Include these 5 life transforming steps to reclaiming your life. Can you imagine seeing the news headline: “Once drug dealer or a prostitute now a minister or entrepreneur opens up a women’s shelter.” No, the story did not leak! Would you cringe? For a while I, too, struggle with keeping my past, my experiences, shuttered even though it is the catalyst to my passion, my life’s work— “My Why.”
We live in a culture and society where our past, our stories, our “hills and valleys” are deemed unworthy or not “star-studded.” The message, “you are not enough!” I am a psychotherapist, blogger who will share with you what other therapists probably will not. Stoicism—that “British upper lip” is not the “beat” that is followed here. Therapists are people who struggle, who have their own stories of defeat and triumph.
I submit to you that this is what makes us connect with others, authentically, causing lifetime changes-reciprocity transformation in both client and therapist. Doing the work in your life is essential!
Yes, I work with others; BUT ONLY, because I have done the work in my own life! What I am about to share with you is a reflective story of triumph filtered with professionalism and respect.
RENEGOTIATE YOUR IDENTITY
Ever hear the saying, “it’s not what happens to you but how you respond or view what happened.” Deep down inside I always had questions about this. What happens is valid and bears weight on what happens next in future experiences. Truth is– they shape them!
As adults we have layers! We have layers of responsibilities, accomplishments, maybe some titles; but underneath all of that the “what” still needs to be reconfigured or needs processing.
The “what” has the ability to shape the “how” which is where we are responsible, especially when we are adults. Our identity has so many parts-emotional parts borne out of events, circumstances, and relationships. Michale White says this,
“People believe that the problem of their lives or see them
as a reflection of their identity or the identity of others or of the identity of their relationships.”
Did you know fully accepting yourself is a key predictor of success? Studies show that being able to do so improves one’s self-esteem—better yet allows for a proper view of one-self. Insecurity is said to be the “mother of all fears.” All of us at one time or another struggle with feeling insecure about something or many things. It’s almost like perennial plants– it seems.
The way one view themselves is said to be psychological and cultural, per research studies. So, the “what” matters. Insecurity is likened to a tree with offshoots of anger, shame, and poor self-esteem.
Believe it or not, these emotions or ways of being developed, perhaps at times, when we did not have any skills or mature skills to handle situations or demands coming at us. Times of, perhaps, formlessness and flux—which has become the master text.
The eye-opener, here, though, these difficult emotions can still teach us— thus allowing the opportunity to honour our past and gain better or adaptive ways of being and seeing ourselves.
Are these emotions still operating today in full force? Or perhaps in subtle insidious ways, hijacking your goals, your potential, your purpose? It is interesting the moments that can help us reflect—if we pay attention. I love the ocean, spending time there with my knitting projects. Here, I pray, meditate, journal, knit… Yes! Have you discovered yours? One Sunday morning, my sister-in-law and I were driving back from the beach reflecting on pivotal moments in our lives— particularly my journey. We are now in our forties! She says this,
“I remember when you turned 40
And you decided you were
going to learn how to swim.”
Out of nowhere, tears running down my face, I remembered a narrative from my late adolescent years when I became pregnant with my son in high school [ “you are never going to be anything.”] Coming from a Caribbean family background– heritage, this can feel like a “death sentence.”
Trying for my sister-in-law not to notice my tears, I spoke up and said, “I am so glad I developed a sense of determination back then.” The “What” has transformative power! What is your narrative—your story?
This can probably sound off-putting to not judge the “what” or the details of the “what.” As I reflected on this moment, I recognize the fact that I was honouring my past at this moment.
Giving space to look without judgment of myself and others. Allowing myself the place to observe, feel and work through these parts of my story. From here. lies possibilities that can be the bridge to a place of acceptance and healing.
Honouring those past hurts, past deserts, past valleys, with tears still flowing, by now my sister-in-law notices them, I said, “I blame no one…I actually thank them for the “hard knocks” and “mental kicking around” from different ones.
It made me who I am today.” Like the Saint Lucian Poet, Sir Derek Walcott, calls attention to this provoking insight,
“No sense in passing judgment on the past
No one has been unambiguously right or wrong
It’s the collective experience that matters.”
Integrating your new understanding and realizations about yourself is possible if you allow the process. Application is key! Meaning opportunities to dispel the power of dominant-negative narratives— opportunities to make room for new understandings to take form and shape the person you were always meant to be!
The journey was not easy but it’s my journey and I needed to walk it! After all, there were opportunities there… Like these beautiful shells, I found them at the beach on my walk that morning with my sister-in-law.
She said it succinctly, “you just can’t give up on your process— so many people do!” It is 2021– how about taking that walk or continuing that walk? Check out this link to get you started: HOW TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND REDUCE STRESS RELATED MENTAL DISORDERS WITH 8 PRACTICAL LIFE-CHANGING STEPS.
Happy New Year!!!