Being made redundant was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had in relation to understanding myself and the conflicts of my emotions..

My Moments of truth

On the one hand I felt this enormous sense of relief, as I had been deeply unhappy for some time. But on the other hand, I felt like somehow I had failed and that this was my fault. I also felt guilty about the effect it would have on my family. My conflicting emotions took me into a spiral that, coupled with the loss of income, led to some expected and not so expected discoveries.

To be truthful, I experienced the full range of human emotions including happy and sad, focussed and lost, angry, disappointed and everything else in between. Even though I knew exactly where I wanted to take my life following the redundancy, I still had to battle a fluctuating range of emotions as a result of it.

Now, I consider myself to be made of pretty tough stuff.  I think I am resilient, self-disciplined, and generally optimistic about the future. I have the ability to set and achieve my goals and a strong self-belief and yet here I was in a tailspin! It was a bit like the ending of a torrid relationship. The one that you knew you wanted to leave for years but then when the other person made the decision, for some reason you fell apart!
So even though I was fundamentally relieved to have an opportunity to pursue goals more authentic to me, I was still plagued with grief, doubt, sadness, loss and confusion. I didn’t expect this at all and I kept thinking "Ange, just get on with it!"

So what did I learn?

I learned that loss is loss and trauma is trauma and it affects us all. I needed to be kind and compassionate towards myself to move my life forward and in the direction I wanted to take it. It didn’t matter how strong I was or brave or self confident, the reality is I still had to go through the process.

Yes it’s a process. I had to actually allow myself to feel the loss and sadness, happiness and confusion and not deny my feelings or push them aside or stuff them down or medicate them.  I had to accept that there were two sides to this coin and I had to manage both of them. Acceptance was my key. It took me three months to refocus and to fully reconnect with my goals and chosen direction.

I can honestly say that I am fundamentally in a much happier place today than when I had the high income, high expectation role where I was trying to fit my square pegs into their round holes. What I have come to realise is that chasing the money for money's sake never made me happy.  In fact it was quite the opposite. The more I focussed on the money, the more trapped I felt. I spent each day just going through the motions and at the same time beating myself up for not being more grateful. The truth is I was grateful but that didn’t change the fact that I wasn’t being authentic to myself. Money is truly only a small part of the story.

And then the lights came on!

I discovered that as a functioning human being I have a full range of emotions and experiences and by allowing myself the time and space to work through them I was investing in my future.  I do not need to hide or deny any of them; they all have a valid place in my journey. Trying to deny the negative aspects and experience of being made redundant took me into a downward spiral that meant I was no good to anyone.  It wasn’t until I changed my focus and outlook that I became of value to myself and those around me. By being courageous enough to choose kindness and self-compassion I was able to see things as they truly were. What a gift!

This experience has enabled me to reflect and understand what is important to me. I am earning much less money today yet I am so much happier now than I have been for years. I have connected with my family and friends and I have begun to positively cultivate these relationships. I am doing work that I love. I have a sense of connection and wellbeing in my life today that I could never have imagined at the beginning of this journey.

The importance of being thankful

Other things have changed too. I began to practice gratitude every day and marvelled as my vision became clear and I felt real peace and contentment. Little things that I do today, such as counting my blessings, random acts of kindness and practicing compassion, have changed my view not only of my own life but also the lives of those around me. The ripple effect of cultivating wellbeing is enormous.

I’ve learned that relationships take time, commitment, honesty and courage. It doesn’t matter if the relationship is with yourself, your family, friends or others. Flourishing relationships also require taking ownership and responsibility for your feelings and actions and as a result you can learn to act with love, presence, respect and emotional honesty.

The first relationship and the hardest relationship I had to cultivate was with myself. Giving myself permission to be human, taking stock of my own life and taking responsibility for exactly where I was was challenging, yet it was also the most incredibly liberating and powerful first step in my flourishing journey. I ceased to blame my past, my parents, relationships or friends for where I was in my life and for the lack or otherwise that I felt inside. I stood up to myself with love and compassion, humour and care. It took time but this was the most important first step in beginning my happiness journey.

We are all faced with obstacles and challenges in life. I believe the key is to learn how to navigate our way through the rough seas with self-compassion, kindness, acceptance and understanding.

It is the relationship we build and nurture within ourselves that makes  the difference in our journey toward wellbeing.

How can I be of service to you?

If you want to flex your happiness muscles and are keen to learn more about applying sustainable practices and strategies to improve your wellbeing, then reach out and let’s discuss your needs. I can arrange a workshop for your group or set up a personal coaching program to suit your needs. Alternatively sign up for my newsletter and share in my flourishing journey.

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides. David Viscott