Back in 1996 when I first moved to Florida, at some point in my journey a light bulb went off, it was an ‘aha’ moment. I was walking the beach, reflecting on everything that transpired in my life and I was questioning why my family wasn’t reaching out to me. I realized I was living my life for the approval from my family who were not reaching out to me or even talking to me. I considered and entertained the thought … Was it just because I moved? Looking at my past I realized that they were not reaching out to me when I was living in Wisconsin, and I was geographically closer to them. They truly weren’t doing anything out of their normal, but I was expecting love and validation, and clearly wanted people to come and connect with me.
Taking it a step further, I realized I never felt the type of love I wanted to receive from my parents. I am sure that they loved me in their own way. Nevertheless, probably until I was 47 years old I never realized that they were only capable of loving me in the way they knew how.
So, when I recognized people’s limitations, what their actions were, and if I had a different expectation then what they were delivering that was my fault. I was reacting with disappointment, depression, anger because loving connections were not made … I wasn’t feeling loved. I was expecting something from them then what they were able to do for themselves or anybody else.
I began to recognize the whole pattern,
‘Don’t Take It Personally’, one of the ‘Four Agreements’ authored by Don Miguel Ruiz. Sitting back and observing the circumstances, even though I was affected by this, I learned that it wasn’t me and accepted their behaviors, and what they were capable of and willing to do.
When we can get to that place and look objectively at every single situation that comes to us, and we can say … What does this mean to me? How can I use this? … We are in a place of understanding and acceptance. Now I use that lack of recognition and validation from my parents and my family, and realize what that feels like, and understand what other people are going through.
I have learned to take all my situations since then and turn them into something positive. Paraphrasing Napoleon Hill – “There is a seed of good within every bad thing that happens to you”. I am always looking for the seed.
Without the emotional abandonment or rejection I felt from my family, I wouldn’t have been as passionate about wanting to create good relationships, to reach out and make sure that I am a better husband for my wife, and to extend myself to my community and to be able to serve. That was my ‘aha’ moment to learn how to shift those things that happened, and not dwell in the ‘poo’ and start looking for the ‘pony’ in all of it. And, have happy rides!
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You may be interested in reading my other blog, ‘Road to Self-Discovery’.