Where it all began: 1973 The school shoes
I don’t remember realising that I was “different” until I transitioned from primary school to Junior school at age 8. What started to happen there had a profound effect on me for most of my life. From a current place of more security and after years of personal development work, I recognise this as the early development of my very strongest and very damaging core belief. Actually, this belief totally defined me until I was in my mid40s, when I managed to start to take steps to overcome what was definitely hurting and hindering me. I went on a self-exploratory growth journey to try and find some peace within myself.
One of my first steps of disproving my belief was in 2011 when I opened my first company, albeit a franchise where you get lots of help and support, but that suited me, baby steps right? (nothing wrong with that, we all need help and support, whether we like to admit that or not.)
All these years later, I remember the excitement of finally starting proper school, no more baby infant school this was proper, grown up school. So, there we are getting prepared for school and of course that meant school shoes and in those days we didn’t have a uniform so it meant shopping for lovely, grown up type shoes, leather and shiny. To be taken great care of, because they are expensive! So, there I am out with my mum shopping for school shoes and there was not so much choice then but in amongst the mostly plain and pretty uninteresting shoes was one pair that were so different to the rest, not a solid back colour but they blended to a lovely dark brown tone on the toes, they stood out and were irresistible and of course, those were the shoes that I immediately wanted, to which my mother responded that those were not school shoes, they were “special” now, at 8 years old, I might have been disappointed but, I was not about to question that so, I just got some other, plain, boring shoes like most of the shoes available then. I am pretty sure that I did not think too much about it at the time.
A few days later my mother took me into school, she took me to a desk where I carefully put down my orange because she had told me we have to have fruit for break, another girl and her mum come to the desk next to me, the mums chat, we chat and become “friends” as little girls are apt to do and then I notice her shoes and I just cannot believe that she is wearing the special shoes and all at once I am just in awe of the girl, sitting next to me who has the special shoes!!
My 8 year old mind does not think to question why she is special (or if the shoes really are just for special people?) I just remember that I kept focusing on those shoes! She smelt really good too, all clean and soapy and I was sure that I did not smell like that (I did not know then that you can’t smell things like that on yourself), I was just amazed at my good fortune to be sitting next to the special girl.
Then came break and the wonder continued as she produced not fruit but sweets!!! That was a big deal then as sweets as far as I was concerned really were for really special occasions (black jacks, fruit salads 4 for a penny!) my mother had been so certain that we had to take fruit and yet here she was, the special girl with sweets and, she was not the only one, other kids had sweets too! Ooh, this wonderful world of school where there were special shoes and sweets!!
But, hang on a minute, it was not me that had those things I had the plain shoes and the fruit.
So the next day I was not quite so excited about my fruit, I wanted sweets, just like the other kids at my table but, I knew I couldn’t ask my mother for sweets every day, there was no way we had them on a daily basis and definitely not to take to school so, I pretended that I preferred fruit to sweets just to stop people asking me why I did not have sweets. Even then young as I was something about me knew I was better not to say that we did not have the money for daily sweets in our house. The problem was though, I had no sweets to share so was immediately a bit excluded.
A few days later I asked the special girl to come to my house for tea a perfectly normal thing for little girls to do, now they are called play dates. I was really excited about this prospect as it meant that on the day we would get cakes, on the door step from the baker who came around with his tray and he had cheesecakes, which I loved and there were iced buns too! It was so exciting. So, I invited the girl and she was going to ask her mother but, that was just routine, little girls had friends to tea all the time.
Then the next morning she told me she couldn’t come, not because they were doing something else, not because her mum didn’t let her go to tea but and I remember it so well “If I come to your house, I will have to invite you back to mine and you are not the sort of girl that we want at our house” wow! from an 8 year old, to an 8 year old, no way! I was so shocked, no one had ever not come to our house before when invited, what does this mean? And then she said “You don’t even own your own house, you live in a council house”
Honestly, I can tell you, I had no idea what she meant, of course we lived in our own house, what was she saying, what did this even mean, it was all nonsense to me. I had to tell my mum that she would not be coming for tea and explain about the house thing so, of course my mum would be able to clear this mess up, I would go to her house, she would come to mine, it couldn’t be that difficult, it never had been before. So, I went home and told my mum.
I watched as her face changed and I waited for her to say how she was going to sort this out for me and she stayed very quiet and simply said, they were just snobs and not to worry about it and to find someone else to play with.
