carla coulson, life lessons, self esteem, life the life you love, change your life,

Life Lessons I Wish I Knew At Sixteen

life lessons, carla coulson, self esteem, life the life you love, change your life,

Life lessons: That’s me in middle showing my undies with my two sisters.

Have you ever looked back through your journey to see the big life lessons that were dark moments at the time but ultimately brought light?

This may be a little too personal for some of you so please feel free to click off here.

When I was sixteen, I lived in Port Macquarie and in theory was having the time of my life. I had great friends, my first boyfriend, and a bike that I pedaled from one end of our town to the other; I felt as free as a bird.

In those days, I would creep into my brother’s bedroom when he was out (he was the only one with a full-length mirror), turn my back to the mirror, and angst about the width of my ankles. My bestie had long lean legs with pretzel thin ankles and mine weren’t shaping up anywhere near close to hers. When I was done with my ankles, I would turn around and with all my muscle power I could summon, I would try my best to create a gap between my legs like the glam girls with long legs at the beach. This was the beginning of many years of comparing myself to others.

On the odd time my mother would catch me, she would tell me that ‘One day you will realize how lucky you are to have strong legs that will carry you through life.’

Hey, I was sixteen as though I was going to listen to my mum!

Not long after my sixteenth birthday, my little world fell apart, my dad had a transfer in his job to Sydney and we were all wrenched out of our happy little ‘surfie’ lives in Port Macquarie.

My brothers and sisters were all at different ages; one stayed and the others were young enough to move on but when I hit Sydney my life stopped. I mean literally stopped. I reasoned, I already had lifelong friends in Port Macquarie, I had been to 3 schools by this stage and no longer wanted to try.

 

life lessons, Carla Coulson with family in Port MacQuarie Australia in 60s, self-esteem

Me in green in Port Macquarie with my family and grandparents before we left.

For the best part of the next 5 years I shut down, made no friends, didn’t have a boyfriend, refused to get involved with life, and skirted around its edges, doing the minimum I needed to get by. There were many life lessons headed my way.

Fortunately, in my twenties, I found a job I loved in marketing and slowly I found a world in the big city where I fitted. I met great people and started a new chapter of my life.

But something was always missing. My self-esteem by this time had taken a battering, the carefree years of a teenager were missing and I did the best I could to cobble together some sort of ‘mask’ that I was together on the outside but on the inside I was still that girl crying in the backseat of the car as my family drove away from my safe place.

I did a dangerous thing, I started to put my self-esteem in the care of others — men.

How I felt about myself was based on how men saw me, treated me, loved me, and then eventually left me.

My self-esteem plummeted from one failed relationship to another.

By the time I was 32, I had ‘wasted’ a good half of my adult life not knowing who I was and not feeling the power that you can feel when you believe in yourself. It seemed I needed to learn more life lessons than my sisters and brother who had moved more easily into this stage of their lives.

Things got so bad, my life kept me up at night! I could no longer sleep at night, I would drag myself to work, work in a daze, and then an exhausted mess head to bed for another sleepless night. I started to take sleeping tablets and things just got worse. This went on for years.

I was lucky, my day of reckoning came and I decided to do something about how bad things had become and found my way to a great bunch (by this stage I needed a whole team!) of healers.

Over time, they taught me to value and love myself, to take care of myself, not give everything away to others as I had always done, and keep something for myself. I learnt my boundaries and stuck to them.

And then I had an appointment with The Indian Guru. By this stage I was done, I was sick of talking about me, I had re-learnt to sleep (after having wiped out my sleep memory with sleeping tablets) and I felt I could deal with this on my own. One of the kind people who had helped me so much insisted I see the Guru and in one session of 1 hour my life truly changed.

The Guru read my mind and not once did I open my mouth, I cried, he talked and he promised when I walked out of the room I would be different. He moved more energy than a nuclear bomb.

I didn’t even make it to my car before a stream worse than someone afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome hurled from my mouth. For the first time, I can remember I was truly angry, I sat in my car and yelled, screamed, and swore. All of a sudden, I could ‘see’. Twenty years of angst was gone, those boyfriends appeared weak, frail, and unworthy, and in that moment I couldn’t understand why I had wanted to be with them.

But most importantly, I could see me. I could see that the kindness was more important than the size of my ankles, I could see that the empathy I had for others was far more important than the gap (or no gap) between my legs, I could see that the goodness outweighed any physical faults and my intelligence was alive and well. My mother after all was right!

