Self-relationship, women’s roles, personal growth and overcoming depression and health issues.
This is What I’ve Learned From Women, a podcast for creatives, business owners and choir rebels. I’m your host, Claire Coupland, a certified coach specialising in helping women find their inner rebel and live life on their terms. Each episode will share stories and empower and support each other. This is episode seven.
Hi, welcome. Thank you so much for having me, I’m delighted to be here.
Oh, I’m so happy to have you, do you and tell everyone a little bit about what you do.So I am a self relationship coach, I help people to know, love and connect with themselves deeper. And so often in this world, we look outwards for so much of what we need. And we’re kind of raised to need other people which we do need. But I think we’ve got to a point where we keep forgetting about ourselves and our relationship with ourselves. It can take work can take conscious effort. And sometimes people need assistance with that. So I work with people one on one who wants to invest in the relationship with themselves.
Nice, that’s really I think it’s a valuable as well, because you’re right, we are brought up to think that, you know, we need someone else. And often actually all we need is ourselves
a huge mind, a huge mind, I really don’t think I’d be where I am in life. If I had just relied on relationships externally and not not actually invested in my relationship with myself. It really has brought so much just joy but so much fulfillment, so much courage into my life. And there’s something once you get to know yourself and you get to accept yourself and you learn the value of kindness towards yourself. The world is really your oyster, that’s when it’s your oyster, it’s not money or anything like that. It really is just having a safe space within yourself and having companionship and joy within yourself. So to enjoy your own company means that you’re not really lacking. Everyone else is a bonus or the relationships are an additional gain. But if they’re not essential for your core needs.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. And so much of what we want to do we kind of put off because of self doubt or not backing ourselves. And I think that has something to do with your relationship with yourself. Do you think?
Yeah, definitely. I grew up in Ireland as a non drinker. So if I wanted to have the social life, that felt good for me, I needed to do it alone. And so I would go into Dublin and go to gigs and stuff when my friends would be sitting in the local pub at home. So from there really started my kind of journey of being courageous and adventurous and asking myself what do I want? What’s gonna make me happy? What am I craving, and desiring and just going after it? So I’ve traveled the world alone, and I’ve done everything kind of predominantly solo. And then we live in a time now, where are the internet’s here? So you never have to feel alone? You never have to feel alone. But yeah, so I just think it’s been everything for me. And I have like, when we finished school, I went off, like I went off traveling, whereas other people were waiting for their friends to decide or waiting for someone to go with them. And I’ve never had that problem. I’ve haven’t had to wait. I’ve just had to go when it feels right for me.
So much more empowering, I suppose to back yourself.
Yeah, and I think I think we live in a world and a society where we forget that this is our life. Each of us individually. This is our life. And I’m a very giving and loving person. Don’t get me wrong, but if I wanted to make my life all about myself, that’s okay, too, because this is my life, you know, but as I say, We’re all generally quite giving and good. So that’s not the case. But I think we could all do with being a little bit more self indulgent and prioritizing ourselves because we fear it’s going to make us less of a human in society, whereas actually, it just makes us more realistic. This is our life and we will we have no problem and giving and caring and loving and being good to others. What we actually need to put conscious effort into is returning that same to ourselves. So giving and conscious effort into our relationship and how we live within our life and the space that we take up.
So the Yeah, it’s really valuable. Yeah. Lovely. Should we get into the questions? Yes, please. Okay, lovely. So what’s the best advice you’ve been given?
This one may not be surprising. So my mother has an awful knack of giving advice in the harshest way possible. And I’ve got to say, it’s like, we both speak English, but we speak different languages. So I’ve had to learn how to hear her. And I’ve had to help teach her how to say things in a way that doesn’t feel too harsh to my ears. But anyway, when I was a kid growing up, she gave me the advice of ultimately, you’re alone in the world, which was so harsh, like it felt so harsh at the time, because you’re like, No, no, I want to go out into the world, and someone’s going to take care of me and love me. And I think really, as I say, she delivered stuff point, just one liners, I think what she meant was, ultimately, you’ve got to have your own back, ultimately, like, you need to be your priority, you need to be your responsibility. And so as I said, it was it was not like my favorite piece of advice. But it is something that stuck with me. And I think it probably is quite a formative piece of advice. Because although we’re not alone in the world, we should, we shouldn’t be able to survive on our own, we should have our backs, we should have what we need and be able to, you know, stand up for ourselves fight for what we want, create what we want the life that we want. So yeah, I’d say that was probably the best piece of advice. Yeah. It’s hard to do,
as harsh, but I actually I think about when you said, do my eyebrows raised, because I was like, well, that’s put you on the path, right? Because you probably will be doing something different if you didn’t believe that. We were okay to be alone. Like, yeah,
yeah. I mean, given who I am, it seems like a very fundamental piece of advice. And I was quite young, I was in my early teens. And I think, you know, I, I was at a point where I’ve suffered with depression, since I was about 11. Poor, I was just waiting for someone to save me and make it feel better, and all that sort of stuff. And whereas it was a case of, you know, you got to get up and do these things for yourself, you got to create and I know she used to say, like, don’t want a rich man want to be a rich woman, you know, you know, the way you like back when we were kids that I went to Richmond with a sports car and a briefcase. And she’s like, No, be the woman with a briefcase and a sports car. And so yeah, she definitely led the way with her words.
Well, a powerful thing to hear as Alex, I think that I don’t think that narrative was around when I was when I was a youngster that kind of like, I think you could you know, the narrative you can do anything can be anything, but I think there was still that thought that the rich man was the girl and I think that’s so much better to hear that you can do that you can be the rich woman instead. And yeah, definitely.
Yeah, I think you’re she she she lives quite a different life. She is a codependent person. So I think she just really wanted to stir me as best as possible to not to not have to get stuck in something just because I need another human or I feel a need for a human to fulfill a part of me.
Yeah, that’s nice. Yeah. So how would you say you changed over the last 10 years?
