With every person, there is a chaotic part of situations occurring within their life. If everything was normal, sort of nirvana, than there would not be an opportunity to grow. To embrace what we truly need, we need to have those contrasts in our lives.
In my situation there were missing components within my personal relationship with my parents. They were not able to reaffirm and give me what I needed. The missing aspects created low self-esteem. This all arose from emotional unavailability throughout my life,
a lack of connection and in-depth relationships. My desire was to be respected and loved in the way that I wanted to be respected and loved. The gremlins, the voices within my head, were constantly telling me to do things that would seek approval from people. I never got celebrated. I never heard, “We are proud of you”. So, in my mind, I heard that nothing was ever good enough.
I developed a fear of never being respected or honored. Consequentially, I was always looking for the safe way to do things to be loved. With everything I tried, I didn’t get the recognition. I sensed it as part of a failure. At the time, I did not realize that they were unable to do it. I needed to re-write that story. If you really look at failure, it is just a result. I discovered and recognized what their abilities and limitations were, and how their depression and regrets, and emotional unavailability created ‘my stuff’, the influences and forces in my life. I employed an exercise to look at the major events in my life as a ‘mile marker’, looking for commonalities. The ‘Mile Marker Exercise’ allowed me to go back to every aspect of my life with my parents, including my conception, transporting me back to the beginning to realize and understand how much was missing in my life.
For many years I wasn’t even aware of its impact and weight because that was all that I knew. I started unknowingly looking for other role models for relationships and family structure, observing their level of communication and cooperation between themselves, extended to their children and their children to each other. That concept was totally foreign to me because my family never had that foundation. Desperately wanting to be loved, I married the first woman I had a relationship with, all based on my hope and dreams of creating the kind of relationship and family that I longed for in my life. Things were safe and sound until financial crisis when I lost my job and our home. I had low self-esteem, in dire need of a strong emotional connection. And, unfortunately she was not capable of providing emotional support, so after nine years I got angry, and the marriage ended.
The next nine years was spent in reflection, deliberate contemplation, and profound observation and examination. After a back injury working at a machine shop, I made the decision to go to school, so I could use my natural gifts, assets and strengths instead of my back. Upon completion of school I focused on the marketing field. At that point in time, I worked with Rima. Rima helped run a small marketing company. She was incredible. Why? I believe this to be so, because she took notice of her employees’ gifts and talents, and she fed their need to share them. Over the years, I saw her turn many lives around — including my own — by listening, nurturing, guiding, allowing us to learn from our own mistakes and validating us. Through her example, folks like me now have the great opportunity to Pay It Forward.
About the same time I was introduced to personal development and public speaking. Armed with positive energy and a new job opportunity, I ventured into marriage again, not realizing that my rescue mode kicked in. Hopeful for a different type of marriage, recognizing that I had advanced and grown significantly, I was ready for a relationship. Yet, I was unaware of the clues and was blindsided by P.E.A. [chemical created within the brain and released when you are in love]. I did not see the obvious signs that should have been a stop sign in the relationship, which ended up being mine fields at the end of a year and half marriage.
Shortly after my second divorce ascended my awakening. At that time, several occurrences facilitated change: my x-wife did not look for opportunities to build a relationship with my children, there were problems at work and my grandmother died of cancer, all accumulative within a couple of months. In quest to seek answers to my questions, I took a cruise. The cruise was a vortex that opened a door to in-depth personal and business development.
That cruise facilitated a huge change, I moved to Florida. One day I was walking the beach, reflecting on everything that transpired in my life and I was wondering why my family wasn’t reaching out to me. I realized I was living my life for the approval of 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 even 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, it wasn’t until I was 47 years old that I grasped that they were only capable of loving me in the way they knew how. So, when I was able to recognize what people’s limitations were, what they had already done, and if I had a different expectation than 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; but, I was expecting something from them than 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 was able to learn that it wasn’t me and accept their behaviors. I observed what they are capable of and willing to be able to do.
When we are able to get to that place and look objectively at every single situation that comes to us, and be able 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 to be able to realize what that feels like, and understand what other people are going through.
Living at the beach I spent eight years of reflections and projections, which bought another component in my life: studying healing and massage. I established myself within the healing practitioners’ community from which I fostered deeper personal growth, all leading to a richness in spiritual development.
Then in 2004 I met Caryl, a connection that exposed a deep transparency with great potential. Although we came from different backgrounds, we had similarities that went well beneath the surface, our personal and spiritual development. Essentially, we needed to foster and develop a strong foundation based on understanding, sensitivity, empathy and compassion. Relationships are like a garden, they must be tended to daily – watered, weeded, etc. in order to produce a bountiful harvest.
In relationships we all have baggage, and need to create a safe place to help the other person unpack their hurts and pains. Like most couples, there have been times that we have bumped into mine fields, obstacles and hurdles, and lost direction. Some important principles that we embrace to foster a strong relationship: Be non-reactive, never take it personally, reflect the other person’s feelings, apologize with a firm response of how we will change, take responsibility for our contributions to the problem. Importantly, treat your partner every day as you did in the beginning, and there will not be an ending. A loving relationship is the most important investment you will make in your lifetime. In a relationship our responsibility is to bring the best out in each other, to support each other’s gifts and strengths.
In closing, I have learned to take all my situations since my childhood 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 wouldn’t have been as passionate about building better relationships, and extending myself to my community to serve. I learned how to shift those things that happened, and not dwell in the ‘poo’ and start looking for the ‘pony’ in all of it . . . and, create happy rides.
Finally, they were all there to help me grow and build a large Social Media audience. I feel obligated to share those stories as Hope, to help someone who may have gone through a similar situation, to impact people’s lives and businesses. It continues to give me inspiration, a sense of responsibility to be available for people. You never know who you can touch by sharing your message. Never underestimate the Power of a Tweet, or even in real life, the power of a single word or statement. Messages can show up at the right time, make a change in someone’s day! I believe in the Butterfly Effect, and how messages can help people in abusive relationships, dangerous situations and even prevent suicide. In turn those people have gone on to impact other people’s lives!
You may be interested in reading a guest blog, ‘Poop and Inspiration… What…? How Can Poop Relate to Inspiration?’