I now know, after spending the past 7 years working with women as a life coach, what happened. I literally had an energy/cathartic/mindset shift. A sort of fast-forwarding of life lessons all at once that allowed me to start seeing myself in my environment, how I behaved and reacted. It was like being projected outside of my body and becoming an observer in a situation that previously I had no perspective on.

From that day forward I have never compared myself to others, I have never looked outwards for my self-esteem but allowed it to be nurtured from inside.

 

life lessons, carla coulson, italian joy, Italian Joy inside cover

The inside cover of Italian Joy and the life I found.

 

If you, too, have low self-esteem, you can start doing the following:

    1. Honour your word, do what you say, and treat your word towards yourself impeccably. Your words are as powerful as spells. Cast only good ones.
    2. See the good in yourself, keep a journal of all the great things you do, and recognise the positive.
    3. Live in creative energy not competitive. When you are creative, you believe that there is enough space for you and you don’t need to compare yourself to others. Instead, you can support and be supported.
    4. Do what brings you joy, let it be enough, and pay attention to what you like. Follow the feel good, it will show you a lot about yourself.
    5. Pay attention to the people around you. Make sure you have a group of friends that love and support you for being you.

 

I realized, once I had healed my low self-esteem, how much it had held me back, how it had stopped me from living the life that was waiting for me, and the difference when your true power flows into your bones and sticks.

I couldn’t hang around my old life for much longer and some of you already know the end to this story but eventually, I hopped on a plane to find a new life as a photographer in Italy as told in Italian Joy. On the other side of low self-esteem was the most brilliant life waiting for me.

So dear friends, if you are 16, 20, 30, or 60, the age isn’t important! It’s never too late to turn those life lessons into gold, if you too feel you haven’t yet met the real you or tapped into your true self, you can watch my free training HERE.

Remember: kindness is more important than the width of your ankles and your mother was probably right!

Love and kisses.

 

signature

Want to discover your life lessons? If you want to know how you can live more wholeheartedly, reconnect to your joy, creativity, and purpose, join my Free Training here.

Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography, Carla Coulson Coaching, Business coach, blog, this is better for you than green juice

This Is Better For You Than Green Juice 

 

Dear Folks, 

The past four years have been beyond interesting in all things growth for me. Thanks to three different auto-immunes Alopecia areata, Graves disease, and Lichen Sclerosus, I got to take a VERY good look at how I was living my life.

I pulled up a train crash speeding at about 100km an hour before it hit a wall and in the process have learnt some of the most marvelous life lessons of all time. 

Jumping off a cliff into a new life 18 years ago, leaving Australia for Italy and a business for photography brought me so many insights into who I am and why I am here. There was so much to learn once I woke up from the trance I had been living that I couldn’t wait to get started. 

There was photography and Florence, museums and art, a new way of living and being. And there was so much love and joy. 

Love for life, for the small things, the world around me and the adventure I was on. The joy was daily in riding a bike through the streets of Florence, in learning a new language and the belly laughs for the mistakes I made and finding a community.

 

Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography, Carla Coulson Coaching, Business coach, blog, this is better for you than green juice

 

But somewhere in between Florence and the auto-immunes, my life got way more serious, I moved to Paris, got busy trying to make it work and being back in a big city. 

I credit the auto-immunes with giving me my joy back. They gave me the kick up the bum I needed to take responsibility of my life again and start living it the way I wanted to live it. 

I got back on the JOY TRAIN. 

And yes I did and do eat a million fruit and vegetables, Yes I did stop all those chemicals and loads of other things (YOU CAN READ ABOUT IT HERE) but the healthiest thing you can do for your nervous system is to laugh, to share, to find joy and to allow yourself pleasure with a capital P.

Isn’t this the best news you have had all year! Yes folks, the green juices are fabulous but your nervous system needs a break from doing, from the stress of work and life and all things serious. It needs to dance and ride bikes, it needs to laugh till tears come out your eyes and your stomach hurts, it needs to play football with your kids and lie in a park and do nothing. It needs to paint and to garden, to smell the roses and to go fishing.

 

Carla Coulson, Carla Coulson Photography, Carla Coulson Coaching, Business coach, blog, this is better for you than green juice

 

The more little breaks you give that poor shot to pieces nervous system of yours, the more it will fire up the hormones we need and get them doing what they are meant to be doing instead of freaking out and flooding our body with cortisol. 

