You don’t know what you are asking!
But as we grab hold of understanding our past, we can let go of those parts that hold us hostage and keep us from swinging free into tomorrow.
My son was born without the muscles to hold up his head. A special brace was designed just for him so he could learn to walk and do all the things every kid does. It had a metal rod that went up the back and was anchored around his waist and around his forehead to hold the head up.
He never let his brace or lack of muscles deter him from grabbing hold of life and swinging into the unknown. He let go of anything that kept him grounded and swung freely.
Handicaps of any kind do not need to deter us. Difficult childhood experiences of neglect, lack of love, favoritism, alcoholism, rejection, abandonment or abuse can feel like handicaps. They can make us feel as though we are trapped in an ongoing cycle of shame, anger, self doubt or depression. But these nor any other handicaps need to keep us imprisoned to a past or unable to find hope for the future.
Let’s create a rope we can grab hold of and swing to a new way of doing things.
There are many things from childhood that can have a damaging effect on adult relationships. Growing up, some events will hold a different meaning for one member of the family over another.
What one person may see as an obstacle another may consider as unimportant. Each will experience life within the family in their own way – not necessarily the same.
Grabbing hold of our past means we are ready to examine those things that have affected us and made us feel less than okay.
When feelings and past conflicts are identified and acknowledged, we can choose to look at them within an expanded view. Hurts, disappointments and feelings of rejection can not have dominance over us unless we let them.
We have the choice to examine, work through and let go of painful pasts or to hang onto them. Accepting allows us to stop fighting, struggling and denying. Working through difficult parts of our past allow us to let go of anger, shame and pain and begin the healing process.
Forgiveness may be required to free us from long held grudges and criticisms. As we accept the challenge of replacing old hurtful messages, we can construct steel rods of determination to provide the strength and courage to swing forward into a new today and tomorrow.
It is scary to address old fears and unspoken childhood perceptions. What if all those things we were told about how bad we are were actually true? They are not true.
What if I am rejected again? Tell yourself you will not reject you. As you give yourself permission to write and speak about these things, they will lose their power over you. Let go of the fear. Walk through it and beyond.
Hang on and Swing
There are no perfect families. There are no perfect parents. There are no perfect children. We all enter this world struggling to be loved and accepted. Families carry with them generational baggage. But as we address the things that continue to do harm, we can change unhealthy patterns along with their outcome.
Here are some ways to swing out of the past and into the present.
1. What things from your past continually interfere with what you want to do today? What are you saying to yourself about yourself? Are these old messages true? Become aware of your self-talk.
2. Identify the rules you grew up with. Which ones taught you manners, how to share, be considerate, and values you can apply to your life today? Celebrate them.
2. Were you allowed to talk about your feelings? Begin by making a list of all the emotions you have every day. When we were not allowed to express how we felt in the past, we are not able to identify them today. It may take some time to identify them. Take a risk and start sharing what you are feeling with a trusted friend. Some emotions may make you feel uncomfortable. Take a risk and find a way to express them anyway.
3. What emotions are constantly being triggered, such as anger, feeling unworthy, incompetent, etc. Keep a log and record these feelings and the accompanying thoughts. Challenge their validity along with the beliefs that are attached. Who said you were unworthy and incompetent? Why are you not allowed to address your anger as long as you do it appropriately? Who said you can not succeed?
4. Make a list of all the things you do well. Keep expanding that list everyday. Refer to it whenever you start to doubt yourself.
5. Start a conversation with God. It would have been very difficult for me to have gone through the losses and challenging life situations without the relationship I had with God. Even when I doubted, I still knew He was there. Our faith is strengthened as we make the journey.
Don’t Just Swing – Laugh
My son had a sense of humor that wouldn’t quit. There was a twinkle in his eye and mischief in his smile. He could make us all laugh.
Life can be fun if we allow it – even when it is tough and full of challenges. But when we take what we were given and turn it into something positive and worth while, we will be blessed and will be a blessing to those around us.
Laugh – take a risk – expand your vision.
Are you ready to take the risk and swing out on your own. Believe you can and then go for it!
Life can be so rewarding when we let go of anything that holds us back. We have many gifts and talents just waiting to be developed. There is nothing that can take that away from us. Take what you were given and turn it into a positive force.
Here We Go!!
You may have already started a special journal to record your progress. If not, get yourself a three ring binder and entitle it “My Life”. As we go through this series, write down the things from your childhood that were important to you. What did it feel like growing up in your family of origin? What things are you afraid to talk about and why? What things did you enjoy? Journaling is a way to begin that important conversation with yourself.
Create some space for pictures and celebration postings as you record your progress. You are creating the rope that will create a bridge out of the past and into the here and now. Put in lots of smiley faces. Write down your favorite scripture verses, and comments from those who offer words of hope and affirmation.
Grab hold of your past with all of its nitty-gritty ugliness and rough edges. Fashion it into a rope, grab hold and swing out. As you let go of anything that has no good purpose and hang on to what you want, the rest will fall away.
To inquire about Personal Life Coaching for this series, just fill out the contact form and receive a free consultation. Or sign up for information about speaking engagements or retreats for your church or women’s groups on this other topics.
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Also in the RELATIONSHIPS series:
Part 1: Relationships: Who Needs Them?
Part 7: Relationships: Unspoken Rules