Updated: Jun 5
Warning! This blog contains content that you may find disturbing!
Spoiler alert, no cats or people were actually harmed in any way in this story but as you are about to find out, I didn't know that at the time and it literally rocked my world to the core!
Learn how I was able to:
face and let go of my fears,
take steps to nurture my own self-acceptance and practise more self-care and self-love.
know in my heart and soul that I am enough just as I am right now,
find the strength and inner confidence that I needed when it counted most
take charge and manage my stress and anxieties.
My Character Those of you that know me well, know that I am quiet and unassuming most of the time, very caring and giving but that I'm also never backwards about coming forward when I have something important to say or share which may surprise some. I'm usually the mediator and the peace keeper, the carer and never the one to rock the boat. Well, this time, I've had enough!
The last straw What happened to me and my family at the beginning of May 2021, rocked my world. On its own, it may not be considered to be much of 'a big deal' but to me, it was the last straw. After 18 months of lockdown having only just reopened my mobile Reflexology business again, our car had its catalytic converter taken, right outside our home. Devastating! There are others struggling far more than us right now I know but a bill for £500 just to cover the excess on our car insurance on top of everything else, through no fault of our own, has really hurt me and it feels personal.
You would be forgiven for thinking, that was what really jolted me. No, all this I could handle, unbelievable events almost seem to be the norm these days don't they. I've been working on my resilience as part of my own self-care, so although I'm not happy about it, I've moved on from that now and have put things in place to make up the shortfall in our family budget without having to put in extra work hours. No, what I really couldn't handle, was that the gang of thieves involved also threatened my husbands life with an iron bar and baseball bat, all for the sake of a piece of pipe under a car. I couldn't comprehend it and I felt completely powerless to be able to do anything of any use to help him in that moment and I felt guilty!
The truth of it
It forced me to re-examine what was really important to me in my life and it shocked me that some of my old long-held inner thoughts and beliefs, that I thought I'd let go of for good a long time ago, all came flooding back with a bang. In the face of extreme fear, terror and potential loss, I had reverted right back to being a small frightened helpless child. That is what I couldn't handle! The loss or potential loss of someone so dear and important to me for the sake of money. He is OK, they never touched him but I didn't know that at the time. I felt powerless and I felt destroyed, disrespected and completely useless, worthless to my husband in that one moment when he needed my help the most, I couldn't step up and provide it. That is where the guilt was coming from. Something inside me was still saying that there must have been more I could do. All it took was 4 men dressed in hoodies, a bat, a metal bar and an angle grinder, to take away any false sense of security that I had managed to build back up as we began to reemerge again from lockdown into a period of easing. The deep seated thoughts that came flooding back included: 'I'm not good enough' 'I'm too slow'
'I'm not strong enough'
'I'm not smart enough to come up with a solution'
'I'm not self sufficient enough' 'I freeze up, like a rabbit in headlights in high adrenaline situations' and
'I'm always anxious and prone to panicking when not fully in control of any given situation'.
I thought that I had overcome and changed these core negative beliefs long ago but they were back.
Why go public now?
So why am I telling you all this so publicly now? What has changed for me?
I was initially worried about sharing this story with you for fear that it contained some triggering content and that it would graphically show that I don't have all the answers for you. Clients want solutions! You want to know what value you will get working with me.
Then it hit me. My own self reflection in this blog would show you exactly what it would be like to work with me. I don't have all the answers, no one does, but what I do have is the time, empathy and skill to give you the breathing space you need to work through your own issues and take an hour out for your own self-care needs. We all hide our vulnerabilities for fear that they may make us appear weak and it takes great strength to air them, accept them for what they are and take action to do something about them but I am telling you now, it takes even greater strength to carry that burden around with you all the time without sharing it!
Managing stress and anxiety is a roller coaster ride. True self acceptance needs constant maintenance to make sure that events outside your control don't get on top of you and cause a spiral down into depression.
My primary business is currently Mobile Reflexology but I have some exciting news! From August, just in time for my Birthday, I will also be able to offer you Reflexology from my new treatment space. I have also been expanding my holistic toolkit over lockdown. I've proved to myself over the last few weeks that the unique combination of skills that I have combined together, really do offer you something new to try out and I think you're going to like it! It's OK to feel fearful in the face of danger! Fear is an emotion designed to help keep us safe. But when your nervous system is permanently on high alert all the time, it is no joke. Stress is a slow insidious killer that can rob you of the joys of life if you let it. It doesn't have to be that way. By developing ways that suit you and your lifestyle for yourself, you can safely release all those pent up feelings and emotions you collect and I can show you how. Ignore it, just keep going, being strong for everyone else but ignoring your own needs, all have costs attached to them that you will have to pay back eventually! You will pay for it either with dis-ease, physically in your body or it will become a mental health issue for you. It will manifest itself again and again in different ways until you get the message that you need to slow down and change the things that are no longer serving you so that you can live a much richer, fuller and more rewarding life than you currently do. You need to do something about them and let them go. If you need help doing this get in touch. Reflexology may just be the catalyst you need to give yourself the breathing space you need and with the additional support of NLP techniques and my active listening skills you know that you are in safe hands with me.
There is support out there
I know that with the right tools, help and support around you and the right mindset it is possible to change the way you see yourself. To be heard and understood is so liberating and empowering. I'm not just talking about appearing to be OK, putting on the smiling face and looking the part on social media. It is not about how you wish to be seen on the outside by other people, it is about how you wish to feel about yourself on the inside. I'm talking about you feeling OK about who you really are. Having somewhere and someone you can confide in, in a safe confidential space. It's about being brave enough to show up with all your flaws and imperfections and despite that inner terror that you may be rejected for having a different point of view, being different or doing things differently, knowing that when you are having a treatment with me, you are safe, it's all confidential and you will not be judged. You don't have to be strong for anyone else. Your treatment time is your time to recharge. We are all unique and amazing, each in our own way and I think that's wonderful.
