It has been longer than usual since my last entry, and most of that is because my mom came all the way up to Alaska and slept in a red shack and smiled the whole time – and I owed her my full attention;)
During this time, I have been in awe at how much my relationship with my mom has changed – and how much she herself has changed.
You see, I had a lot of anger about my childhood for many years. I was uber-pissed, and for objectively good reasons. I won’t go into details, but you can imagine the myriad reasons people feel wounded and broken. However, in the end, I knew that deep down, despite their mistakes, my parents were indeed doing the best they could in the moment with what they had available to them.
So, as an adult, I had a choice to make:
1) I could keep reminding myself and my mom that things really sucked growing up and about how much she hurt me, and that I was all sensitive and defensive because of her, and that she really screwed up royally with some things. Then she’d apologize and feel shitty about herself and I’d feel guilty and all upset after re-hashing all that crap. And we’d do this over and over, as I strived to get back at her for hurting me the way she did through guilt-trips and passive aggressive behavior and not-so-passive aggressive behavior…
OR – I could stop thinking that I was deeply wounded and broken, wanting to make those feelings go away until I allowed myself to move forward...Wanting to “understand” everything and have it make sense – and have everyone understand and agree that I was wounded – before I allowed myself to be happy. I could stop that and instead…
2) Say, “Well, that sucked. Royally. But now it’s time to create my new life.”
Needless to say, after years of #1 and hanging out in therapy wondering why I was still having panic attacks, I decided to try #2. And it kicks ass.
I can’t describe the shift that happened when I stopped thinking that in order to heal, I had to wallow in the past until some magical moment when things would feel right.
I realized that insight and understanding don’t fix everything. They feel good, sure. They’re useful, sure. But what created real shift for me was changing what I DID. How I thought, how I responded, the situations I created.
It was ACTION that allowed me to grow and change…and ultimately, heal.
It was ACTION that allowed me to see myself as whole, and perfectly resourceful and creative. That I was indeed perfect as I was. Not broken. Not wounded to the core. Not in need of more therapy or days of crying to feel seen.
Of course, I found therapy helpful for some things, especially learning how to notice what I was feeling, and being able to share my story with someone who wasn’t going to try to explain it away or justify things. It helped me make sense of certain memories and I felt incredibly safe sharing deeply with someone that seemed “qualified” for me to lose my shit in front of. At that time, I had very real fears of losing my mind.
But in hindsight, which is always lovely, I realize that maybe I just needed one round of that. Then I needed to get off my ass and do things differently.
I needed to create a different relationship with my mom, or walk away. The latter wasn’t an option for me, because I love her deeply.
I asked her for what I needed to hear in order to be able to forgive her. I asked that she reflect on it and come back to me if and when she felt she could say it with full sincerity. She did. And I tried letting go then and there. It was awesome!
Of course, I still get my buttons pushed and some tender spots are still there, but I realized that I could simply DECIDE to move forward!
It took patience (on both our parts), and I fell into some old patterns a lot in the beginning, but I was committed to doing things differently.
Now, instead of feeling the need to hear my mom apologize every time we hang out, or to want to process something with her, we get to enjoy each other. I allowed her to do things differently. And she allowed me the same.
We allowed ourselves to grow, to change, to EVOLVE.
We are having our best years together yet, and I know it will just keep getting better.
Life is too short to be perpetually wounded or to believe you are broken. It is impossible for those to be true.
Create space and say what you need to say, feel heard by a good counselor or coach or therapist or mentor. If you feel deep emotional wounds that manifest as severe depression or other serious mood disorders, address that with a qualified therapist. But remember:
You are not broken. You may hurt – deeply – but you are not broken.
You were wounded in the past. True. Stop picking at the scabs.
Move forward. Do things differently.
Be compassionate – with yourself.
You. Are. Enlightened.
I bow to you. For realz.
(If you’d like to read another post about changing mindsets that are tough to change, click here)
Are you interested in taking this to a deeper level? Keep an eye out for my 2013 Freedom Sessions Mastermind. We will spend 6 months as an intimate tribe, working with our minds and inner beings methodically and metaphysically, learning what our old stories are, skills to unravel, debunk, and oust unhealthy thought patterns and beliefs, and rewriting our new life stories – making change more permanent and lasting. This helps us effectively creating the lives we desire – finally! – and we’ll be having FUN while we’re at it;) Contact me here if you’d like to learn more. It will be juicy!
Note: Ana Neff is a personal life coach, guide and Freedom Junkie™ She helps passionate people awaken their lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. Her monthly Freedom Junkie™ eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. Her “Full-On 365” blog posts stem from her commitment to living full-on, every day, for 365 days in a row. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can learn more about her coaching programs and download her FREE Getting Clear Guide by visiting FreedomJunkie.com (note: it’s new look will be up to rock your world soon)!