The Post Christmas Glow

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Well, Christmas is over and we are on the cusp of a new year and a new Parisienne adventure. I have spoken of being both very apprehensive and excited about the coming weeks and what they mean to me.

Mr M and I had a wonderful quiet evening, post Christmas lunch with my father and then late afternoon dessert and coffee with his family. We had the chance to sit quietly, drink in hand and talk. Amidst the cool breeze of the evening, staring at stars with rustling trees and croaking bullfrogs as our soundtrack. It’s these moments that remind me how far I’ve come on my own journey. It reminds me of a saying I heard not so long ago;

“The reason people give up is because they focus on how far they have to go instead of how far they have come.”

This resonated with me on so many levels. My inherent fear of failure preventing me from doing what I should be quite capable of, the crippling insecurities forged in the pit of junior school at the hands of my peers and my often negative and highly self critical nature. I believe it’s vital to put markers up to measure your progress and use it as a motivator to encourage you towards your end goal. Without these it’s far too easy to stare at, what will surely seem like, a long and difficult road. Another thing we need to stop doing is comparing ourselves to others. We each have a very unique path that we need to walk and you may well find it useful to use someone else’s success story as a motivator but that can quickly become a source of negativity if you experience setbacks–which let’s face it, are a natural ingredient to everything in life–and see yourself as not measuring up.

So back to the graphic on this post, while I’ve been one part anxiety and one part excitement regarding this upcoming trip, I am also inspired. I am inspired to learn, do more self exploration and put myself in situations which challenge me. Let’s face it, unless you’re being challenged, you’re not growing and you’re not learning and if you’re not learning, you may as well be dead.

As unsettled as I am, this process of disentangling myself from conventional day to day securities and putting it all on the line, so to speak, has been the most liberating time of my life. Truth be told, the shedding of the unnecessary baggage started with the divorce and the last two and a half years have been the most amazing years of my life. I have also realised as I sit and write this that I didn’t even remember that it would have been my 6th anniversary on December 8th. The anniversary of my divorce won’t go by as unnoticed but only because that day is now a day of celebration and a marker of everything I’ve accomplished up to this point.

I feel like I’m on the cusp  of something amazing. One of those great markers in your life that you get to look back on and realise just how far you’ve come. I will be putting, once and for all, past hurts, setbacks and disappointments to rest. We all reach that point where we have to put things down simply because they are heavy.

So as 2013 draws to a close, take with you only what you need. The key is to travel light. Use what you need and discard the rest. The empty friendships, the people who take more than they give. The things in your head that you believe you need but which in fact are just keeping you from moving forward.

To everyone who reads this blog, thank you. Thank you for being there to read it and to inspire me to keep writing. I wish you all the very best for 2014. May it be a year of blessings and happiness, enough trials to keep you humble and enough pain to remind you what is truly important in life. Through it all, know that there is a time for every event under heaven.

Thank you for reading.

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My INFJ-ness

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To those of you who have done your Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBPTI), you will know immediately of what I am speaking. To those of you who have never heard of the Myers-Briggs, it is very simply a personality test. I did mine on 16personalites.com. It is free of charge for the assessment and you can pay a nominal fee for the in-depth ‘Personality Blueprint’.

I did my first personality test during my time with my marriage–and then divorce–therapist. (No he was not responsible for my marriage ending, haha). The Hartman Color Code is very insightful and sparked in me a desire to become more self-aware and therefore a better version of myself. The Color Code was a revelation and aspects of my personality started to make complete sense and explained a lot of the events of my past, especially of my teens and early twenties.

If the Color Code was a revelation, the MBTI blew my mind!

I am an INFJ and we number less than 2%  (some stats list it as less than 1%) of the world’s population and we are the rarest of all types.

I am an introverted intuitive who follows her heart, values harmony and who is decisive and prefers clear rules, basically. People often ask you to describe yourself in one word. The closest I can get to an answer for that question is: complex. I am a reasonably erudite person, some would even call me articulate. All this changes when I am under stress, emotional or otherwise, when I battle to describe accurately what I am feeling. I can tell you the why easily but battle to quantify what I’m feeling as I cannot always see the wood for the proverbial trees.

I have been working on this aspect of myself since I did my MBTI about a year ago, with reasonable success. Knowing more about yourself is one thing. Putting that knowledge to good use is quite another and takes practice as we all know, change does not happen overnight.

I am very fortunate to have a partner and indeed friends, who are equally as articulate as I am. My partner is also very similar in type to me. He is an INFP (perception vs judging). We have had our first couple of boundary establishing relationship scraps and I can tell you that I am far more adept at ‘fighting’ well–this is of course when the other person is fighting fair. I listen more and try not to let my own feelings get in the way of what needs to be said or prevent me from listening to other people. Mr M is very pragmatic and sees things from a completely different perspective, which is inordinately good for me.  The J in INFJ means that I like clear guidelines, that I favour equality and seek closure. If you step outside the confines of these ideals it sets off in me an emotional response.

