I just listened to an amazing motivational speech by Les Brown. To sum it up in a sentence, he’s encouraging us to take this time to rethink our life path. He goes on to say, and I quite agree, that there are people that are going to go through this pandemic checked out playing video games, watching sports reruns (I’m guilty), and using other means of checkout methods (shopping, alcohol, eating etc.) in an effort to cope with the current situation. It's easy to fall into bad habits during trying times, but what if you were to use this time to rethink your life?
As we look back at your lives, we often feel stuck. But here's a secret, ownership and responsibility are the two things that will set you free. When we place blame on others we are giving them power over that circumstance. "My life is terrible and it’s my partner’s fault. I’m uneducated and I don’t have the money for an education. My friends are to blame for my loneliness because they don’t invite me out to do things..." This kind of mentality keeps us stuck in quicksand, because it's not possible to properly move forward without taking responsibility. Let me share some of my story.
I am not afraid of COVID-19. Not because I have some special universal power, but because I have gone through a shit ton of trauma in my life, and here I am standing to tell the story today. I know what it’s like not to eat, not to be able to buy clothes. I know what it’s like to be fired from a job. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and alone. But when I was done feeling sorry for myself, and when I was done blaming my parents, my friends, my partner, society etc, I took ownership. I took ownership of how I am choosing to show up in my gift of life. I found a job, and I kept pushing through. I sought out help and although it was tough I’m happy I did.
I could write a book about parental blame and shame. There really is no doubt that some people were ripped off form a healthy nurturing childhood, whatever the experience was. It sucks, and it’s not fair. It’s crucial for your happiness and well-being that you work though that shit and heal. My parents split when I was 8 and although it was for the best, I grew up angry at my parents. My mother always gave me permission to be angry with her, and I hung on to all of that negativity for years. When I decided to meet my dad 20 years later it seemed as though I had a “nonchalant” “forgiving” viewpoint. But years later, the anger manifested itself in my own relationships with my now ex-husband, my boyfriend and my son. I went to back to couch to work some stuff out! It was there, in my late 20’s she asked me “why aren’t you angry?” I had just taken the road of the martyr, passive and withdrawn. So, I spent the next few months raging! I would get in my car and scream, I’d listen to angry music, then I would I’d cry in the shower and allow the tears to flow down my face. I hated my parents, and I was really struggling to let that go. I learned to mediate and during a meditation one day I met them both. I was three years old with curly blonde hair. They walked toward me and wrapped their arms around me and we sat in a circle. For the first time in my life I felt loved by my parents. I had to recognize that they did the best they could with what they had. I had to choose to view this differently because continuing my life as I was, was no longer an option.
So yes, I learned to have grit, I learned resiliency, I’ve leaned about accountability and taking ownership. I’ve learned to love and have compassion. I’ve had to choose to unbecome everything that I had become, and underneath that I found the real me, the person that is able to stand here today and passionately speak about resiliency, passion, and healing from the level of a broken child that has learned to be whole again. What makes you broken is no better or worse than what made me broken. Whether it was a childhood bully, emotionally unavailable parents, never feeling like you fit in, feeling anxious or afraid, or something else... our story might be different, but the feelings are the same.
A survey was once done, asking people moments from death, what they regretted most about their lives. The answer was a deeper connection with themselves, spirituality. Right now, you have been given the gift of time (even if you are one of the brave souls in essential services, many other social activities that I’m sure filled your spare time prior to COVID-19 are now lacking), so why not try to find a deeper connection with yourself . If given the opportunity to re-write a chapter in your book of life, what would you do differently? And what’s holding you back from doing it today? I am a firm believer that our dreams do not expire.