So Tang, I was thinking about this as quite poignant. So 10 years ago, I was coming out of five years of psychotherapy as a patient. But um, for the first time and in maybe forever, I felt free. You know, I’ve lived with severe depression, I’ve had childhood trauma and stuff like that. And so I’d been on survival mode for most of my life. And after five years of psychotherapy, I was like, Well, you know, okay, I’m not surviving. There’s something more than surviving happening within my life. And I remember coming out and being like, what, how do you live? Okay, so I have psychotherapy, I’ve had therapy to help me figure out how to not want to die anymore. But who shows you how to live and that was kind of the starting see for First of all, as far as the business that I have created, because I was ready. I was ready to put energy into creating and growing a life that meant something to me that was filled with beautiful things that I’d always been too sick or, you know, struggling to be able to have. You know, I mean, the general kind of lifestyle would be go to work Monday to Friday. And as soon as I got home, close the curtains go into bed and then weekends, were just Friday’s close the curtains, stay indoors, back out for Monday work, you know what I mean? And that and that was a huge amount of how I lived when I was in the survival mode and just trying to deal with the pain that lives inside me. And so about 10 years ago was my first thing of, I have the capacity to, to, to live to feel more than just, you know, need and read within me. So over the last 10 years, I mean, I’ve done I’ve done so much, and there’s been so much living. But freedom, I think is what’s changed inside, there’s so much space there like I still have my difficult time scope growing and I have numerous chronic illnesses and new ones that have come over the last 10 years which have taken huge amount of living from me. I got a flu virus six years ago when I ended up with chronic fatigue and bedridden and I had to move back home to mommy and daddy and all that sort of stuff. But as I talk to you now I’m sitting in Italy, I bought a home here last year with Mike the last of my savings, a 20,000 Euro home. And I got in my car last October and I drove solo from Ireland to Italy. And now I live here which came off the back of four years of trying to heal my body physically. And then unfortunately, living with my parents brought back a lot of PTSD, trauma triggers. So there was a huge amount of mental health journey that I had to go on. So the last 10 years just been I guess the word I would use his freedom. There’s just been, although there’s been still a lot of tooing and froing internally and with the struggles of life, there’s just been living, you know. And, and yeah, so I remember coming out of therapy that day, about 10 years ago and thinking who teaches you how to live. And then when we’re looking right at me and thinking, I don’t want to live the way these people do as in like, I don’t want to work nine to five for the rest of my life by a house puppets and kids, there’s got to be more like I’ve been given a chance to live like, I want to figure out what what that is and how to do it. And that’s kind of what I’ve been doing the last 10 years.
Amazing. I really love that thought that. Because it’s so true for so many people as well, the so often people are surviving, or they’re just getting through life. They’re not living in their life. And I don’t think I’ve ever thought who teaches how to live? And it’s such an interesting thought. What do you think you’ve so in that, what do you think you’ve picked up?
Well, I think as we go through some of the other questions, bits will come out. So what are the key terms I use are consciously choosing and consciously living. And I think I’ve never want so I grew up in Ireland as a non drinker. I’ve never wanted to have kids, I never particularly wanted or felt a need to get married. I’d love a lifelong partner to get wrong. But I don’t necessarily want a marriage official. And so I’ve always been in a position of I know, I don’t want to do it that way, which seems to be a lot of things the majority do. How can I do it? How can I have all I want? And so a lot of it’s been asking myself, do I want that? You know, like, I’ve tried to want kids and marriage because I would have made my life easier, I would have fit better into society. And I remember like when I was bait 11 I came home crying one day, and my mother was like what happened? And I said, I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to have babies. And she said what what you said you had to love and I said everybody the world says I have to get married and have babies. And she said no, no, you don’t have to, most people want to. But if you don’t if you don’t want to you don’t have to. And I was like so relieved to hear. I didn’t have to go down this path that made no sense to my brain. And so from that moment, I’ve I’ve always kind of asked myself, well, well, is this something I have to do? And if it’s not, then what do I want to do instead? What do I want? And so that’s how I live I have a very deep relationship with myself. And because of the trauma, the mental health stuff, I’ve always had a very analytical brain so I’m very open and aware and then I analyze myself and question you know, how can I look at this differently? How might my viewpoint be narrowed here that I’m really confining myself into a specific emotion that isn’t helpful. I’m really just playing a rage. I’ve been being free within my mind because it’s safe there. No one can read my tool What it doesn’t matter what I think or say in there, it’s completely safe. So I can be as lovely to myself as I want. Whereas most people make the mistake of being really shifty to themselves in their head. I am actually at the age of probably about 10 years ago went on a journey of rephrasing everything that came into my mind and asking myself is that helpful? Is that friendly? Is that necessary? And the my internal dialogue is 100%. Nice now 100% Nice due to some months and months of active, reconstructing. And so I live with a friend inside me, I am my biggest support, I am my kindness companion, no one can treat me better than I treat myself simply because they don’t know me as well. They don’t know my changing moods for as I’m in us, I feel it. And so for me, I think it was really consciously knowing myself unconsciously choosing what I want from my time on earth. You know, and I think we we were born into. So my like, you know, we’re born into a society and we don’t live free. I don’t care what anyone says, you know, we don’t live free. We have money needs, we have societal expectations, we have all of this construction. And I always I’m just like, No, we need to stop taking what’s assumed. And this pattern of school, college house, you know, all this sort of stuff. And we need to say, what, what do I want? If I want to be silly for the rest of my life, then I should be a childless silly chat. Like if I can find a way of financially supporting my needs to be playful and, you know, adventurous of whatever I want to do, then I should do that. I shouldn’t have to feel that I’m not achieving or succeeding. Absolutely.
Yeah, absolutely. I totally resonate with everything you’ve just said. Yeah, my mind was just popping everywhere.
Yeah. And that’s the only focus sometimes I feel like I haven’t I grew up as an absolute minority. I grew up as the only person I know, like me, in my world for many years. And it’s only, I’d say, kind of, in the last, maybe five years, you know, in growing in, in kind of building my business and reaching into communities to become part of like minded environments, because I grew up in small town Orleans, you know, back in the 80s, and 90s, where the world was very small. And what you were meant to do and meant to want was getting pretty small. And, and so I never, I was always odd, you know, I was always odd and different. And even my family would say, When are you going to be normal? And are you ready now to just settle down and be normal, you know. So I think the internet’s been great for really expanding that and finding people who are as adventurous or carefree. And, as I said, consciously living because to me, it’s not if you want kids and you want marriage, great. If you know you want that fabulous. If you think that’s what you’re meant to do, then I’d like to have a discussion with you to make sure it’s what you want to do. But if you want that, and that’s your dream, how I so for that, whatever your dream is, I’m so for it. As long as you’ve done the thinking work behind questioning, is this actually what I want? Or is this what I think I meant want are meant to do?