A friend of mine and I have been having difficulties recently. She is making decisions based on my recent withdrawal from her, the reasons for which, she does not know. I chose not to share these reasons with her because this friend is having a tough time and I didn’t want to say anything to her that would cause discord because I felt she had enough on her plate. I wanted to support her without being a burden, however this became burdensome to me, in a way–I internalise matters a lot and eventually it needs to come out. My desire for harmony has kept me from being honest with my friend. I chose to internalise what I felt and this was not fair to her as she did not understand the reasons why I had withdrawn. The treatment I’ve had because she is acting in ignorance served only to make me feel punished for said withdrawal. I’ve had my share of life stress recently in what feels like bucket loads. I shan’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say, I am emotionally and psychologically exhausted. 2013 has been a wonderful, surprising and hellish year all at the same time. So I’ve chosen to put our friendship on a time out. I need to take some time for myself, replenish my reserves, which for any introvert is vital. Time will tell if we can navigate our way through this labyrinth. I am still unsure of whether or not I want to, or even should, tell my friend my reasons for withdrawal. I do know however, that everyone deserves honesty from their friends because if you cannot get it from the people who love you, who can you get it from? I also cannot really expect people to treat me fairly–according to my standards–unless they know all the facts. I will need my friend’s buy-in to sort this misunderstanding out. If I get it and she is willing, we have a real chance at deepening and continuing our friendship, if she is unwilling I will consider that closure.

Thank you for reading.

The New Chapter

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My Paris visa has been granted, I have paid for my tuition and my accommodation. I have purchased my forex. I am officially on my way. What has been a year in the making is finally coming to fruition. I should be more excited. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited but I’m also nervous. I’ve never done anything of this magnitude before and that scares me a little. I have recently come to the realisation that this is a very good thing! It means I am moving out of my comfort zone–you know, that place where dreams go to die–and I am harnessing my talents and putting to good use my resources. I am on what even now feels like the cusp of a life changing event.

For anyone, this is big. It may not be big like changing a country’s constitution or orchestrating a merger between two blue chip companies but this is big for me. Too long I have been sitting on the sidelines watching other people achieve greatness. I am not saying that I will achieve greatness necessarily but I will achieve greatness in my life. This is big, for me.

I have spoken before of my–I would not say crippling or debilitating but suffice it to say they are big–self doubt and insecurity issues and how they have prevented me from doing things I was afraid I would not be very good at. I have been working on these issues for the last two years and this is the first big  thing, since my new approach to myself, that I’ve put into motion that is really going to challenge me.

I have never lived outside of South Africa like so many of my peers have. I have quit my job to be able to undertake this great adventure and have given up my apartment. So technically I’m homeless and unsettling as this has been I have been able to recognise that this is a means to an end and that it does not serve me to get too wrapped up in the loss of some security. Being the person I am, security in my life is a big thing. Giving up some of this security has also been liberating. It has also been exhilarating and for the first time in what feels like a long time, I am excited.

I am excited to see and experience and do new things, learn a new language and embrace all the beauty that Paris and the French culture has to offer! In less than a month I will be living my dream and that is something very few people get to do and for that I am thankful. I am also thankful for every person who has supported me in my decision to do this, who helped me believe in myself and who gave me the courage to take the leap.

Thank you for reading.

The New Chapter

paris_france_panorama_cardaf-600

My Paris visa has been granted, I have paid for my tuition and my accommodation. I have purchased my forex. I am officially on my way. What has been a year in the making is finally coming to fruition. I should be more excited. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited but I’m also nervous. I’ve never done anything of this magnitude before and that scares me a little. I have recently come to the realisation that this is a very good thing! It means I am moving out of my comfort zone–you know, that place where dreams go to die–and I am harnessing my talents and putting to good use my resources. I am on what even now feels like the cusp of a life changing event.

For anyone, this is big. It may not be big like changing a country’s constitution or orchestrating a merger between two blue chip companies but this is big for me. Too long I have been sitting on the sidelines watching other people achieve greatness. I am not saying that I will achieve greatness necessarily but I will achieve greatness in my life. This is big, for me.

I have spoken before of my–I would not say crippling or debilitating but suffice it to say they are big–self doubt and insecurity issues and how they have prevented me from doing things I was afraid I would not be very good at. I have been working on these issues for the last two years and this is the first big  thing, since my new approach to myself, that I’ve put into motion that is really going to challenge me.

I have never lived outside of South Africa like so many of my peers have. I have quit my job to be able to undertake this great adventure and have given up my apartment. So technically I’m homeless and unsettling as this has been I have been able to recognise that this is a means to an end and that it does not serve me to get too wrapped up in the loss of some security. Being the person I am, security in my life is a big thing. Giving up some of this security has also been liberating. It has also been exhilarating and for the first time in what feels like a long time, I am excited.

I am excited to see and experience and do new things, learn a new language and embrace all the beauty that Paris and the French culture has to offer! In less than a month I will be living my dream and that is something very few people get to do and for that I am thankful. I am also thankful for every person who has supported me in my decision to do this, who helped me believe in myself and who gave me the courage to take the leap.

Thank you for reading.