Decisions, Decisions: We Are Our Own Choices

“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”
― Michelle Obama

Facing difficult decisions can happen at any time.  Sometimes these decisions come along as a result of a drastic change in life. I have learned to understand two important things about decisions:

  1. they can be changed; and
  2. they don’t always have to made immediately.

From the very beginning of my alopecia journey I made the decision not to wear a wig but that doesn’t mean this may not change in the future.  I am pleased not to have rushed in to getting a wig just because that seemed to be the ‘done thing’. I can’t imagine ever taking a different approach, but who knows. The main thing is that I am open to being flexible, taking life as it comes based on whatever is happening at any given moment.

Having alopecia has helped me to examine and question assumptions and ‘rules’ I had imposed on myself in all aspects of my life. Here’s one example.

Christmas 2016 was the first Christmas after my separation from my husband.  At that time, I really struggled to understand where my place was with my in-laws.  My ex-husband, John, is one of 4.  They all have children, in whose lives I have played a significant part.  We were married for 16 years and I had a very close relationship with all of my extended family.  So, as a devoted auntie to 5 nieces and 4 cousins-once-removed it was a real heart string puller to work out how I could show I still cared about them all without giving off mixed messages to the older members of the family (especially as it was not initially certain that our separation was final).  So, I decided to send cards, as I normally would do, and in each of the children’s card I sent a Christmas Tree decoration.  I hoped this would signify that I was still thinking of them but not going too over the top as to make it awkward.

Fast foward to this year.  Our separation is final and my detachment from the family has become more defined. This has made it easier to make the decision not to engage with the family in the same way.  John has another partner now and I have accepted that part of my life is in the past.

So I find myself buying many fewer presents (I always did the present buying when we were married).  Instead of splashing the excess cash on my own children – they have plenty already – I decided to join the Operation Child scheme and sent two Christmas shoeboxes to children who have very little.

This has been a valuable lesson in itself. First of all, who’d have thought wrapping a shoebox would be so problematic!  Whilst fretting over my choice of wrapping paper and worrying about creases, less-than-perfectly-folded corners etc, I realised the child that who deservedly receives this gift will not judge the outside but will benefit from the various goodies that are enclosed.

On reflection, this made me understand that the gifts I had bestowed upon the little ones last year was in reality for my benefit – to save face, in case John and I reconciled and I reconnected with the family.

This year has been a time for me to reflect and look forward.  To learn about the person I want to be and recognise that it is important to make decisions based on my core values and beliefs, and not just to please others.

There is plenty of pressure on us to act in certain ways; to say and do the ‘right’ things; to be the person that others expect or want us to be. There are two problems with this. Firstly, we can only imagine what others want of us (if anything). This means that, although we may behave in a certain way because we think this is what someone else wants, our assumptions are highly likely to be wrong. Secondly, and much more importantly, any behaviour which is in any way inauthentic, false, moulded to the expectations of others, is doomed.

We can never hope to find peace or calm in our lives if we are chasing the supposed wishes of others. We must examine our hearts and respond accordingly. It can feel extremely challenging to question our assumptions about what others might want from us. But the rewards of being brave and having courage to do just that are immeasurable.

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
― May Sarton

14 Comments

  1. Well done both of you, and especially well done Rach for finding a different outlet for giving at Christmas. I hope many people are following your BLOG and will be inspired to do likewise.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You are both such sensible women! I am forever trying to do what I think other expect of me! Sometimes I get it right and other times, well – I have no idea whether it was right or wrong. I suspect people have got used to me doing certain things and just let me get on with it! I must try to stop and consider a little before rushing in!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmmm, Sensible isn’t usually a word to describe me 🤪 but when I realised the world didn’t implode when I started to consider my motives it was eye opening.
      Have a go at changing your mindset – you may be surprised and please let us know how it goes. It doesn’t have to be a big thing but I bet you will be uplifted by the result. Good luck 🍀 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank-you – I’ll certainly give it a go! xx I also wanted to let you know how sorry I am about your separation after so many years. It cannot have been at all easy for you with children to care for and bills to pay etc. as well as the loneliness. My brother’s wife left him after 34 years a couple of years ago and he was absolutely shocked and very unhappy for a long time. He has recently met someone else and he is very happy with her and we are very glad too.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you Clare. I am lucky that our relationship is still a good one and the absolute main thing is the children have not seemingly been affected for which I am grateful.
          I am glad your brother has found happiness it must be very comforting for you all. x

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I know how difficult it is to wrap a shoebox, I have done it too. Not this year though. Glad you found your place and hey , there is life after separation. It is true, I speak from experiencing it myself. Wishing you a great Christmas with the loved ones you have around you.

    Liked by 1 person

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