Absolutely. Yeah. So, so powerful. And yeah, really as as we should be, I suppose as humans, we should be thinking about do we want this? Because, yeah, it can be really difficult if you pick something that’s hard to do, or that you struggle with, and you’ve chosen it because you thought you shouldn’t, you know, that can make life even harder?
Well, it’s, I mean, that’s its prime example. Isn’t it College, like, you know, you come out of school at 70 and 18. It’s like, well, we’ll pick your college course. And no one helps you think well, what job Will that get me? And what does that job lifestyle look like? You know, like, say, for example, accountancy that means every month, I’m going to be highly stressed when the book ends come into play, that’s every month of my adult life. No one sits down and does that mapping forward. So with my clients, I do a lot of mapping back so we can figure out how things were formed and how wiring happened in their brain. And we do I teach them how to map forward so they can do that conscious awareness of the choices they’re going to make could look like this. And how do I feel about that image? I can make an informed choice based on that bit of information. Because it is like we work 40 hours a week with let’s face it, I worked when I worked in corporate I work 60 And that didn’t include the travel time and I had a drop that was kind of traveling around Europe a loss. You know, it didn’t include the time the anxious evenings after work have finished the dread I spent going into the next day. Like this is our life like it’s happening are literally our countdown clock is ticking. And we so often we have forgotten to actually live yet we have forgotten to allow ourselves to be free yet because there’s all these milestones that are structured into our normal society that we’re constantly trying to catch up on and achieve and take off. And I think because of that structure, we’re our mind is wired to believe that we owe something that we cannot take up space in this earth by simply being here and breathing. The truth is, by simply being here and breathing, we are part of what makes the universe whole. But we don’t believe that because we constantly see these things we’re meant to be doing and achieving and heading. Yeah, God, I could talk forever about, you know, how we live within society? How directive it can be for those of us who don’t want to live within that that majority pattern that they display.
Yeah, it’s a fascinating subject. And, uh, yeah, I could definitely talk about it for ages too. So, yeah, I get that. Okay, so who is a woman that has inspired you and why?
But at least we’ll go back to my mother and full disclosure, I do adore my mother. But as I say, and we get on really well, we’re really, really close. There’s nothing I could say that she hasn’t heard me say to her face. But I wasn’t inspired by women doing in my world. As I say it was small town in Ireland. So they were wives they were they were doers. They were carers. They did not exist apart from giving, giving up their time giving up their energy, their purpose in life was to do for others to be valued by themselves. Do you know what I mean? Like? So my mother is a codependent. And so watching her in a relationship with my father, where she was a phenomenal mother in the sense that she would deliver food to the table. She would even as even as like when my brother and I were in our late teens, early 20s, she would ring us in work and be like, What do you feel like having for dinner and she would cook for different meals? Because there was for adults, she would cook for different meals, you know what I mean? And that was not a problem. It shouldn’t have. I didn’t know any different. I didn’t know that. I never talked to say no, ma’am. I’ll have whatever the majorities haven’t, you know, she did get everything of ourselves. And even now, like she raises, she helps to raise my nephew, because my sister is a single mom, she cares for my disabled father. But I’ve watched this beautiful woman, her whole life has been simply giving, giving of herself, I can understand I’ve done some mapping back with her to try and help her see where because that’s not her, you know, she was she was born in a in a mother and baby home. And she was adopted. So in Ireland in the, you know, in the 70s adoption, you were considered, you know, second class citizen worse than no one wants to write, even though someone wants to they adopted you. But you know, she was born to an unwed mother shame taboo, and you’re kind of raised with that shame on you. And she was obviously a woman, which already in the 60s and 70s is second class citizen. You know what I mean? So she kind of might, in my opinion, and the work I’ve done with her, you know, she tries to give above and beyond every single iota of what she is to recoup for the space that she’s taken up. And it breaks my heart because this woman deserves to. So her whole life has been given, and has been given to people who only know how to take, they know how to say thank you, but they don’t truly know how to show gratitude. And so I watched my mother was my biggest inspiration because I watched her and I thought no, not me, my life’s gonna be mine. There’s no giving, there’s no giving too much. There’s no, there’s no saying I’m sorry, for existing in here, take it all take whatever I have available, you know. And so she was my biggest inspiration in how I didn’t want to live and how I didn’t want to feel about myself. So like, if you asked me wrong, if you asked my mother, she she’d say, Look, I’m happy. You know, this is how I’ve always been, and this is what I know. And I like having purpose of taking care of people. And so you know, I’m not disrespecting, what she’s chosen. I just feel there’s been a lot of subconscious wiring that’s led to her feeling comfortable in these choices. And I just thought, No, I want to do the hard work. I want to figure out what shit and baggage I’m carrying, excuse my language. I want to I want to I want to figure out whatever stuff I’m carrying that is holding me back or twisting my viewpoints and I just want my life to be mine. And so I do I do a lot of as I say analyzing and exploration and I do a lot of conscious healing and If I feel like if I feel like I can’t look at different perspectives and something, then I know I need to sit like with a group of ladies or go to my therapist and talk on the topic until my viewpoint can expand, because clearly, if I can see past my own view on something, it’s because the wiring is so it’s so rigid for it means it’s dysfunctional, you know, mean, like, you can’t you don’t blind yourself from stuff that’s, that’s, that’s healthy, you blind yourself when you’re being unhealthy. And so that’s kind of that’s how I’ve always lived is how can I grow and see differently and understand more and challenge my beliefs, my opinions, my viewpoints? And, yeah, and so I think the kind of no desire to be married, or to have kids probably sound from, as I say, watching my mother have this very clear role in life of, of justice, there’s this giving, I was talking to my therapist recently, actually about it, because it came up around relationships, friendships and stuff. And I said, like, how am I meant to figure out how to have limits, when the woman who raised me has zero limits, she has no limits, there is nothing my father could do, that would make her walk away, or make her stop doing what she does for him every day. And that, to me is like huge, you know, it’s huge for the brain to be like, okay, so I learned, I didn’t learn how to have limits, I learned that someone else’s comfort is greater than my own comfort, someone else’s need is greater than my need. And you know, and then as a, as a grown woman, I need to consciously be aware of that programming, and consciously try to unprogrammed it. You know. There’s never a live conversation with me, I’m afraid.