As a past anxiety sufferer, I would be lying if I were to say that I have a quick fix for you. It took me a little while to get back to the right place again after this event. It took me 48 hours before I was able to step outside my front door but I did it! It took me a week before I got back into a car and it took me a month before I was ready to share this story with you but I'm winning and so can you.
My steps to recovery
Step 1 - Face the fear of not being good enough
I faced my fear of not being good enough and proved to myself that I am enough. You don't have to be physically strong to be strong. We all have hidden strengths and talents to behold.
Step 2 - Accept who you are, all of it and understand your own limitations
By accepting my natural tendencies to freeze when my body releases high levels of adrenaline and worked with that, rather than try to fight against it and lose, I was able to be the best version of myself that I could be in that moment. That took bravery and I am proud of myself for that. Comparing with others doesn't serve you. Comparing how far you have personally come is empowering.
Step 3 - Self Care and allowing yourself to be vulnerable
By giving myself the time I needed to recover, postponing a few appointments and booking myself in for some additional support, I took extra care of myself in the weeks that followed. I talked about it and practised my journaling to let out what had happened safely. I gave my family space to talk about it too. Not forcing anything but letting the emotions all pour out is the most healthy thing to do. If you have never journaled before then I highly recommend that you check out Suzanne Mountains Journaling online courses for 100s of journalling starter questions that can be used to support you in both your personal and business life.
I practised mindfulness and meditated about how I felt and that it was ok to feel all those emotions. It was ok to feel a sense of sadness and loss even though my husband was fine. My nervous system didn't know that so I needed to give it time to reset. It was OK to feel angry about it. I visualised being safe and being no less of a person for being honest with myself that I still have work to do on myself to let go of all that no longer serves.
As soon as I was able to, I got out in the fresh air into nature and upped my exercise levels. Even though I didn't feel like it, I still did my qi-gong and personal yoga practice which made me feel so much better.
Even though I felt sick to the stomach for some days afterwards, after initially not eating for a bit, I still drank plenty of water and once my nervous system had calmed down enough to allow me to eat, I was back to eating properly again and putting lots of colour on my plate. If you need help with this do get in touch with a local nutritionalist who can help you.
Step 4 - Self-love allowing yourself to feel grateful
This may be controversial for some but I practise being thankful every day. I think of 3 things to feel grateful for. It may come as a surprise that a form of self love is to allow yourself to forgive because the only person you hurt when you stay stuck in anger and bitterness is yourself. The thieves who stole from us will not be thinking or care how we are feeling, so I refuse to waste my energies on negative emotions that don't serve me. I choose instead to practise gratitude and be thankful that the thieves chose to hit out their warning shot on the bonnet of our car rather than my husband. I am grateful that my husband is alive and well and here to tell the tale. I am grateful that I had insurance and although we are now £500 out of pocket, it could have been so much worse. If you would like to learn more about the practice of gratitude my colleague Siobhan Elliot has a lovely free online gratitude practice coming up that you may like.
I allowed myself to sleep enough, go to bed when I felt tired and wake when I am ready with the rhythms of my own body clock. I gave myself more self applied reflexology than I would normally have and had more reflexology treatments than normal too, to help myself restore balance and ensure that my emotions didn't remain stuck for too long.
I allowed myself not to be strong for everyone else but hold some of that kindness back, improving my boundaries to make sure I had extra in reserve for myself. Not putting on a brave face and accepting that this ordeal although minor to some was a traumatic event for me, how I feel about it counts and at best it was also really unpleasant for the rest of my family.
I allowed myself to have fun, laugh, joke and be with my family, stop all the constant doing and spend more quality time with them and feel joyful. It's ok to feel more than one thing at once. It's perfectly valid for two opposing feelings to both be right. I can feel sad this happened to us, angry that there will be no justice for it but I can also take time out to remember that, what's most important about life is to live it.
Step 5 - work on your mindset
Looking after myself physically, emotionally and soulfully are all excellent tools to have in my toolkit but unless I also keep an eye on my outlook and my mindset as well, things can still start to go wrong. This event had reopened a can of worms I thought was gone but perhaps in an attempt to be brave and carry on as we all do, I still had some unresolved and buried issues there I need to work on more. So I continue to work on my mindset using various NLP techniques and resilient practices to remain positive and reframe what could otherwise be viewed negatively. I can now look back at the story above and see it in a positive way. I have learnt even more about myself, just how much I care for my husband and family and that perhaps we can all take these things too much for granted when trying to work through all the everyday ups and downs of daily life. It's OK not to perfect, it's OK to vulnerable and it's OK to feel and have some of those uglier emotions. Learning that ALL emotions are there to teach us life lessons is a big one. Burying them and pretending we don't have them is damaging. I cry a lot of mine out. Laughing them out is good too. Bashing a pillow, having a scream, going for a run to let off steam all help us to work through our emotions in a healthy way.
So how can I sum all this up in a nutshell? What is the message I wish to leave you with here? That we are not perfect and that's OK. Everyone needs support and help sometimes. We all go through traumas, highs and lows in life and when we hit one of those peaks or troughs we don't need to go through it alone. They are always better shared.
If you would like some help working through one of your life issues, l am here for you. I will actively listen to what you have to say and will share all the tools, techniques and experience I have. I can help you find your own unique solution. Find out about what a combination of Reflexology, Creativity, Reiki energy healing, NLP and active listening can do for you. Message me for a consultation or book a Reflexology treatment in the comfort of your own home.
Shelley Mason MAR
Reflexologist and NLP Practitioner