check into a workshop on self-confidence. I asked for a bit more help, and she sent me a couple of links that she found and told me what to search for. (Keep in mind I live in Holland, and even though I am officially fluent in Dutch there are a lot of specific words or phrases or expressions that I don't know. So knowing what to look for was pretty handy!) I checked a couple out, most were quite expensive or inconvenient to get to. I emailed a couple with a few questions.

Later that day, Marloes Elbrink from Stekker Coaching called me in response to my email. I was on my way out so we made an appointment to speak the next day. The next afternoon, she asked me some pretty specific questions to find out what it was I was looking for. She told me that Stekker Coaching wasn't offering any workshops for a couple of months, but she thought that working with a Life Coach might be effective. She invited me to an intake-appointment to see if Life Coaching might have meaning for me.

I decided to take her up on her offer. I'll tell you all about it later!

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