It’s really fascinating. And I’m really interested in that, you know, the story that you told of your mom and her having been adopted, and therefore feeling bad about taking up space, and then sort of devoting her life to making up for that almost. And I feel like, that has a lot of people actually, not just because they’ve been adopted, you know, there are loads of other reasons. And, actually, yeah, I can really see how that can happen to many people in life.
So many, I mean, you know, and this is where I love to do the client work is to do this mapping and awareness and to have the insight that I have, and the kind of, I don’t know, I seem to have eyes that see things that maybe other people don’t notice much. But like, phenomenally my sister’s life story. She’s not adopted, sorry, but her relationship story mimics my mother’s in the most insane way. Like she, she dated an addict, she had a kid with an addict. And there’s all this parallels, I was like, Oh, my God, the patterns, the patterns. But like my sister, my sister couldn’t see them. She’s she’s grown a lot recent in the last few years, but at the time, she couldn’t see that she was literally, I mean, this guy that she chose that she was in a relationship and have a kid with. He even did the same job that my father did, at the same time that I think there’s just so many parallels, and like, you’re like, if you’re not aware, then you can’t consciously know that you are choosing and even the consciously know who you are, like, I know that I have a ton of programming that’s not related to me as as we’re an individual that’s related to my upbringing and my childhood. And so I need to make space for me, and I need to have compassion for that programming, rather than to resent it. But I also need to not not get lost in it in the sense of like, my mother will often say, Well, this is who I am, I’m never going to change. Whereas my thing is, no, that is part of who I am. Because the programming that happened in my brain when I was a kid, may means that that made sense for me to think this way. But I know as an individual in my heart and soul that that’s that that doesn’t make sense. And I want to I want to pick it apart. And I want to allow my rewiring to happen as a healthy adult. Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. completely fascinating. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so do you have a favorite quote, or saying,
so I don’t know if I made this up. Or someone else has it, but I thought I made it up but just in case. So I lived with spirit depression for many, many decades, as you know, and in my 20s I was trying to do corporate life and I was trying to, you know, socialize and be a normal human being as they say. It was just really hard. I found a completely exhausting and and enjoyable and so getting out of bed Let’s say to myself, Okay, I just have to find one moment of joy. And today, and there is always one moment of joy to be found. So my motto, and I had a key graved on a ring was find the joy in each day, it’s there to be had. And so I would, I would go through my day going, looking for joyous moments, which is a good way to kind of when you’re in depression to try and distract your brain look for joyous moments. Notice, notice, like something that feels good. And often, it would end up being whatever I was going to allow myself to eat for dinner was going to be the joy. But you know, I would just look for this joy every day not knowing what it was going to be or where it was going to come from. And if it didn’t come out, as I say it would normally just associated with food and be like, right, well, I’m getting the Chinese takeaway for dinner. Now, that’s gonna make me smile. But yeah, find the joy in every day. And like, it really is, it’s there, it’s there, and the lens at which we choose to see our days and our life. And I don’t mean, you know, I don’t want to sound but let alone because I do. I do live with depression and PTSD and stuff. But the lens at which we choose to look out makes a big difference to the days that we have and to how we see ourselves and the world around us. And you have complete control over constructing those lenses. It takes time, it takes practice, it takes conscious effort, and this is the work that I do with people. But it is doable, it will take away your depression, but it means that it’s not as painful when it’s here that the dips don’t last as long. Because you know the brightness that’s waiting for when it’s passed. Yeah, definitely. Well, gray
matter as well. You know, finding joy in every because there is your eye, there is joy to find every day and yeah, totally. I mean, I’ve got a history of depression, I have an illness that gives me 10 days in the month. So yeah, you could is hard in those moments when in those dark moments, isn’t it? But if you can, it does feel like light. So yeah,
yeah, no, it doesn’t like I’m someone who, near nature is an easy, it’s an easy option for me. You know, I saw a yellow butterfly earlier. And I was like, I just stopped. Just watched it for a few seconds on I just sat in that moment of watching it, its color, its movement, and I just thought Yeah, like imprint and I’m just gonna imprint that. And then I’m gonna go about my day. But if I need that, maybe when I’m lying on the sofa, feeling sad some other day that butterflies gonna be so vivid in my mind. And I’m gonna remember who I was in that moment, because I took the time to notice how I felt internally. The amazement that I was feeling that wow, how am I this lucky lucky this life?
Yeah, totally. Yeah. It’s really good. Okay, so in your opinion, what was the biggest challenges that women face today? And what could we do to overcome them?
So, I have two things, I’m gonna get one, I’ve got gender neutral. It’s not necessarily women, one of my biggest life changing things. So we are in a world where money matters. Money Matters. Everything has a price and God’s cost of living is getting stressful, isn’t it? But we live in a world where money is the only way that you can survive like wood added, you don’t get so. So many years ago, when I was in corporate, I decided that every time I got a pay rise or a promotion, I would reduce my hours so that my income, my take home income stayed the same. So it was very annoying for my boss every time he gave me a promotional payment. And I was like, great. Now I’m down to 30 hours a week, please. And he’s like, why? And I’m like, I don’t need more money. I do need more time off. And so I was the person who wants to the job, he had to just accommodate that whim of mine. Because and then I like I wanted to leave that job for years as we all have. I wanted to leave my job for about six years before I did. And I remember like being like, I just need out. And so I sat down one day and I didn’t Excel and I went into I open up my online banking and I looked at what I spend all the little bits I spend here and there. And then I’m really conscious of how I’m using my money because as a non drinker who has no dependents who doesn’t wear makeup or have a skincare routine. I’ve never been able to spend all of my earnings I’ve always even on 19,000 pounds a year. I mean I always felt like I had more money than I needed. So I looked at how little could I live on and by live on I mean actually live on that survive I mean still go to the gym still have my mobile phone contract, you know, that sort of thing. So what what do I What are the essentials that I need to be feel like I’m living not just surviving but without all the fancy, you know, extras and when I did that conscious maths, it was insane of how little I needed. Okay. And when you realize you don’t need all your wage, um, so I could buy the latest iPhone or you know, piece of technology. But that would mean 10 hours of work. And I don’t think I will, I would rather not have to do 10 hours of work, I would rather look at how I can get rid of 10 hours of work in my day, I can negotiate with my boss to get more time and less, right. So for me, the one of the biggest challenges of faces is this, what again, we’re given this pre stamp of this is what you should need to live on. This is what a house course right? You know, like, don’t take what they say, don’t take what anyone says Ask yourself. So when I go looking for a property, I sort by the cheapest, whereas most people just put in the bracket of what they think they should be able to afford, or they should it to bed should be this price. And so I think the biggest challenge we face is that we’re given so much information in a way that feels factual to us that there is no leeway. And I would say, look beyond the box that you know, generic me and do like we are meant we are we’re living in a world where money is everything. And I don’t know if you’ve done the work, say, say for example, I’ll ask you have you done the work to figure out how little you need to live on to live, not just survive, but what’s your survive number? What’s your live number? What’s your abundance number? Do you know what I mean? But so many people don’t even, you know, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs could just keep trying to earn more? Well, actually, do you need to? Do you need to like?
