Loss, Change and Self-Esteem

Over the past 21 years Celia Coburn has helped many South Africans to build and maintain self-esteem, an essential core need, especially for people with disabilities. She shares her easy-to-grasp 12 Pillars of Self-Esteem with lay people and counsellors alike.

Just recently she had to practise what she preached!

“I always intellectually recognised the extent of the stress felt by people who have suffered loss or change, attempting to empathise with the symptoms of confusion, unhappiness and frustration. Then it all changed...
My daughter invited me to leave my home of 26 years and move into her cottage. I was initially very excited but gave myself permission to think over the pros and cons carefully before giving an answer.

What would I gain?

Easy and on-going access to my three-year old - and only - grandson.

Easy and on-going access to my daughter (we have always shared a very close and loving relationship) and her partner - whom I really like and respect

Support, security and sharing.
It certainly seemed appealing!

What I would lose?

My freedom?

My independence?

My own space?

The decision had to be my own. Family and friends would give me an answer from their own frame of reference and that would be confusing. Only I can decide what is best for me.

It was probably the age issue that helped me to make my final decision. I should sell my home and relocate! Once I had made the decision, the relief was great. My focus was clear and I could move forward.

My new cottage needed some work: cupboards in the kitchen and bedroom, and the bathroom needed a shower. My daughter took control, with me approving the changes.

The stress started when I was faced with the onerous task of packing over 40 boxes of memories! A lifetime of hoarding! Then there was THE MOVE! I was leaving the familiar and moving to the new. I thought it would be easy! It was anything but!

Logically, I could rationalise the facts: I had everything I needed, was surrounded by people who love and care about me and better off in a home without a staircase. I felt sadness, confusion, indecision, isolation and helplessness, feeling dreadful - day after day. I didn’t even know what would make me feel better.

I needed people to help, but not ask questions. I needed people to think for me, but not be overwhelming. Would this misery ever pass?

I should have asked for help - but I didn’t. I needed to trust myself, secure in the knowledge that I have always coped and would continue to do so. No-one is invincible, able to cope in every situation - and that’s okay. Even if I lose what is familiar, I never lose me.

We are all vulnerable at times! Whilst change can be exciting, and provides opportunities to grow, it’s hard, tiring and not much fun!

Coping with adversity requires us to dig deep within ourselves and become our own best friend. Eight weeks down the line I am settled in and beginning to enjoy the abundance of my new life. There is life after loss!!”

Be sure to return to these pages in the future as Celia takes us through her 12 Pillars to a healthier Self Esteem!

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