~ Published by Diana Cohen
Today we’re shining the light on Joanne Cannings, one of our Virtual Lifestyle Design Retreat graduates.
1. What was your situation like before you started the virtual retreat?
I can start off with the statement that I am a people-pleaser. I thought that it was because I was a nice person. That got me into a lot of very dangerous and degrading situations from childhood until my early 50’s.
I have been in a very strained relationship with my daughters for the last 10 years. I was in a difficult relationship with their father that I had to make a choice to walk out of at a moment’s notice. I could barely take care of myself and felt that the best thing was to let them stay with their dad, near their friends and school. I lost them for good. It didn’t matter how hard I tried to be their mom and be in their lives, I was shunned and ridiculed. If my kids didn’t like me, then there must be something wrong with me.
I was starting to have anxiety attacks at the worst times, mainly at work. My job requires that I be composed and confident while thinking on my feet. I was good at my job and knew what needed to be done but I was slowly losing my confidence and started second guessing myself because I was hearing that little irritating voice saying that, “I sound like an idiot,” “They think I’m incompetent,” “I am not mature enough,” and on and on… You know what I mean!
It got to the point that I couldn’t carry on a conversation with anyone because I had no self esteem left and was always crying when I talked to people. I had a lot of support from my new partner but I just did not believe him when he told me I was smart and beautiful. I was looking for that ulterior motive. He obviously wanted to take something from me just like everyone else.
2. What did we do in the program that was helpful for you, or that you really appreciated?
I loved that I had to challenge myself and figure things out on my own with the help from Tera, Alison and the ladies in the retreat. I wasn’t being labeled or told what was wrong with me, because I’d heard it all before, so that made me accountable for my actions and responses and gave me an understanding of why I behaved the way I did.
3. What changed? How is life different now that you’ve completed the course?
What changed was my attitude. I no longer blame things on others, I listen to my heart and not my head. I am able to rationally make healthy choices because it’s for me and not what’s expected of me.
If I can’t live up to someone else’s idea of who I should be, too bad! I walk and talk with confidence now even in the times I don’t feel like it at all. Who’s going to know any different? It’s ok to have an off day and have a moment of unclarity and I give myself permission to do that because I’m not constantly disappointing myself.
4. What about your investment? Do you feel your investment was worth it?
It was a big investment but that deterred me from walking away from my inner work because it was getting hard and difficult to look at and I didn’t want to do it. There was so much support and sometimes a good hard look at me from Tera, and I knew I could face whatever I had to go through to be a better person….no that’s not right, to see the good person I really am.
5. Would you recommend the Virtual Retreat for other women? If so, why?
I would and have recommended the retreat to others. I loved seeing all these ladies from around the world grow and bloom. So glad that I took the leap!
Are you ready to take the leap? Our next Virtual Retreat starts up in the fall! Read more about it here and apply now to reserve your spot.