Yeah, I’ve seen quite a few people recently saying that they had been above the tax threshold of 80,000 pounds. And that actually this year, they decided to be under the tax threshold for various reasons. Three or four business people say that in the last few months. And I thought that was so interesting, because, yes, you’re right, we’re always trying to move forward and move on and make more money as a business owner, that is what we’re told to do. But when we question it and think about it, is it worth it? There’s so much extra admin over that amount of money. Yeah, there’s so much actually have to stop doing paying tax and it’s very messy. And there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with it. So I can see why people are now saying actually, I’m going to try and stick to that 80,000
The highest I’ve ever earned in a year was 28,000 Euro. So I have never been a bigger earner, I would consider myself probably mostly a below average or below average girl. There’s no time in my life where I think I wouldn’t know what to do with AMI pairs. Well, I would buy a house in Portugal and one in France for 80,000. But I currently so I live obviously mortgage free. I’ve chosen Italy because it’s an affordable country. Well actually, I chose it because I had to 20 grand ties and that’s what I needed. My I got I got a summary of my bills for the last year. So my my electricity, my gas, my water, my waist, you know, like the beans and stuff. 450 euro for the last 12 months. Yeah. So you can imagine what I can live on. I’m gonna do the Excel so you’d have home which live it? What’s the living in Italy? Number because I imagine it’s 100 a week if not less, like, I mean, you know what I mean? Like, don’t run like I’m currently at a point where I need to grow my savings. So I would like to earn a little bit more, but it’s that thing of Do you actually know? No, I like listen, I didn’t go out and buy coffee out. I don’t because I don’t want to spend five or in a coffee because I grew up in a time where water wasn’t in bottles and coffee wasn’t something you pay for. Rock I am a frugal I’m not saying everyone wants to live the way I do but I go to the local grocery shop here she grows the vegetables most of it was flimsy thrown in her garden. And you know, it’s easy to but you have to step outside what your what the picture is that you’re told you should want or what the norm is because people keep following the norm and the more people that follow the norm we the more we think it’s it’s the right answer. But there’s people back in my hometown like property in my hometown in Ireland it’s like half a million. And like people are like I’m so lucky to get to live here and all I can think of is are you because you don’t have got half a million down on your head. I’ve got two properties. And all I do is I think all I was about like 12,000 on my on my Edinburgh property. And I’m like, I’m not rich, but I am lucky like I’m comfortable. I’m quite safe like I don’t have a pension but I’ve now got two properties one I live in the other one will pay the bill also on how I live. That’s not my dream, I do want to generate an income. And as an entrepreneur, I struggle with the fact that there’s kind of limits around how much control you have over how much you earn, especially when you add in chronic illnesses. But Aren’t I lucky that I’ve been able to not work more than I feel able to for the last few years to focus on my health, my mindset, and I’m now doing it in a sunny country with fresh vegetables grown on the land that I live around that lives around me. Like, I don’t think people know that that’s possible. And it’s not that i No one told me it was possible. Like, that’s the thing is, I just pulled about things pulled about things a little more, a little deeper, questions, some stuff used Google to figure out some things. And that’s kind of what my passion in life is what people is, the biggest challenge is not to take things as they’re given to you, from society, from your parents, from teachers, schooling, all of it is actually to stop and think and ask questions and wonder for yourself for yourself as an individual. But I guess first you have to accept yourself as an individual and feel comfortable in that differences in that you might have from from others.
Absolutely. I think you’re so right about that, I think question it definitely. And I do think a lot of people struggle with not being the kind of, in inverted commas normal person, you know, whatever that is, but people really struggle with that, you know, they find it hard to be the person that’s not living the generic, or kind of normal life in inverted commas.
I think it’s, I think there’s an illusion, or think there’s kind of like a vibe that you’re unsafe, if you’re not living in your home country in a westernized society where health care is very clear and structured, where pensions are, you’re told what steps to take to be financially safe and to be a responsible, respectable adult. And I think there’s an illusion that if you don’t take all that you’re in danger. Because of my financial situation, and my illnesses, I left Ireland because I couldn’t afford to even rent. I could not afford to rent outside my parents home. And I’m grateful that my parents have space for me, but for my mental health, that’s not where I can be. So my thing was, I was living between my car and friend’s houses and stuff. And I thought, this isn’t a safe future. For me, I need to take control of my future and my needs as as the individual that I am with the baggage that comes with me being me. And so I’m forced to think outside that box to find safety and security, and I look everything scary. Whether you’re living inside the box, or outside of it, it’s always scary to a degree. Just, I guess I would encourage people to just like, just let your mind wander like, it’s private in here. It’s safe in here, no one’s going to make you take action just in your head. Let those thoughts start to wander a little bit louder. Because none of us are really safe. We saw what COVID The world can change the hotspot. And like, you know, now we’ve got close to living like, oh my god, the price of melons over here. It’s such a luxury to buy a bloody melon, like I can’t even imagine it’s like six Euro, it’s probably the same at home. Oh, no, it’s not. Melons are so damn expensive. It’s such a low.
