Health

conversation, restaurant, pair

MY FEAR OF CONFRONTATION

FEAR AND BEING A CHRONIC OVER-APOLOGISER

I’ve always had this fear of confrontation. Speaking to people or addressing issues with people that bother me or put me in an uncomfortable position. I get nervous when I simply think about speaking my mind about certain things of which I have an opinion. I’m that person at the restaurant that will eat the wrong order that the waiter or waitress brings me. I am also a chronic over-apologiser or if you will, a knee-jerk apologist ; I constantly say sorry for things that certainly do not need an apology. Instead of saying ‘Excuse me, if I need to pass by someone, I would say, “I’m sorry”. I would rather write a long letter or text message, than confront you face-to-face.

At times I find myself apologizing for apologizing in the first place.

In an article by Psychology Today, it speaks about the different types of people who apologise. It also referred to a 2010 study that indicated women tend to apologise more than men.

“A 2010 study found that women apologize more than men. Women also self-report committing more offenses, or engaging in behavior that warranted apologies, than men. Do women simply misbehave more than men? Not exactly. The study found that men and women have markedly different thresholds of what constitutes an offense deserving an apology. Women have a lower threshold; men have a much higher one. In other words, women see more acts for which we must apologize than men do; we see more of the things we do as wrong, out of line, inappropriate, or hurtful. A man and woman may do exactly the same thing but regard it differently; she will see it as an offense that requires an apology and he may not.”

sorry, excuse me, i beg your pardon

I get this uncomfortable feeling in my gut, like a knot when I think about confrontation. Even after I’ve said something or on the rare occasion that I do address an issue, it would sit with me for hours afterward and I would replay conversations or try and think what I could have said or done differently or maybe what I should not have said. I would have second-hand embarrassment for even doing it. Sometimes I find myself simply typing something on a Whatsapp group and instantly regretting it once I hit send.

Some of us are so over-apologetic, that we don’t just apologize to inanimate objects we may have accidentally bumped into, but also feel the need to apologize for the actions of others that are beyond our control.”

I prefer to be invisible but at the same time, I want my voice to be heard.

As I sit here and write this, I have this fear that I will be judged or criticized for this post.

ROOT CAUSE

I can’t tell you where this fear emanated from; there wasn’t a specific day or event when I decided that I will fear confrontation and I won’t tell you either that I am working on it. I guess I simply get used to certain settings even though I still get nervous or anxious, even when I know I’m not doing or saying anything wrong.

There have been situations where I have accepted an outcome when I knew it was wrong. In that situation, I did not retaliate or address the issue, even though it sat heavily on my heart.

I need to specify that the confrontation I am speaking about is not the aggressive / physically violent confrontation. Kathy Caprino in an article for Forbes writes the following:

“I’m defining confrontation here not as aggressive or angry conflict, but as the act of facing something or someone that needs to be addressed head on – directly and proactively. I’ve found that many of us (particularly women) dread confrontation, or certainly go to extreme lengths to avoid it.”

I know it takes bravery to speak your mind and say what you think or feel. There have been times when I’ve been told that I let people walk all over me and maybe I can be labelled as a ‘people pleaser’ or even weak but I don’t see myself that way. I just want to save my fight for when it matters.

Sometimes people tend to get into verbal confrontations which end up going nowhere; you interact with people who love the sound of their own voice more than the actual topic at hand and more than they try to reach a reasonable conclusion based on facts. There are some people that you simply cannot win an argument with and at times, it’s not worth the breath that you waste on that confrontation or argument.

argue, angry, husband and wife

TIPS TO DEAL WITH CONFRONTATION

I’ve found some amazing references on positive or healthy confrontation. Here are some tips to get over the fear of confrontation in no particular order:

  • Start the conversation with a positive statement.
  • Be flexible – allow for the possibility that you might not have it right. 
  • Acknowledge your part in the problem
  • Try to be as specific as possible.
  • Engage productively
  • List what you might gain by speaking up

There are many other ways in which we can work through our fear of confrontation, but always try and determine if the situation calls for a confrontation or simply for a nod and a smile. It might save you a lot of unnecessary long-term conflict.

