Posts Tagged ‘growing up’
Isn’t there a song which says ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’? This week my very good friend and colleague Tom Evans (@thebookwright) has tweeted his book One Hundred Years of Ermintrude.
It really is an extraordinary book, simple and yet profound. You can read it in next to no time, yet your feelings about it are still reeling hours, days, weeks and even months after.
The story is written in reverse – it is the story of a lady called Ermintrude who is 100 and she looks back over her life at the high and low points and many others in between.
When I’m working with clients who are unable to see past their current situation, I often ask them to imagine looking back on it as if they were now 80 years old and finding out what the older person in their future advises them to do. We can do this flip flopping about in time quite easily really, it just takes a bit of willingness to play.
You can use time travel in all sorts of other ways to create a different result. By that I mean it won’t actually alter what happened, but it can alter the feelings you have about it. Imagine if you were able to send back messages to the younger you so that they would know that all would be fine, perhaps you could even give the younger person some courage, some love and some resources to help them through.
Can you imagine just how helpful living your life backwards would be. Tom says something about living our lives backwards and experiencing them forwards – I’m picking up what he’s putting down, are you?
What is it that drives us to explain ourselves to other people all the time? The minute you stop explaining you can get on with doing and being what it is that you choose.
By all means elicit opinions and ideas, brainstorm and get feedback, but stop explaining yourself. If someone asks you the reason you are doing something, find out what the information is going to give them – that throws the ball back in their court. You can then choose to respond or not. Most likely you will by this time have ascertained what the underlying reason for the question was and not what you presumed it might be!
Are you explaining yourself because you felt guilty that you didn’t do it sufficiently well? Is it because someone might disapprove? Is it to make an excuse?
Before you make a decision think what the consequences could be. Weigh it up and then choose and own what you’ve chosen.
I’ve got a very close friend who I used to go shopping with. In the changing rooms as we tried on all sorts of different items of clothing, she’d be saying things like
- ‘Oh that’s perfect, it’ll go with your (and name half a dozen items in my wardrobe)’
- ‘You can wear that at the dinner party, the office, and even to walk the dog (she did have a vivid imagination!)’
- That colour goes with red, orange, yellow, purple, green, blue, tangerine, white, black and navy – it’s a must! (Colour blind too)
Justification was not what I needed or wanted, if I was going to buy something then I would buy it without having to have a string of reasons excuses to do so.
- Oh I only had a salad at lunch
- I’ll skip lunch all next week
- I’ve been good all week
For heaven’s sake, either eat it or don’t … you’re the only one who can hold yourself accountable to a decision you’ve made.
When you let go of the need to explain you will find that your head stops being filled with all those noisy voices shouting ‘what if” at you. The peace is measurable – give it a go today and tomorrow and then let me know how you got on!
3 years ago I wrote this poem for my Dad, and then read it at his funeral – my first public speaking experience. Things weren’t always great between us, but there’s always time to understand, grow and make up when you come from a place of grace and forgiveness. I’d made mistakes and so did he.
‘I’ll tell you’ I said
waiting for a nod from his head,
‘your love and respect,
your lack of regret.
Many will say
In the cold light of day
I loved that great man
Who taught me ‘I can’
Compassion and laughter
Were things that did matter
To a life once led
Outside the confines of bed
For all the odd grumbles
And occasional tumbles
You always stood true
To your family and crew
As one voice we unite
To support your big fight
Move on with our blessing
And stop your distressing
This time is for you
One day we’ll come too
For now our dear man
We’ll remember ‘I can’
Jackie Roberts, 2006
Parents are extraordinary people, they aren’t given a handbook they can only do the best they can. They are only human and they have their own histories to contend with. Bestowing parents with an expectation beyond being human is a mistake we often make .
Becoming a parent myself and not getting things right has given me the latitude, grace and forgiveness needed to not only unconditionally accept my own parents but also to love the differences which make them so very special – I’m glad I chose to be their daughter! With no-one else would I have had the possibilities and lessons I’ve had from them.
What have you learned from this post?
I was watching ‘Man in the Wilderness’ with Richard Harris this afternoon – after splinting a little snow hare’s broken leg (instead of eating it) he then read this bit out of the bible (Job 14: 7-9)
A tree hath hope: if it be cut, it groweth green again, and the boughs thereof sprout.
If its root be old in the earth, and its stock be dead in the dust:
At the scent of water, it shall spring, and bring forth leaves, as when it was first planted.
Instead of trusting that there was a reason we fight against whatever it was and seek to explain the logic of it. There is very little logic in many things and the only logical way to deal with it is to accept the fact that it just is.
The only job you have to do is learn what part you had to play in the situation. It might have been a thought, a belief, an action – it could be that you needed to learn a lesson.
It will never be someone else’s fault. That doesn’t mean that you are to blame, but it does mean you have to take responsibility.
Things happen to us when we are children and don’t know any better. This can have an effect on our lives – how we cope, how we survive, how we love. As children we don’t have the languaging skills of an adult, we don’t have the mental, emotional or physical capacities of an adult.
As children we are pretty defenceless. Frightening as it is, I believe that we come into this world with an in-built ability to cope with whatever is given to us.
At some point in our adult lives we will have the opportunity to put our childhood experiences behind us by being able to look at them through adult eyes and gain a different perspective. That, together with a willingness to forgive, a willingness to learn what you didn’t know then and the willingness to let go of your past hurt allows you to start to blossom and grow new branches, new shoots, new leaves and live a new life.
What have you learned from this post?