Yeah, it’s just in France. And I think a broccoli was six euros and a stone.
And there’s so much, you know, initially they don’t have the choice. They don’t have much to or sugar snap peas or any of this. So it’s really local. And so you have to get used to like, I remember when I came over someone’s like, Oh, I’d need my comfort zones. And I’m like, Are you just need to change your comfort sounds like I can’t go to the freezer section and buy fish fingers or something like that here. They don’t really do junk food. You buy the components and you’re like, okay, at times, that means my cravings are a bit irritated. But mostly I find it so freeing that I can just go to the supermarket and pick up exactly what I need. And get out of there because I am someone if you give me choice, I’ll just wander around imagining wanting it all. So yeah, you got to just change your perception and your comfort zones.
Definitely. Yeah. Okay, so what is your ultimate life tip or hack? Yeah, I
think it still will come down to the financials, which is without the Excel. Notice what you’re spending. Like we live in a world where it’s like five euro for coffee, we get one of those every day. If you’re anything like my family, you might get more than one a day then you’ve got like, you know, oh, sure. I’ll grab a pastry at the same time. There’s another three years go on. And it’s not that you shouldn’t have those things. It’s not But know that you’re choosing, you’re choosing as a whole, not just in that moment, but like, look at the financials, where are you seeking money? Do you know gym memberships make their money based on you not going and forgetting to cancel? Yes. Which is insane, saying that, like, look at those prescriptions. Look at the Netflix subscriptions, stuff like that. And again, it’s not that you shouldn’t have them. But do you need all three? Could just Netflix be enough? Or just Amazon Prime or whatever? Or do you even need them? Like, I mean, free TV, you can get TV online now, like Defour, and all that. There’s so much free stuff, even as a business owner, like I see people paying for tools and software that I find an alternative completely for free, that works just as well. And I’m like, again, people are shocked. They don’t know to look for the free because they go well oh, you know, Zoom is you know, Zoom is the is the is the brand name for video calling. Like, I’ll just get it zoom subscription. Whereas I’m like, I don’t really want to pay 15 euro on one because so I use a Skype, it’s probably. And so it’s really the the life hack to me is to do that, that testing and it’s an I, I don’t have to, you don’t have to put a lot of research into finding these alternatives. They’re there, they just don’t have the same advertising budget as these, these paid prescriptions are paid sports. So I have one bank account in the UK, where within four years, I had earned 1000 pounds on the bank account. In interest, it was a debit account, it was simply by how I used it. I like looked at the terms of using it. And I used it consciously in a way that was going to get me that profit. I don’t know for other people that their bank their day to day bank account pays them in Paris and pounds. Yeah, to know what I mean, every two years, I will when I was in the UK, I would look at my gas and electricity subscription Am I in the best deal. So with mortgages, I do fix mortgages where I can and I remember now is now that I’ve rented it out, I can’t have a fixed mortgage. And so they have me on the Standard Plan, which is double the mortgage payment than when I’m on a fixed plan. People don’t know that there’s easy safe options out there or there’s cheaper options because they they they’re not advertising, they’re not going to show it Hey, do you want cheaper mortgage come and get our fixed rate for three years, we cannot do anything if the Bank of England puts up its rates, you will still be you know, and so it’s really I didn’t know I was raised in a family where my parents were quite comfortable a book, their their motto is if you don’t have it, you don’t get to spend it. And so they never had loans. The only loan they ever had was the mortgage on the house cars and everything. Were always secondhand and bought for cash. And so I was brought up in this thing if you don’t get to have stuff if you don’t have the money for it. So you either work for the money or you you know, and so I just naturally don’t have huge amount of needs for modern things. So I think my biggest life hack is just again, consciously aware of what I’m spending my money on how many hours of working in a job I hate. Just do all these surplus spans add up to and do I want to keep doing that.
That’s a really good hack I like I’m gonna have to go and do a spreadsheet. Spreadsheet. Oh, me too. Okay, so what advice would you give to people who are just starting their careers and looking to make an impact?
Alright, I guess there’s, there’s, there’s two ways to look at a career and one is, do you want it to feed your soul? Or do you want to feed your pocket and it’s okay, if you get one that does Bo great. But it’s okay to have a job just for money. To acknowledge that to yourself that instead of resenting being there, you can go in there and say, I’m here for the money. This is what I do for so many hours a day. I don’t like it, but it allows me to go off in my free hours. I would say the biggest lesson is know your worth. So as I say I was in a job where I was able to suddenly start dictating, dictating and reducing my hours because it was I was with them when they were a small company that grew to medium I had put myself in a position of only no being the only person that knew certain things within the company, very minor like as an admin role things, but that made that made it that they couldn’t afford to not flex with me. And so I see so many people so thankful are desperate to keep a job that they are giving above and beyond, in my view do not work overtime unless you’re being paid. Because the more you do that All you yourself, the more they’re going to devalue you. So like, what you what you do at the start of any relationship be in a business one or a personal one becomes expected standard. So if you go into a job, which we all do trying to impress and give extra and stay a little bit longer and do a bit more be really friendly and helpful, that becomes the expected norm, and they start wanting that for the price of your salary. And they know they can milk you to get extra job, how many people out there in the world right now we’re going I’m doing a job of two people because they sacked someone or someone left and I’ve had to pick up the slack. My thing to you is, why would they get someone else you have picked up the slack, you’re doing the two workloads. So it’s about that, again, self relationship, knowing your worth and knowing that you’re not completely vulnerable in the world, because there will be other jobs. And I know, look, I don’t have dependents. So I sit in a place of not having kind of that stress. But it’s that thing of like, go into business, either knowing it matters to your soul or matters to your pocket, but having boundaries, having boundaries. And so say what’s the little you can give to get your wage rather than what’s the most I can give? Say, Thank you for giving me my wage.