There is a saying I love that goes;

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt”

Sometimes it is better to be silent and other times it’s best to speak up; we just need to know when is the right time for which action.

Letting in the light, mental wellness anthology

LETTING IN THE LIGHT – REVIEW

I have to admit, it took me a while to really sit down and read this book. I think mostly because of the subject of the book; mental wellness or if you like mental health. It shouldn’t be surprising that so many of us suffer with some form of mental terror; depression, anxiety and sometimes we deal with feelings, thoughts and situations that can’t be described. When I started reading Letting In The Light; I felt a sense of coming home, a feeling of being welcomed into someone’s heart with open arms.

The foreword by Pick Me Up Poetry founder, Webster Chagonda encompasses this feeling so well;

“Remember, darkness will always make way for the day, and wherever
your mind may lead you, I hope these poems become your place of
refuge.”

It’s difficult for me to tell which one of the poems are my favourite; there are pieces of each poem that speak directly to me.

They are all relatable and also somewhat confrontational but quite necessary,

“A fleeting moment of peace

as you cease to wonder when the next red drought will dry out this puddle

And if you won’t have drowned in the depth of your head until then”

girl, sitting, jetty

When I read through the poems, I realised that so many people understand the feelings and circumstances around one topic. I felt safe reading it and saying to myself, “It’s okay to feel this way”

It truly is a stunning body of work with a beautiful use of words, descriptive methods and metaphors. It is almost as if what you’re reading is being carved on your skin. That is how deep the words go.

“Everywhere you walk, you will be a constellation of footsteps”

The anthology sheds light on all the parts of your life that is affected by depression; your mind, body, soul, family, friends and your career an daily life.

“I am ready to recite myself into existence. I am ready to tell anxiety a prophecy even though I sometimes don’t believe”

I want to encourage you to get this book. The words will speak to us all differently and once you get into it, you’ll realise its not just a book you can read once off. You can always go back and remind yourself that you are not alone in your darkness when you feel overwhelmed.

I was bound by the plight of life and could not get away. I was blinded by the pain of this fight and could not see my way but I heard Hope’s gentle whistle and Joy’s hearty squeal, gently fanning the embers of my heart”

tree, nature, wood

Well done to all the poets who contributed their words, feelings and experiences to this book. Thank you for being brave and baring it all on the pages.

Congratulations to the publishers, Chasing Dreams Publishing and everyone who worked to put this amazing body of work together.

I give this book a 10/10!

alpine-grass elke, flower, armeria alpina

LIVE AND LOVE LOUD

Watching Connie Ferguson at her husband’s funeral broke my heart. I can’t imagine saying goodbye to my husband of only 4 months, imagine the pain she feels of losing her best friend and life partner of 20 years. 
Death is such a painful experience and before I lost my mom, I couldn’t really relate to anyone who lost another person. I couldn’t understand that grief and pain. I couldn’t fathom the emptiness and now I see and feel it all around me, almost on a daily basis.

Shona and Connie Ferguson. Shona died this past week from Covid-19 complications

It’s painful to read, report or hear of someone dying, it’s heart-shattering. When someone you love dies, a part of you dies with them. There is constant emptiness, a dark and hollow feeling. You can never shake it and you live with it all your life. 
It rocks you to your core and breaks every resolve you’ve ever had. Then you have to rebuild. You need to start again. 

Something that is beautiful though is love, love makes the memories that you carry worth all the pain that you feel. Memories and the feelings associated with that person, makes it bearable. 

What this death has reminded me of, is that we run out of time.

We do not live forever.

The time that we have on this earth is more than precious, it is sacred. 

The people we have in our lives, the ones we love and cherish and adore, are the ones that deserve all that we have to offer. 

We cannot afford to be selfish and arrogant. We can’t live in a way where anger and hatred dominate our lives. 

Say ‘I love you’ as often as you can and mean it. 

Enjoy every minute you can breathe. 

Laugh as much as possible and love even more. 

Create art and enjoy it too. 


