No, it’s nothing to do with Christmas!! Too early for that yet. This week I wanted to talk to you about a gloriously unashamed Royalty collection. I know, it doesn’t explain it much better than the title of the blog post does it?
Whilst on a family adventure, I stayed in a farmhouse in Northumberland UK. It has inspired other blog posts (Greenification for the brain). It was a very refreshing time. Part of that was filling my eyes with greens, but also a chance encounter which still brings a smile to my face now.
I had noticed the milk churns painted with the Union Jack when we arrived at the farm house. But being ever so middle class and British I ignored it. You see I come from Northern Ireland originally and flags painted on things, walls, pavements etc. bring up feelings of discomfort and danger. A warning to let you know who’s turf you are on. So I was aware of all the flags, I wondered what they were about - but there was no way I was going to ask.
Then I noticed the solid shelf of books about the British Royal family in the living room of our Air BNB house. Another warning sign, someone is a fan of the monarchy round here. Let me tell you, I had no idea what was coming.
The Farmhouse, was actually a group of houses, built around a yard. In the houses lived the family who ran the farm. Mother and Father, 2 sons and their wives with small children. They were wonderful, warm, welcoming people. My Husband and I felt much more at ease and settled in for our short stay.
In the morning our children wanted to have a look around, check out the many vehicles around the site, explore a little. As we ventured out, the family were having their breakfast in a garden area in front of the houses. Union flags, were painted on the picnic tables, a shire horse was wandering about in there too. We got chatting to the mother of the family, who encouraged the children to stroke the horse and come and play. She mentioned the union flags and her collection and would we like to see it?
British politeness took over, “Of course, that would be lovely if it’s no bother”. As she led us up the path to the building with the most red white and blue painted items around it, I must admit I was a little bit alarmed. What exactly was I walking my children into, politely smiling. They were full of curiosity, I was on an increasingly high alert. My husband had joined us by then, and we exchanged looks of understanding as we followed the lady to her collection. I don ’t think anything could have prepared me for what was waiting in that barn.
As I walked through the door and took in her collection I passed through a range of emotions. Relief that there was nothing scary or inappropriate for my children eyes. Amazement at the sheer quantity of items in the room, and that they were ALL linked to the Royal Family. Connection and sweet reminiscence as I recognised Royal memorabilia from my own childhood, mugs my Grannie used to have. Tea tins and trays with Charles and Diana’s marriage - gloriously 70’s and 80’s bringing feelings of nostalgia and happiness.
I’m not a big fan of the royals really. In my youth I was much more of a republican and still have strong views on paying for the Royal family. But that didn’t come into play much in this scenario. This was nothing to do with whether I agreed with this lady or not. Not about right and wrong. This was joyful.
As I listened to the collection owner walk us around the room, tell her stories of Jubilee tea rooms and more boxes in the attic, and how she came by china doll of Princess Kate. Of friends, family and neighbours bringing her anything with a link to the Royal family. Her joy at sharing the stories and letting the children look around. It struck me, she wasn’t holding her collection high as a sign of her own status. Her value wasn’t linked to the china and the giant Horseguard gnome, which she acknowledged wasn’t worth a lot of money and could be easily replaced. Her face was full of Joy at sharing her collection. She didn’t really care if we liked it or not, but the fact that we did made the experience even better.
To be with someone who loves something so much they are happy to share it with all, and their value of it is not affected by the opinion of others is quite a thing to see. As we left the farmhouse, I took this thought with me - what would it be like to feel that way about something I loved. Even more so, what would it be like to feel that way about myself?
What if I loved and accepted myself to the point were other people’s opinions didn’t really matter. I’m not talking about narcissism or thinking I’m more important or valuable than other people or that I am without fault. But if I knew my value and I was excited about myself. To be open and share myself with the world knowing that even if I get knocked over, or chipped I am still loved, I still have value, and it is still worth being open.
Often people come to therapy not being able to acknowledge their own worth. Feeling they should be a different person to who they are and that would make them worth something. One of my roles as a therapist is to prize my client, to value them as they are right now and accept them as they are right now, until they can do that for themselves.
If you are looking for a personal counsellor, why not check out my website and contact me to arrange an initial session.
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