Yeah, really good advice. Really good advice. I know so many people who kind of doing two jobs or taking on a bit extra and yeah, yeah. So Right. Yeah,
I know. But it is, I think it as well, it just comes back to that invisible sense that we are all vulnerable in this world, if we don’t beg to repay for the space and the air that we take up. And actually, that’s a societal Mirage, or whatever, you know, because we are here. And we’re allowed to be here. And we’re allowed to choose how much we give, especially when it comes to work. And there’s a clear job role or whatever, don’t let them they will take and take and take. And I can tell you that if you break your back lifting boxes, that isn’t part of your job role, they are not going to be paying you sick leave after so many months actually know what I mean, I worked for the NHS when I had a nervous breakdown, which obviously was not the fault of the NHS, it was my my mental health. But after three months of paying me they were like, you’ll either have to quit or you go without any income. And so after three months, I had to go back, I was a walking zombie. I used to walk in there at nine and walk at 11. And I didn’t know what happened because I just couldn’t be there. I’m like that was the NHS there are caring there they are. But that’s the truth is all businesses will be businesses and you are just a human. And so yeah, I think it ties in with the building a financially sound lifestyle that is sustainable for you. And I’m not talking about just surviving, I am talking about somewhere between surviving and abundance. But there is that sweet spot that you can have pressure taking off you internally just by knowing what that what that number is. And knowing that how you can get it met if things change within your current circumstances. Yeah,
kind of leads into the next question, I think, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Well, this is a little bit. So as you know, I have had decades of depression, if you’re going to live, which I have clearly decided to I’ve been suicidal since I was in my early teens. And we actually didn’t expect me and my family didn’t expect me to some bypass 16. And I remember my 32nd birthday been quite monumental, because I’d live double the length of expectation. And so I guess what I’ve learned is if you’re gonna live, just live, live it, live it on your terms the way you want, you know, and don’t like that. You don’t live in a life that feels like a trap or a cage or a constant Dine or like you’re gonna do like living as hard. I mean, I don’t know if it’s hard for everyone. It’s bloody I find it really hard. I always have. It’s always come with pain and hardship and just confusion. But when I do have these, when I do get to break through from my illnesses and from my mental restrictions, I am living the most insane where like, I literally live at the entrance to a national park. Okay, so from where I’m sitting, all I see is a mountain filled with big, luscious green trees. There’s a river at the end of the street, which I’m probably going to go and dip into. I am surrounded by stray kittens this time is full of stray kittens that I’ve befriended. So when I open my door, there’s a flock of tiny stray kittens and cats and kittens that come in and so build your life so that when there’s not hard moments, you are literally basking in the insane glory of what you’ve created for yourself.
I love that. Yes. great lesson. Okay, so how have you seen women’s roles in society evolve during your lifetime?
I don’t know. Like I, there’s a blog post I’ve been meaning to write as, which I kind of mentioned with my mom and doing that kind of mapping back. And so whilst looking at her the societal Community and Environmental input into who she is, as a woman who she was led to believe, of herself, I’m very interested to actually write a blog post about what’s changed in my lifetime. I think this usually comes down into the women’s role, but like, you know, marital rape was not illegal until my life in my lifetime, it became illegal late in my lifetime. That is in sane, okay, that is insane. You know, gender equality, sexual equality, those things changed in my lifetime. So I grew up originally in small town, Ireland as a female, and I don’t, I don’t not associate as a female, I just don’t have a strong gender Association. And I am a woman, that’s the body I mean, but who I am, it feels like it’s just a person. But I was born in a heterosexual world. So I mean, I’m not gay, but I’m also not heterosexual. But I was born in a time where I was a woman, and I was a heterosexual. And so I kind of was like, okay, they’re who I meant to be, I’m fine with that. And so now we live in this world. And it’s like, you can be whoever you want to be can love whoever you want to love. You can love how you want to love. But when we look at what’s changed in our lifetime, my heart literally screens in pain. When I look at these things like women, mom and baby homes, only the last one close, I think it was in 2006. You know, as I say, marital rape, abortion in Ireland was illegal up until if you know, the last decade, if not less, I remember voting for that one. These are insane. And you think, right, well, when I was forming my understanding of the world and society around me, these things were illegal, loving someone who was of the opposite sex use illegal. And, you know, not wanting kids was absolute taboo. A woman could be abused by her husband in that home with her their children. Like I live in, I now live in small town, Italy, which is so like Ireland back in, in the day. And I actually am currently working through with the support of the pod, the group of females that we know, to this day, I get a lot of sexual advances, a lot of inappropriate sexual advances. And I’m really struggling with it. Because I was born into a community and the society and at a time where women were meant to be accepting of man’s urges and understanding of their over display, or over, you know, if they if they crossed the line, I was meant to forgive them for that. Where, whereas I am, every time I go to the shop, I get filled up, and bus drivers have asked if they can kiss me. And I liked I liked the postman. And he seemed to like me, so I asked him if he was single. And I asked for his number yesterday. And he then proceeded to try and pull my top so he could see my boob. I’m a 42 year old woman and he is a grown man, believe it or not. Um, so my current challenge in society and the roles that women are overcoming for me, it’s overcoming because I haven’t had to feel this way since I was in my teens, my late teens where it was like, Okay, well, men are groping me. And I meant to just forgive them. And it’s my fault, I’m probably wearing a top that’s too tight. I know 42 Trying to we rewire that part of my brain, because it’s coming back up again here. Because apparently, here, I’m sure in many of the societies, my body is only a sexual organ. Whereas I have been working for the last decade on my relationship with my body being more than a sexual organ, that my boobs can be sexual if I choose to have them in a sexual encounter, or if I choose for them to be sexual in that moment, but they can also just be boobs to know to me, there’s, it’s a whole, it’s a whole thing that I am currently, consciously and actively trying to work through and navigate, as I say, with the support of a group of women like that, like yourself, because the roles within society have changed, but they haven’t changed enough of what I personally view of is, they’ve changed so much that we now have duality of roles we have must be a career woman and a breadwinner must be a home keeper and a housewife. Do you know how many women out there? There’s a woman that I used to work with. And she used to say to me, I liked her traditional roles and so me and my partner have traditional roles. I do the cleaning, he goes to work and he relaxes is like you’re telling me that in your full time job in our work. Okay, so no, and she’s like, No, no, but I prefer it that way. I prefer it that way. And there’s so many women I know who are literally trying to stretch now, between what women are newly allowed. Women historically have been like, whether we’re even going to say enough. It’s okay. Like, I am capable of amazing things, Claire. But if I want to have a limit on how on achieving any of those things, that’s, I got to be okay with that. And I don’t think we are okay with that. Again, as I say, my mother told me there is no limit. And I think so many women live with that, you know, like housewives, mothers careers, I just feel like society is changing. But women are actually getting burdened with a whole lot extra and not much is getting relieved. Yes. I mean, I think as we go forward, I’d like to think the generations ahead are going to put their foot down and start like being like, No, we’re not doing that thing anymore. But for now, I think women in this current society are drowning in their willingness to take on all of the roles that are put upon us.