Live each moment as if it’s your last. It might sound like a cliché, but it doesn’t make it any less true. 

coruh river, river, streaming
girl, sitting, jetty

LIVING IN A PERPETUAL STATE OF SADNESS

IT DOESN’T SEEM TO END, DOES IT?


Every single day we hear or read about someone dying. They become a number in the statistics and leave a hole in the hearts of people who loved them.
Every single day when we hear of someone losing their lives; whether to Covid-19 or something else, our hearts break a little more.
You don’t need to know the person who has died. You simply need to have a sense of humanity and compassion to know that somewhere in the world, someone is left reeling from the death of a loved one.

The entire world is sad. We feel it all around us and see it on the news, we hear it from strangers. We see it in the tear-filled eyes of our friends. Some of us live it daily. It doesn’t seem to end.


As I write this, I’m sitting in my kids’ bedroom, on the floor and the picture of my late mother is right in front of me. I moved it to their bedroom a couple of nights ago because my 6-year-old daughter was crying in her bed. After all, she was missing her Ouma. She too, is sad, having lost her grandmother just over a year ago.

woman sitting on wooden planks
Photo by Keenan Constance on Pexels.com


The sadness seeps into our lives, our work, creativity, our ability or lack thereof to be in social settings. It’s in our bodies and minds as we lay on the couch, watching yet another episode of a Netflix series that ends up adding to the melancholy.
You might think this post is so depressing but, the truth is, we are all living in a perpetual state of sadness. Denying that will do no good to anyone. It’s okay to be sad, don’t dismiss anyone’s feelings simply because it doesn’t fit into the narrative of the day.


But just because we are sad doesn’t mean we can’t have hope.

dandelion, flower, plant

12 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN THE LAST YEAR

Earlier today: It’s Saturday afternoon, the house is quiet, the wind is howling outside, keeping the sun company. It seems like a good time to reflect on the last year.

I’m braiding my hair and thinking about this time of year. Last year (2020) we lost our mother. It was a Friday and she died in a car on her way to the clinic, my then boyfriend (now husband) right next to her. A shift happened then and a shift is happening now. My husband, sick with Covid-19 and myself, also sick but I haven’t tested for Covid-19 at the time of this post but we’re treating the situation as if I am sick with Covid too. Though I feel strong enough to clean the house and make sure we have something to eat, I still don’t really feel like myself.

REFLECTION

All these health issues have done a very good job of distracting me from what day it is. The day my mother died. I’m not feeling incredibly sad or melancholic when I think about it; I feel a sense of peace, maybe even gratitude, that we as a family have been able to make it through the last 12 months in one piece and then some. We had an addition to the family with my niece, we had a wedding and we had the birth of our company. Those are quite huge life milestones. It just goes to show that life really does go on after the death of a loved one, at least if you let it.

Still in the quiet of the house, I wonder to myself, why is it that these shifts or life-changing events seemed to have happened around the same time for the past 2 years and I can’t help but wonder will something else happen next year around this time? I also don’t really want to question why these things are happening and happening in the way they are and around the time they are. I understand that no one truly knows the inner workings of time so I simply want to breath and say, “Thank you Lord” .

sol, nature, gratitude
Have an attitude of gratitude

GRATEFUL

Something that has really stood out for me during this time of isolation over the past several days, is the kindness of people; everyone we care about checking in on us and bringing us food. That especially has reminded me of the week when my mother died; everyone brought us food and groceries so that we didn’t still have to worry about that. I’m really grateful to all the people who have come through for us during this time.

flowers. roses. love
Flowers from my friend Reesha.

With that said, I’d like to share 12 things I’ve learned in the last 12 months since my mother died.

  1. It’s okay not to feel in control.
  2. You can cry whenever and wherever you need to.
  3. Change will always come, don’t fight it.
  4. Nothing ever goes the way we expect or plan, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared.
  5. It’s okay to feel the ‘bad’ feelings; fear, sadness, anger, frustration ect.
  6. You won’t always succeed at everything you take on and that’s okay.
  7. You are allowed to want to be alone.
  8. Grief throws you into an unending spiral of self-confrontation.
  9. Cooking or baking is therapeutic.
  10. Love is all there is. It will get you through your darkest nights and brightest days.
  11. Don’t waste the time you have. You won’t get a refund.
  12. Live well.

self-care self love

SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH

I was looking at myself in the mirror the other day and I didn’t like what I saw. I felt miserable because my clothes didn’t fit right and I realised that I had gained weight. The truth of the matter is, I haven’t been taking care of myself lately; I haven’t been eating properly and I haven’t been giving myself well-deserved self-care.

