Last week, I started working with clients again and it was overwhelming in the most beautiful way. It was emotionally taxing and also eye-opening. I'd like to share a lesson that I took away that may resonate with you.
As we get older, we tend to attach ourselves to stories that we've told ourselves for years. These stories are mended and shifted to what we want to believe. The majority of the time, we want to believe in the worst story so we can blame someone else. It's easier to blame someone else in our story rather than ourselves.
Who gets joy out of blaming themselves?
Our parents raise us with what they know, learn as they go, and regardless of the decisions they made, you turned out to be an amazing person and you need to separate the stories from your truth.
If you don't want to read the long story: In short, the lesson here is to take the good with the bad. Reflect on the stories where you blamed other people and then take responsibility for what happened. Change your perspective and make it work for you. There is a lesson in every story but it's up to you if that lesson will be for your benefit or downfall.
You are a child that spilled a gallon of milk from the fridge. Your dad said it's okay while he cleans it up but you hear him under his breath complaining about cleaning the milk up from under the fridge. Hearing those complaints made you believe that your actions affect other people and as you grew up, you learned to keep your mouth shut and get tasks done. You learned that you don't want to bother people when you are doing things and only show up when tasks are done or you have something positive to share. You avoid creating situations that will have people speak under their breath and this pushes you away from people as you never felt that you were good enough to get the job done. On the other side, you learned that creating safe spaces for others to speak their mind and a safe space is necessary to maintain a healthy relationship and eventually you learned that if you didn't feel comfortable, you would leave the situation or relationship.
You can easily blame your dad for not creating a truly safe space for you since he was complaining under his breath. In the moment, a quick "you're okay" shifted to a contradiction by his actions. His complaints stuck with you and you believed that everyone was speaking under their breath about you. The true story was that he was complaining about not cleaning under the fridge sooner and he was grateful that you spilled the milk because it forced him to act sooner than later.
Our stories can lead us down a long road but what if as an adult you communicated your story with your dad, let it go, and took responsibility? You chose to own the dropping of the milk because it taught you how to create safe spaces for your children and friends alike. Your truth is your truth but don't forget, a story is only told by one person.
Take the time to put yourself in other people's shoes and if you can't, have an open-ended conversation about your feelings with the story. Remove the expectation of what the conversation can lead to but let those feelings go.