Absolutely. I think I’ve talked about this with every podcast guests so far, that we kind of tried to have it all still. And it’s okay to say, actually, I don’t really want it all. Or maybe I don’t want that bit of it. Or, you know, maybe I can work part time. And that’s not a problem. And, yeah,
that’s it. And if you can work part time, platy do this too bad. You know, like, as I say, Where I come from houses are half a million. And everyone looks very middle class, but I have some of the moms tell me that they’re they’re constantly running with their tank about to be empty, and petrol, because they just don’t have the money. But if you looked at them, they look like really comfortable middle class people. And they think we’re all struggling behind facades. And I remember like, when my boss offered me the promotion, and I finally said, No, I said, and he’s like, but you’ve been brilliant at it. And I was like, Yes, I would. But I’m choosing not to put my energy there. I don’t want to be I could be brilliant at it. But I don’t need to feel that I don’t need to achieve that. I’m fine with saying no. And that was huge to get my head around it to be able to be like, No, I’m just gonna sit in my smaller box. I don’t want the bigger when you’re offering me because we’re not we’re not raised to be that way. Yeah, but I didn’t know what it is. But we always feel so lacking a turn and why we always feel so lacking.
Yeah, it’s really interesting, isn’t it? And it kind of takes me back to the thing you said at the beginning about the taking up space. And I’ve always had this feeling that there’s that taking up space thing, you know, we’re still really grateful for, you know, 100 years ago being allowed to vote and, and then, you know, now we’re allowed to do everything that everyone else is allowed to do to some extent. And, yeah, I feel like there’s something there that I’m not articulating perfectly well, I think it’s like a taking up space thing.
I think I think I think I will make a point to write this blog post about how society has changed room. Because, you know, even in my lifetime, when I was born, women weren’t like their own bank accounts or bank cards. My mother only threw me pushing in the last two years has got her name on my father’s. They didn’t even have a joint bank account. It was just his, and he’s got dementia, so I was pushing for her to. And that blew my mind. But that’s completely normal. And when I think wow, that was in my formative years, you know, how did I watch my granny liquid in the world? Um, yeah, I would like to look at these key societal, poignant moments, and even the messaging, you know, around how things have changed in America around abortion, and all these are constantly having these messages thrown back and forth. Yeah. But yeah, there is something and I think it’s how we live in society. And I think the longer that we keep conforming to this societal structure of like, school career, income family, I think we’re just gonna keep being unhappy and unhappy.
Yeah, going ahead and questioning, it seems like, you know, it’s an interesting sort of message to leave people with in some ways, because it’s like, if you question things, then you’re more likely to come up with things you’re happy with. Yeah, as you said earlier, it’s really great if they’re the things you really want to do. If you don’t, and you’re kind of living a life that doesn’t feel natural to you, and therefore you might not be happy.
Yeah, that’s it, what fundamental parts of your personality. And it’s okay to have fundamental needs that don’t fit in with society, but for you to build a life that caters for them because one of one of the girls that I have when I work with clients is about creating a sustainable lifestyle that nurtures their needs and their wants. Because as obviously, as some chronic illnesses, it’s very easy for me to say, Well, look, I have these restrictions and I need to, you know, because I spent years trying to fight them, well, now I’m like, Okay, well, I need to respect them because when I don’t respect them, they cause havoc for me, so I need to build a life that fits fits space for those as well as building a life that fits that space for my soul and my enjoyment, and it’s about that. But there’s something there’s something difficult that where you have to acknowledge imperfection within yourself or within what’s perceived to be a hole functioning human. Yeah, definitely.
Yeah. Hmm. So the final question, what have you learned from women?
Honestly, it’s mostly just wrote, don’t put yourself in a box and live there. Because and I don’t mean to disrespect for women. And I will happily support any woman that that wants to reach out and connect with me. But it is I just see these women’s shrink into this box of convenience. And, you know, even like motherhood, I chose not to be a mother because one, my childhood was traumatic. And I felt that I as human deserved my full attention, and my, like, waves and waves of my love. But I chose also not to have kids because I didn’t like their lifestyle. Because that is consuming, it is consuming, and you will never sleep peacefully again, not because they wake you but because you will never stop being scared of the world and what might happen. And I respect people who choose kids doing wrong, I respect people who can choose kids. But again, I made a conscious thinking I did conscious thinking around that, what does the reality look like? What might it feel like to live in that reality? And so what I’ve learned from women is, I don’t have to do what everyone else does. I don’t have to be everything to everyone. I don’t have to give up myself to be part of this world. And how I choose to do that is by carving out a life that has so much space for me. But what I see is women generally don’t have to carve out a life or her space for them, and they end up draining and then having just air pockets every now and then.
Yeah, yeah. really valid point and really interesting. Yeah. Thank you. So where can people find you online?
Um, so my website is solace, forest.com and Instagram solace underscore forest. So l o, s, O L AC, e underscore fo r es T. And I have a sub stack where I do a bit more personal writing. So like when I’m having difficult patches, and I’m doing reflective pieces, I’ll share them there as well as other stuff. My website kind of directs you to everywhere.
Lovely. Well, I’ll make sure that all in the show notes so people can find you. Thank you so much for joining me. I’ve really loved it. It’s been fascinating chatting to you.
Thank you so much. I’m always afraid that I’ll overwhelm people with my passion.
No, it was wonderful. I really, really enjoyed it. Thank you.
You can find me over on Instagram @grow_with_moxie , or you can email me at email@example.com. I’m also on Substack and Moments of Moxie. The podcast will also be hosted over there, as well as in all the other places that you can find it.
Thank you for listening. And if you like this, press subscribe so you can get the next episode straight in your feed. I hope you’re having a really wonderful week. I’ll speak to you soon.