So, there it was, the tea was not going to happen and I had to find someone else to play with (How does that work when I sit next to this person and we are a group on our table) and that was the end of that.
I actually had no idea what a snob was for a very long time all I knew was that:
The other girl was special, I was not good enough to go to her house, other kids had sweets where I had fruit and somehow I had to fit into this group.
My mother couldn’t help me because this affected her in another way, she had no idea how terrifying all of this was for me.
What did this tell me:
The other girl was better than me, she had the special shoes and the sweets
There was something wrong with me, these people did not want me at their house
They were snobs, which was a bad thing and I shouldn’t want to be friends with her anyway
I should find other friends (good advice but easier said than done when you have no choice over your environment)
I was going to have to try hard to fit in with this group, I was lucky they tolerated me so I had better behave!
Fact: I was 8 years old, pretty and intelligent BUT, I came from a poor family! Yes, we lived in a council house, a new fact for me, money was always tight, I had always known this but thought it was normal and suddenly it was not.
This is an awful lot to process and it formed the way I looked at and thought about myself from then on. That was just the beginning and my school life, in that group, at that table carried on like that constantly embedding in me that I was not good enough, that being poor was undesirable and that I was too.
It led to an irrational fear that I was not good enough that manifested itself in so many negative ways. Rather than looking at the positive things about myself I was always convincing myself of the worst and what I understand now is that these thoughts had no place in reality.
This core belief, formed when I was so very young, along with others, lead to social insecurities and anxieties, an irrational desire to achieve and prove myself and other behaviours around trying to be what I thought other people would like and want. I was absolutely driven, in a very unhealthy way by my belief that to be poor was just about the worst thing anyone could be (of course in a rational sense, it is not) but I have worked tirelessly to avoid it. My children, twins, now 20 have been affected by that as I have worked too much in an effort to make sure that they never have to go through what I went through. I totally accept now that this may not have been right for them and that because of it, they have missed out on other things.
This was all totally out of alignment with who I really was and how I wanted to be as a mother, a wife and even a friend. It caused me great unhappiness which in turn affected those around me. At the age of 44 I did not know what it was called but, knew that I had to get to the bottom of this and find a way to recover and live in a way that was more congruous with my real self. I had been married for 15 years at that point and I was causing all sorts of conflicts.
That is what my core belief journey of the last 7 years has been about.
Over time my old beliefs have been replaced with:
I am an intelligent person who had no control over my environment as a child.
My parents were good people, who did their best with what they had.
I am a good person with sound morals and principals.
I am ambitious and successful in my own right. I do this for me and not because of the expectations of others.
My husband has his own core beliefs which he has also worked on. I recognize and respect these and work with him in our relationship.
Neither of us is always right or wrong or deliberately trying to hurt the other.
It will never be concluded, I will keep growing and keep learning but, at least now from the extensive work that I have done my life is more balanced, my old beliefs are in their proper place, there but not affecting me, replaced with new and better focused beliefs that bring me happiness and success and a real sense of achievement.
If you would like to find out more about this process, how you can/should uncover and replace your limiting core beliefs then please contact me. I have done the work and research, and pulled it all together in a way to help others. You can carry on as you are, or, as with all things you can take action. With what I have discovered and how I have pulled it all together for you, your journey can be simpler, quicker and far less painful than mine was. Things that are tough are usually better with someone to help you through. Someone who has been there and understands. There is a process with a beginning, an end and a middle. I have been through it and can help you do the same.
Sure, you can take the difficult route, struggle through and try to make sense of it on your own, or, I can help you. You can invest in yourself in a way that will benefit every aspect of our life, literally for the rest of your life.
Contact me if you would like help with this. A couple of hours intensive support may be all you need to really get going with this.
NB. Just before writing this, I was working with someone and in less than 30 minutes over the phone, uncovered the following from someone who is in absolute despair with no idea why they are so unhappy and could not understand the lack of relationship with their mother and lack of friends and failing marriage:
“My mum prefers my sister, my brother and her husband to me. Even my wife needs other people to complete her, I am not enough for anyone. I am not the most important person in anyone’s life. No one really needs me.”
Dangerous and damaging core beliefs which in exploration and looked at with rationale and in conjunction with actual evidence, rather than just emotion will no doubt be found to not be true.