So lovelies, light a candle, buy yourself some flowers, book a massage because it’s good for you.  

Five Tips for Getting the Joy Back

  1. Remember what makes you happy and build it into your daily or weekly life, it can be as simple as riding a bike or gardening
  2. When you feel like life is too much ask for help or when someone offers it accept it. Doing it all on our own is no longer a badge of honour
  3. Build something that makes you feel good into your life. You decide how often. A swim, a massage, a walk in the mountains or a dance lesson.
  4. Make frequent breaks in your day.. Yes you are allowed to rest. Sit down for 10 mins if your job is on your feet or vice-versa get up from the computer and do some stretches. Take time to meditate or do nothing, lie on the grass and look at the sky.
  5. Disconnect – being connected all the time keeps our nervous systems on call. So make some rules around the use of your phone and social media so you can be present with the ones you love 

 

The super big bonus of letting your nervous system calm down is that you let a little light into your heart and soul. And when the light gets in you get a little piece to your puzzle.

Sending love and light

Carla x

Related Post: Why We All Need More Greek Kefi

Save The Date – Italian Joy Limited Edition Prints

fine art travel photography, naples vespa, black and white photography, joy, emotions, silver gelatin print naples vespa, italy fine art photography, carla coulson

SAVE THE DATE – The cover image of Italian Joy will be available in my print shop Wednesday 11th March 2015 at 8am Paris time, 6pm Sydney Time and 2am New York time.. Naples Vespa 2003 Limited Edition image print of 30 signed and numbered, silver gelatin hand print 30 x 40cm on fibre based paper by master printer Toros.

Italian Joy (the book) holds a huge chunk of my heart. Those years living in Italy were the most special years of my life, so full of learning, adventure, happiness, fear, finding photography, love and living my truth.

There was so much to learn and take in. I was fresh, eager and in love with everything Italian and filled with joy for the simple life I was living. When I look back it was the purest emotion I could ask to live and feel. I was doing what I loved, in a place I loved with no compromises.

The photos I took in those years are some of my dearest, they are part of me and my journey, they are filled with the emotions and joy that I felt taking them and the love I have for photography.

Over the years many people have asked to purchase an image from Italian Joy but I never had the time or courage to delve into my archives and organise it. There was a little hesitation on my part too, it all felt so personal.

But this winter I promised it was time to share my babies with loved ones. I know many of you have had a great connection with Italian Joy, hundreds of you have written to me kindly sharing your stories about being inspired to make changes to your life, go on your own Italian adventures and others wrote that it made them feel simply less alone.

fine art travel photography, fine art photography italy, italian joy, vespa naples, joy, emotions, silver gelatin print, black and white photography, toros I wanted something special for the cover image of Italian Joy, an image shot in Naples in 2003. I wanted a silver gelatin print onto fibre based archival paper printed by Master Printer Toros who has printed for Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Josef Koudelka and recently David Lynch. So I headed to his darkroom like the old days and watched him at work, testing the contrast of the image numerous times, before printing the first full image.

italian joy, italian joy limited edition prints, carla coulson, black and white photography, fine art travel photography, vespa naples, silver gelatin, toros, carla coulson

The print process takes time, he prints multiples of the same image with different contrasts, dodging and burning special parts of the images till we agree on our favourite. hand retouch silver gelatin photo, carla coulson, italian joy limited edition prints, italy, vespa naples, joy, emotions, change your life, toros,When the images have been printed, dried and flattened he hand retouches away any dust spots.

david lynch, mep paris, toroslab, black and white photography, silver gelatin,

My spirited friend Toros with an image he recently printed for David Lynch for his exhibition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

So dear friends SAVE THE DATE, the cover image of Italian Joy will be available as a 30 x 40cm silver gelatin print in my print shop Wednesday 11th March 2015 at 8am Paris time, 6pm Sydney Time and 2am New York time (sorry guys but you will probably be still out partying). Set your alarms because it is a limited edition of 30 prints worldwide, signed and numbered till sold out..

If you would like a dedication on the back of the print to a friend or for yourself there is a ‘add an note’ section prior to putting in your payment details.

‘You may have the universe if I may have Italy.’ Giuseppe Verdi

signature

 

 

Ps: If Italian Joy made an impact on your life I would love you to share this post. x