After a long term relationship, Andrea Owen’s husband had an affair and got their neighbour pregnant. It was a dramatic and traumatic time in her life and they consequently split up but in truth, if he had tried to work it out with Andrea, she would have tried.
She was not in a great place with her own confidence and instead of trying to heal herself and spending some time alone, Andrea decided to start dating again. She met someone who she thought was Mr Wright but she was conned out of thousand of dollars, as he lied about having cancer to cover up his opiate addiction. Nine months into that relationship was really the rock bottom of her life but it was also the biggest wake up call.
Andrea sees this as the time when she was reborn. She had an opportunity to learn how to take care of herself emotionally, that was eleven years ago.
Based on East coast of USA, Andrea now helps women who struggle in the areas of perfectionism, negative self-talk, comparison and control. Helping them gain better coping mechanisms in their lives and step into things like courage and confidence, where they know they want to be but don’t know how to get there.
At rock bottom Andrea felt humiliated, ashamed, embarrassed, terrified and furious. But at the same time it was exhilarating because she felt that she was handed an opportunity. She knew that this was her life and she needed to stop these patterns and behaviours and learn to live.
At first she was terrified to be with herself and she did not know how to look after herself emotionally. She had kind of put this upon other people and thought it was their responsibility to take care of her, to make her happy and feel loved. Andrea was conscious that she would have rather been in that second relationship that none at all. She was more comfortable in a dysfunctional romantic relationship than comfortable by herself, trying to figure out who she was.
For the first time she had to look in the mirror and do that for herself.
Andrea had a great loving childhood but they never talked about hard things, and tended to sweep them under the rug, so she struggled with healthy communication. She had also never followed her intuition. It was hard to know that your intuition is right when it’s the first time you have experienced it.
How do you get to that place where you stand up for yourself, and love yourself enough to say ‘No, I chose me?’
You have to work out that you want to be with that someone because you want to be and not because you need to be. It is the desire and not the transferring of your accountability onto someone else that is important in a relationship.
When Andrea was at rock bottom, she was drinking far too much. She put herself on the fast track to her own personal development and own healing. She had some therapy and set programmes, read books, participated in workshops and had some life coaching. She got sober in 2011. A few months after this she decided to write her first book.
‘52 ways to live a kick-ass life’, was initially more of a blog post that went viral in 2010. It started out as just bullet points that she later made into short chapters. This was about everything from body image, self talk, going after your dreams to what your values are and communication.
There is so much advice that tells us just to think positive thoughts, and turn your thoughts around into affirmations. Andrea found very little or no success in that, so she teaches people to recognise your negative self-talk before it takes over your day or your week.
There is an idea in self-development that if you do what you love then you will end up being successful. Even if you want something bad enough, this doesn’t mean that you will get it. Andrea understands that having hobbies are great and you don’t have to turn your passions into your job.
Her latest book is now available. ‘How to stop feeling like sh*t: Fourteen habits that are holding you back from happiness’. It was born from years of conversations with clients. Behaviours like perfectionism, overachieving, people pleasing and control, are all habits that we do because they work for us and we think they are protecting us. Things like criticism, failure or shame are things that we don’t want and run away from, they are exhausting and not in alignment with the people that we want to be. Andrea lived these things for a long, long, time but they are debilitating.
In a corporate setting you want someone who can take control as they are efficient and productive. When does control cross the line and start to negatively affect your life? That’s when it starts to get messy.
Andrea has struggled with perfectionism and control for a long time. She now realises that surrendering and letting go, are so important for her own and her families sanity. The antidote to control is choice and thinking about if it really is worth it. You need to trust that it will be OK. Allowing others to make their own choices and have their own failures so that they can learn, is so important.
Anxiety may be an indicator of over control. It’s not just a control issue but if you have spiked feelings of anxiety, you can look at areas of your life where you can let go.
People want to be liked and please people, it makes us feel good and we need to be accepted by other people. It can cross the line when we are overcompensating for something or when we feel like we are being taken advantage of. We have to pause before we answer and see how it feels. If you want to say no but you are terrified to do so, you can buy time by pausing. Ask when do you need to know by? … I need to look at my schedule and get back to you… or I need to talk this over with somebody else… Buy yourself some time so that you can figure out exactly how you want to reply before you automatically say yes.
As long as you can notice that voice inside you, you will be able to challenge it or just at the very least acknowledge that it is there. The goal is to be compassionate with your self.
You can get in touch with Andrea via her site www.yourkickasslife.com