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We’re taught not to blame others. I think this is good advice. However, anytime I work with a client, whether they come to me seeking revenue growth in their company, team coherence, mindset transformation around their body, career transitional support, or even business creation, we always find a relationship challenge they face in their life.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, our parents are our teachers; they are the first role-models we see. And depending on how we feel about what we see at a young age, we decide to either take on their characteristics, values and voids, or, embody their opposite. Regardless of the choice we make, 99% of my clients have unhealed issues with a parent, or sometimes a relationship challenge with a sibling or other family member, caregiver.
These relationship challenges, although we might think are separate from work, body image, happiness, and joy in our lives, they are inextricably connected. And, until we can do the work to heal any wounds we’ve ignored or perhaps failed to name, we will still face the other struggles and challenges in our lives.
So, how do we “fix” our familial struggle or issue?
Many of us first think: counseling.
As someone who went to counseling with parents in my teen years, I can tell you, it was not helpful. In my experience, each session was like making small cuts into an unhealed wound, staring at the wound, discussion how painful it was and then leaving, barely re-bandaged enough to feel okay.
Yet, in my 20s, I gleaned deep hope which I care to share now: healing is one-sided.
It can be amplified with another, even a few others when we share our troubles with others who can hold space. However, what I’m saying is that you alone have the power to heal, especially an issue that involves you and another person, without the other person being at the table with you.
After healing one-sided personally, I reflect on many attempts to heal with my dad in the room, and it was that much more difficult. Thus, how do we do our own healing?
To put is the most simply: we shift our energy around the person, issue and past.
1. What is the core wound?
If possible, can you find one instance that was the initial cut, or cause of heart pain? Do you remember where you were at that time in your life? Can you make sense of why it felt painful to you?
Many times when we feel pain, it’s because there was love there. Thus, we can attribute this wound to having roots in love, shift number 1, for our mindset.
Then, from the core wound we want to extract:
-what emotions did I feel, can I name 1-3 strong ones?
-how did I name the parent’s actions, mistakes or mishaps?
After we have these to clues, we can quickly look through our past and see what patterns we can find. For instance, if your mom didn’t pack you lunch for school, and didnt seem to care that you went hungry, maybe you felt sad, rejected, uncared for, or unheard. Maybe you. called your mom careless, selfish and unaware.
Then, go through your life, how many times with your mom, OR others, have you said you felt rejected, uncared for, unheard, etc.? How many times have you called your mom. or another person you’re in relationship with selfish, unaware, etc.?
Now we know that the pattern is real, and has been affecting you for a long time. We feel close to the emotions, we are aware that healing needs to be done and we have traced the core-wound.
2. It’s not about right versus wrong.
In one of my favorite books, “New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, he teaches a great deal on the ego. And, low and behold, the ego adores creating right vs. wrong. It is designed to keep us safe and keep us going, and thrives in a state of lack. Thus, if we feel a dearth of love, or support, or understanding, feeling as though the person who hurt us is “wrong” we will feel actually a sort of high or addiction to making it better, but only in a place of lack.
Like one of my favorite teachers always reminds me, “olympians only experience joy for 20 seconds because their ego does not feel good having, it feels good lacking.”
If your familial issue has some notion around someone being wrong, and you being right, your ego is at play, and to the extent that you can release that notion, you can be free of feeling wronged, and start to move forward into contemplating how to feel connection and forgiveness in yourself.
Look at the other person’s perspective. Not necessarily just around you, but in their life. What must they be going through to act has they have, whether that is lack of empathy, listening, caring, etc. How can you feel for them, even if it feels tough at first, to understand that perhaps they are going through their own unhealed traumas, too? Click here for a podcast more on understanding ourselves and others as mirrors for triggers.
What can you learn, from their perspective, with consciousness to realize that perhaps they are in a reactive place due to something else? This step is easiest when you are able to take away the lens that says there is a right and a wrong.
How can you give them love and understanding, making this about no-one and no-thing?
4. The bigger, soul-level picture.
One of my biggest “heartbreaks” was when my dad left for Korea when I was 5. I wasn’t sure if he’d be safe, serving our country as an air-force pilot overseas, and I felt there would be pain in missing my daddy. Ever since that event of him leaving, several other events happened throughout my life, that likened to the same initial trauma because I never worked through the first one (patterns!). Each other instance felt like “heartbreak” and heartbreak doesn’t feel good. The pain I was holding was my evidence I was unhealed and it actually caused many more issues around us, because many things, even tiny things, would trigger me (listen to an episode of triggers here). This made for blow-out fights, and more.
It wasn’t until one of my teachers supposed that there was a soul contract at play, rooted in love that I must consider. Then, I realized my healing could be one-sided.
“What if your dad and you had a contract that he would break your heart open at a young age so you could lead an emotionally intelligent, deep, empathetic life, for most of your life? Having your heart broken open is a major ordeal, and it’s an even bigger gift for you, in this lifetime.” She said.
Seeing my dad in a deeper, multidimensional level, serving a purpose of giving me a big dose of soul growth at age 5, and allowing me to have a broken open heart, which enables me to pour out love to people in my life helped me understand higher powers at play, bigger love for him, and greater purpose not only in the pain, but in my responsibility to forgive and to heal.
Once I was able to think about my pain differently, the relationship differently and see opportunity int he struggle, I was able to feel healed, simply by these thoughts and contemplations alone.
The ultimate test? Sharing a differing energy with my dad.
In 2019, my dad had said some reactive things about one of my life/career choices: being an author, and whether or not that is a successful career. It was an immensely painful as he said it. It hurt more than anything I had yet experienced. I was in this work, though, luckily. My teacher at the time, Christine, helped me see more to the experience. For two weeks, continuing to keep this healing mindset, I was determined to let go of the pain. After those two weeks (which were only the beginning!) I got on the phone with my dad and said “Hey dad, what you said was pretty hurtful to me, and I just want you to know that I know, if my friend of family told me their feelings were hurt and it was because of me, and they figured I didn’t even realize it, I would want to know. So, I am telling you, so you know.” For the first time in my entire life, instead of choosing fighting words or being triggered by something I said, my dad said, “I am so sorry, I definitely didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
Wow, I was completely shocked because the energy between us was different. Healed, at least a start of healing. Yet, we’d never sat down at a table together with a moderator. I took responsibility for my wounds, and while I cannot speak for my dad’s work, something in the energy between us was different.
Healing one-sided is not only possible, it’s how healing anything happens. I hope this blog is helpful for you!
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