This bigger picture view may not only influence your decision, it may also slow down or speed up the pace of change.
But there’s a more insidious change blocker, one that can halt the process completely ... one that is often also the original cause of the current presenting issue ... judgement and the associated shame.
At one time projected at us, shame is a powerful emotional weapon re-triggered by our feelings of worth, or rather ‘unworthiness’. It’s a wound deep within our unconscious mind, and until brought to awareness and healed we may use that same critical voice against ourselves in the present. It's a double whammy, pain the first time around and now having opportunity to sabotage us for the second time. Not just through the unconscious triggers either … but through the healing process itself … this time through awareness.
I’ve spoken with a few people recently who were being really hard on themselves for the impact of family decisions all made in good faith a long time ago… and it prompted me to reflect on my own situation.
I’m fortunate to be part of a family where people have become comfortable with who they are … self-acceptance is liberating, it has its advantages and I’ve found it to be a good foundation for open discussions about how things are between us all. But it can be uncomfortable at times too … like when you’re being called out on your bullshit!
I recently talked to my brother, reflecting on thoughts I was having about a situation I knew he’d be able to relate to firsthand, and I wanted his opinion. It was about parenting and the interaction with the school system.
As usually happens in these conversations, we got onto the topic of our parents parenting style … what always makes me chuckle, are the aspects of our experience that my brother thinks are amazing, and how they’re often very different to my own perspective … we have lots of common ground, but often have polar opposite views of the extremes of our experience.
Why might this be?
One of the reasons is that there aren’t many definitive ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’ when it comes to parenting, beyond being a good human … because we all have different individual needs.
So… when you’re doing your own work, especially related to attachment, whether it’s your own stuff and your experience of your parents parenting style, or you’re doing work with your own children and it’s your parenting style that’s under the spotlight… it’s really important that you don’t get caught up in the trap of blame, guilt and shame.
Even when you’ve done your best, done the ‘right’ thing, made good decisions in the moment… we still can’t be sure that everyone’s needs have been met. Sometimes it’s just not possible to meet everyone's needs, and sometimes what we’re responding to is wants, not needs at all. And let’s not forget, just like adults… what a child needs isn’t necessarily what they want … and how they react to that can trigger our own stuff.
So the way I approach it is this, determine where you’re at now, and work from there … we can refer to past events, it can give a valuable insight into lessons learned, self-acceptance and forgiveness, and where we can release attachments to old hurt and resentments. But those people who made the decisions don’t exist anymore, the people who matter are the ones here, now, the ones who are working with you, creating something different … focus on them.
We are powerless to make change until we become aware. It’s important that we are able to get honest with ourselves if we are to delve deeper, to uncover and discover our saboteurs, to make the changes we want to see reflected in our lives. But when we buy into our own self-judgement and shame, it is the original projected wound, an old story, blaming us for what the wound created.
Seize the opportunity to be kind this time … reassure and heal that wounded inner child.
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Clare Legge www.clarelegge.com
... is a Business Transformation Consultant, Coach, the 'Man's Man's Mentor', Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, and Author of 'Love Your Numbers' The Anatomy of Success series.
Clare Legge is an experienced coach and psychotherapist. Specialising in trauma, attachment, transitions and self-worth issues.