I have a confession that is hard for me to admit: things are really rough for me right now. Once again, I feel I am walking the line of being a hypocrite.
I write and teach about leadership, work-life balance, how women can get along better with other women, and how to break negative patterns—but my own home life has been tumultuous lately. Even though I know better, I am going against my own advice and asking myself a “Why?” question. “Why is this so difficult?”
My daughter, Gina, and I endured years of very tough circumstances and our story of how we got from that point to here is hardly a bed of roses. I raised her by myself because my own family is in Europe and Gina’s father chose to be absent from her life for many years now.
At 22 years old, Gina has moved back home after finishing college last July. I am proud of her for so many reasons. She is an outstanding young woman; intelligent, talented, outspoken, and very beautiful. She has everything she could want right now. Yet, we are at war and we’re not communicating. I feel like a failure.
Like so many of you, we have a boatload of “stuff” that surfaces just when we think everything is going so well. Nobody is exempt from “stuff.” Each of us has issues to work through.
Communication is a hard enough to begin with and it only becomes more difficult when strong emotions are involved. We all know that from experience. And communication becomes exponentially more complicated when deep-seated fears are triggered. These fears can stem from something in our childhoods, emotional scars left by our ex, or an inexplicable feeling that seems to come from nowhere, often when we least expect it.
This past weekend, I had an epiphany about myself. I realized some of my childhood memories trigger me to shut down emotionally. I become so overwhelmed by the magnitude of feelings that surface during a heated argument that I can’t bring myself to deal with them. I search for a way out of the situation—not a way through it.
Once the root of my emotional shutdown became clear to me, I knew the next step is to deal with my disappointments and self-loathing. (Seriously, I help so many others and here I am at this low point…again. I should know better.) I am starting to work through my emotions and look at the issue from a new perspective. I even pondered aloud whether there is often an opportunity for growth hidden within a scenario that repeats itself in our lives. I already know the answer—of course there is.
Owning our part of any situation is the only thing we can do. We can’t make anyone else act, talk, or be a certain way to match what we want. We can only change ourselves and have a more productive response. That’s why we need to keep communication open by discussing what is going on and why—this is what good leaders do.
Shutting down is my method of avoidance. What is yours?
Instead of shut down, we each need to address our situations ever so gently, one step at a time. Only when we change ourselves and the ways we look at our issues can we hope to resolve a situation and move past it. The deeper our fear is rooted, the more difficult and emotional the process will be.
If you feel like I do, that you are stuck in a situation or a particular scenario plays itself over and over again (like Groundhog Day), I encourage you to look at your personal and professional lives. Is it possible you need to address something within yourself to stop the replay?
As for my part, I am glad I refrained from making that phone call to my ex-husband to read him the riot act for all the things he didn’t do. My relationship with my daughter belongs to me, and I will own up to it.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
Even though I am help others break their negative patterns, it is sometimes hard to be objective with my own internal struggles. Discovering that I shut down to avoid confrontations was a difficult realization for me, but now I know what I need to do to move past it.
What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I appreciate that my daughter and I have a strong bond and that we support each other to work through our problems together.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
I am proud that I am a strong, capable woman who has overcome years of adversity. Gina, my daughter, is my greatest achievement. My ultimate dream is to see Gina fulfill her own dreams.
We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Sometimes I spontaneously drop everything I’m doing, forget about deadlines, hop in my car and drive along the coastline or go for a hike. If I waited until the “right” time, I would never go.
“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)
Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
…house filled with laughter, even if that means laughing at my own mistakes!