Growing up, I know we are told not to focus too much on our outer appearance. We are taught that “it’s what inside that counts” I teach my kids the same thing but I’m learning a very important lesson now as an adult that we sometimes forget that it’s what we put inside our bodies that affect our outer appearance. I don’t want to look in the mirror and not like what I see.

I’ve been going through the motions; work, home life, kids and school, working on being a good wife and mother ,and all my other responsibilities but in all of that I’ve neglected myself. I find myself eating more than usual, drinking ample amounts of coffee ,and reaching for chocolate or cake for no reason other than comfort. Feeling sick, nauseous ,and weak has become the norm and my headaches are relentless. The worst part is, I am always and I mean always, tired.

I think the last time I had a proper self-care day was three months ago for our wedding and that wasn’t something I did for myself. Other people did it for me.

Self-care should be something we prioritise often. It should be a part of our lifestyle.

Self care can come in many different ways:

  • Getting your hair and nails done
  • Going shopping and buying yourself something that you’ve wanted for some time
  • Taking a break from work
  • Going on a short holiday away from your usual surroundings
  • Taking a break from social media
  • Spending time by yourself
  • Spending time in prayer or meditation

SELF REFLECTION

All these things can help bring you back toward yourself. We can’t take care of others if we’re not taking care of ourselves. You can’t give from an empty cup.

You’re scraping from the bottom of the barrel and giving yourself and your loved ones, your work ,and your business less than what they deserve. Less than what you deserve.

It’s okay to step back and reflect on your life. You can say no to another project or event. It’s okay to put yourself first. Sometimes, it’s required.

When I was standing before the mirror the other day, I looked around me and the house was a mess. I felt completely overwhelmed by everything that I burst into tears. It was tears of exhaustion. I hardly have the energy to take care of myself let alone the house but somehow I still find myself cleaning and cooking but I’m doing it from an empty cup. I’m scraping from the bottom of the barrel.

Reflecting on all of this has felt like a very honest conversation I’ve had to have with myself about how I’m treating myself and my body, my mind ,and spirit. I want to experience holistic health and the truth is, the mind, body ,and spirit are all connected. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. My family and career and all my responsibilities keep my life full and exciting. I see the growth in all the areas of my life, the problem is, I can’t seem to keep up with it.

If I don’t take care of the one, all the others will be out of sync. My family, career ,and business cannot thrive if I am not at my best.

MAKING THE EFFORT

As I said before, self-care has to become a part of my life. It is a daily habit that has to be learned through repetition. I now have to learn to take care of my body and my overall health. I understand now that self-care is simply doing things that will improve my mental state, everything else will flow from there. Below is a great list of how to practice self-care.

Remember, self-care is self love!

woman, lady, pretty

LIVING WITH IMPOSTER SYNDROME

I came across this term last year, I think. If I’m honest, I’ve never heard of it before coming across the post that referenced it and I just ignored it. I then saw someone on Twitter explaining how imposter syndrome has kept them back from fulfilling their potential and I started to do some research.

Turns out, I have had my fair share of imposter syndrome.

WHAT IS IMPOSTER SYNDROME?

Imposter syndrome is defined as not believing you are as competent / able as others believe or perceive you to be. Its basically an internal belief that you have about yourself that tells you, you are not good enough. Imposter syndrome relates to your intelligence, achievements, perfectionism and social context.

One definition defines IS as you feeling like a fraud within a certain context you find yourself in; whether it be in your job or social circle.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

When I read these various definitions and explanations about IS, I realized that this is something that I have been struggling with. It seems the reason for my lack of content of late could be attributed to me feeling as if my writing is not good enough. I always see other bloggers and I see their content and always ask myself, “What am I doing?”

I always hesitate when I am writing or when I get to the point where I have to hit publish because I don’t feel as if I deserve to be published or I don’t deserve that my work be read. Many people have complimented my work and have told me how they have been inspired by what I write and even though I’ve been published on several platforms, I still don’t believe I am good enough.

There are so many times when I thought to myself that I am a fraud or a phony when it comes to being a writer. This thought or belief I’ve had and sometimes still have about myself has held me back for so long and caused me to miss so many opportunities. I realised recently that because of this fear or belief I have that I am not good enough, I have been slacking on my writing and my ability to push out content has wavered.

CHARACTERISTICS OF IMPOSTER SYNDROME

An article by Arlin Cuncic on verywellmind.com lists the following traits of IS:

–  Self-doubt

–  An inability to assess your competence or skills

–  Attributing your success to outside factors eg luck

–  Berating your performance

–  Fearing that you won’t live up to expectations

–  Overachieving

–  Sabotaging your own success

–  Setting difficult and challenging goals and feeling disappointed when you don’t achieve it

alone man person sadness
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Imposter syndrome is such a deep poison within in your thought patterns that you start believing you can’t do the things you are certainly capable of doing. Things that you are actually an expert in. You start doubting yourself so much that you block yourself from even trying. You end up doing the bare minimum because you tell yourself, “Why should I even try if I’m going to fail anyway?”

Imposter syndrome is an internalized fear that you cannot do what you are skilled and qualified to do.

WAYS TO GET OUT OF IMPOSTER SYNDROME

  • Talk about what you’re feeling to someone you trust.
  • Understand the difference between feelings and fact.
  • Work on emphasizing the positives.
  • Develop a healthy way to deal with failure.
  • Visualise your success
  • Speak more positively to yourself.
  • Reward yourself.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Understand that you can’t be perfect.
  • Say yes to opportunities.
board, school, self confidence

If you want more practical ways of getting over imposter syndrome, check out the TEDTalk by Valerie Young below:

work, wait, waiting on God

WORK WHILE YOU WAIT

What does that mean?

It means that while you wait for God to give you a sign as to which direction your life has to take, you work.

You work on yourself and your career.

You work on your family and your relationships.

You work on strengthening your mind and your body.

You work on your spiritual self.

Work on the now.

You work on what you can control and let God the do rest.

You don’t sit around and wait for things to happen.

Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing.

Don’t compare your success to that of others.

Don’t be discouraged when things don’t happen immediately.

Just keep working.

Then rest.

Then continue working.

poppies, field, sunset, bloom, seasons

SEASONS.

We are all in different seasons of our lives. It might not be the season you want to be in but right now, it is your season.

It’s the one you need.

Winter doesn’t shy away after the warm months have gone when it’s her turn to wrap us in a cold cocoon.

Autumn doesn’t become sad when the leaves turn from green to yellow to brown.

Spring patiently waits her turn to release her cherry blossoms after months of being in hiding.

This is your time to grow, to plant seeds for the next season.

To sow and to harvest.

You cannot skip it or avoid it.

You can’t get to the next season without getting through your current season.

There is a time for everything.

You cannot watch others bloom when it is their time and be upset because the same thing is not happening to you at that very moment.

Nothing in nature works that way; no flower keeps watch over another flower.

It simply blooms.

When its time has come, its petals fall to the ground and it does so with grace and elegance.

Its petals do not force their way back onto the stem.

Bloom when it is your time.

A flower grows where it is planted, where it is born, between weeds or between concrete.

It makes its surroundings beautiful.

Make your surroundings beautiful.

You have a purpose now, right where you are. No matter the season.

Whether your current season is five days, ten weeks, or 15 years, you need to submit and commit yourself to it.

If you believe God placed you here, know that it was with a purpose in mind.

Everything happens for a reason.

The hard part is being patient.

Kimberly Fray

Kimberly is a writer, blogger and poet. She is married to musician Jared Fray and they live in Johannesburg, South Africa with their two children.
Kimberly has had several of her poems published in poetry journals and also works as a news producer.